Blind women's trek ends in tears of joy

The first blind women to walk the length of Britain ended their marathon charity trek yesterday after 892 miles on the road.

Dorothy Oliver, 43, from Edinburgh, and Sandra Brumby, 50, a grandmother from South Leverton, Nottinghamshire, celebrated with champagne at Land's End.

Ms Brumby, who worked out at a fitness centre before the walk, said at the finish today: "It was extremely exciting, far more emotional than I thought it would be." Holidaymakers, members of their support group and guides clapped them home the last few steps, and she admitted :"It got to me. There were big tears."

Ms Brumby and Ms Oliver volunteered for the walk after the audio magazine Weekend Listener asked for two women volunteers after two blind men made the trip last year.

"It is the most adventurous thing I have done," said Ms Brumby who has backpacking experience. "I feel fitter than when I started - and I only have one blister," she said.

Ms Oliver, a telephonist at Fountainbridge Citizens Advice Bureau, said the trek was a "just wonderful" experience. "It was the biggest physical challenge I have undertaken," she said Ms Oliver, who in the past has tried her hand at skiing and mountain climbing.

The women, who left John O'Groats on 12 June, aimed to raise pounds 10,000 for the Guide Dogs for the Blind, and Weekend Listener.

They decided the walk to Land's End to raise awareness of how blindness need not mean the end of an active life.

The two women walked up to 18 miles a day, and they praised the more than 150 sighted guides from local communities who accompanied them along the way.

Hotels, guest houses and families sponsored food and accommodation, and thousands put contributions into collection buckets along the route.