Blind hiker aims to take on the Yorkshire Dales

Khalid Hussain is taking on the Yorkshire Dales Mighty Hike for charity – despite being unable to see. Catherine Scott reports.

Khalid is walking 13 miles across the Yorkshire Dales for Macmillan
Khalid is walking 13 miles across the Yorkshire Dales for Macmillan

Khalid Hussain may be blind but he has decided to take on the challenge of hiking 13 miles across the Yorkshire Dales.

On Saturday July 3 Khalid, 59, from Heckmondwike, who lost his sight when he was seven, will take the first steps on what he hopes will be a long career raising funds for good causes.

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Khalid and his sighted assistant Tariq, will be joining more than 500 fellow fundraisers from Macmillan Cancer Support on their annual Yorkshire Dales Mighty Hike.

Khalid Hussain who lost his sight aged just six

The hike will take him through Yorkshire Dales National Park, following the River Aire,taking in market towns including Malham and Grassington.

Khalid, a retired social worker, has no vision at all and has never walked more than a couple of miles before. He says he was inspired to begin fundraising by fellow Yorkshireman Captain Sir Tom Moore.

“I’ve been wanting to begin fundraising for Macmillan Cancer Support for a while but kept saying to myself, ‘Okay, after lockdown finishes, after Covid...’

“But then I heard about Captain Tom Moore and I thought if Captain Tom can do this now, why am I sitting around waiting for Covid to end?

“It’s not the easiest first event, hiking along bumpy, muddy footpaths, but I’m determined to get to the finish line and I’m excited about beginning this new chapter in my life. For many years I worked as a social worker with Kirklees Council, assessing people for services when they became ill with cancer. Time and time again we turned to Macmillan for help and they never let us down. Great advice, vital services, I’m a huge fan of Macmillan and thrilled to have the opportunity to help them.”

In the next few weeks he will be trying out some shorter walks to build fitness and experience and will be going out to buy his first pair of hiking boots.

Although he will be walking with a sighted assistant Khalid expects to finish somewhere in the middle of the group of hikers on the day.

“I do naturally have quite a brisk walking pace, so I’m aiming to stay with the main group of hikers for most of the hike. I know it’s not a race but I have no intention of finishing last.”

Khalid has launched a JustGiving page and has set himself a target of £1000 for this walk.

www.justgiving.com/fundraising/khalidhussain

The Macmillan Cancer Support Yorkshire Dales 
Mighty Hike takes place on Saturday July 3.

The full route is a 26-mile hike although there is a 13-mile option, which is the one that Kahlid is planning to complete to raise funds.

Although the hike is now sold out you can find out more information at https://mightyhikes.macmillan.org.uk/choose-a-hike/yorkshire-dales-2021/