Gary Walters arrived in Scotland and is preparing for Friday’s swim in Loch Ness for charity.
He’s already ordered a plate of haggis, a traditional Scottish dish with the heart, liver and lungs of a sheep, quizzed the locals on the Loch Ness monster’s appetite and met some American tourists with a Minnesota connection.
Walters left Minnesota Monday and expected to be in Scotland Tuesday but spent longer than expected in New York City after an electrical malfunction meant their flight turned around after flying three hours.
“We’ve been here so long,” Walters said of New York, “we are picking up an accent.”
The delay meant the arrival in Scotland was behind schedule by a day. Walters and friend and videographer for the trip, John Raboin, made it through security at the Twin Cities airport Monday night, expecting to be in Scotland Tuesday. On Wednesday they were sampling the food in downtown Inverness in the Scottish Highlands still tired from the trip and still getting used to driving on the “wrong side of the road.”
This is Walters’ 11th Kinship Partners challenge — to raise dollars and awareness of the benefits of mentoring a child. For this challenge, he is swimming the more than mile-and-a-half width of Loch Ness.
The cold water is hundreds of feet deep and murky. So far, Walters encountered a waitress who thought the swim was a crazy idea to a fellow diner who gave them the name of a man who annually swims the much longer way going the length of the loch.
The swim is planned to start at noon on Aug. 30 in Scotland, or 6 p.m. local time.
All donations go to Kinship Partners as Walters funds the trip and expenses for the swim himself. As a bonus, donors of $500 or more get to pick a lure or other added attraction for Nessie. One donor already pledged $500.
One donor wrote on Walters’ Facebook page wishing him good luck. “I didn’t give enough for you to put bacon grease in the water but you could throw in a Dorito maybe?” Mari Schindele posted.
For more information, go to Walters’ Facebook page at Walters Wacky Adventures or Kinship Partners at www.kinshippartners.org with a link for donations. About 45 children are now on Kinship Partners’ waiting list hoping to be matched with an adult mentor.