Angelika Starr of Port Hardy

Angelika Starr of Port Hardy

Fair gets thumbs up from British hikers

PORT HARDY-Couple traveling on foot through North America serve as judges at Fall Fair after catching a lift on highway.

PORT HARDY—While hiking and hitchhiking their way through North America, a pair of British tourists have been treated to their first trip in the back of a highway patrol car and several backyard campouts.

But last Friday was the first time they were invited to take part in the judging of a rural community fair.

Port Hardy schoolteacher Richard Starr was on a routine drive home from Port McNeill Friday afternoon when he spotted Phil Watson and partner Angie Colston alongside the highway at the Port Alice junction.

On his way to meet his wife, Angelika Starr, to serve as judges at the Mount Waddington Regional Fall Fair, Starr stopped to pick up the pair. After hearing their story, he invited them to join in and lend their expertise.

Watson, 50, and Colston, 51, in the midst of a global hiking vacation, were up for the challenge.

“It’s been all small towns and rural areas in America and here in Canada,” said Phil Watson. “That’s the best way to meet people.”

Only Watson’s silver hair belies the couple’s ages. They look a decade younger, and appear as fit as most half their ages, the result of walking half a continent while taking only mass transit and rides offered by friendly strangers.

They camp in their tent on the trail, though they have been offered back yards in Vancouver and in Campbell River. Friday night, they were treated to a stay at the Starrs’ home before heading out for their hike of the North Coast Trail.

The couple, who both served as veterinarians in England’s Lake District, left their jobs late last year to set out on a low-impact sightseeing tour of the Western U.S. and beyond. With no vehicle and no firm itinerary, the pair arrived in the desert Southwest to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from the U.S.-Mexico border to its northern terminus.

“We met a Canadian while we were walking the Pacific Crest, and he said, ‘You’ve got to hike the West Coast Trail,’” said Watson. Once on Vancouver Island to take on that challenge, the pair was informed of the Cape Scott-North Coast Trail. Without so much as a bicycle, Colston and Watson began thumbing from Bamfield to Port Hardy.

Ten rides later, they found themselves in Port Hardy’s Civic Centre and Don Cruickshank Memorial Arena, perusing offerings entered in the Mount Waddington Regional Fall Fair and marking down their selections.

Ironically, perhaps, Colston agreed to serve as a photography judge while Watson, who has taken hundreds of scenic and landscape photos on their journey, tackled the sampling of baked goods.

“It’s ideal for someone who’s hiking,” Watson quipped. “You need a lot of calories.”

When judging was completed, the pair were treated to a sampling of wines entered in the fair.

From here, the pair is headed to Alberta. Eventually, they will make their way back to Seattle, then take a train to Michigan for a two-week break to visit family.

From there, it’s off to Fiji and New Zealand for more hiking.

“Eventually we have to go home,” said Colston. “But we don’t have a return flight.”

 

Just Posted

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Alert Bay council has decided to cancel Canada Day celebrations. (Alertbay.ca photo)
Alert Bay council cancels Canada Day celebrations

The decision was made in wake of the mass graves being found at former residential schools

Things are looking up for Vancouver Island as zero COVID-19 cases have been reported for the first time since October. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Island records zero new COVID-19 cases for the first time since October

For the first time since October, the province is reporting zero new… Continue reading

Black Press Media file
Port Hardy RCMP on the hunt for porta-pottie arsonist

The porta-potties were lit on fire early in the morning on June 13

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto and IOC President Thomas Bach, on a screen, speak during a five=party online meeting at Harumi Island Triton Square Tower Y in Tokyo Monday, June 21, 2021. The Tokyo Olympics will allow some local fans to attend when the games open in just over a month, Tokyo organizing committee officials and the IOC said on Monday. (Rodrigo Reyes Marin/Pool Photo via AP)
Tokyo Olympics to allow Japanese fans only, with strict limits

Organizers set a limit of 50% capacity — up to a maximum of 10,000 fans

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

A Lotto 6/49 ticket purchased in Parksville for the June 19, 2021 draw is a $3M winner. (Submitted photo)
Winning Lotto 6/49 ticket worth $3M purchased on Vancouver Island

Lottery prize winners have 52 weeks to claim jackpot

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

Most Read