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

OPINION: Urgent care room will cost lives

“Seniors, of any demographic, are the most vulnerable to the loss of emergency care.”

James Hayward coroner’s inquest rescheduled hours away from where RCMP shooting occured

The family is “a bit disappointed that it’s going to be held in Campbell River”

Deadline looming for North Island College scholarship applications

Students have until April 24 to apply for a record number of… Continue reading

BC Ferries to pilot selling beer and wine on select routes

Drinks from select B.C. breweries and VQA wineries to be sold on Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen route

Gil’s Girls win Harvey Walkus Memorial Ball Hockey Tournament in shootout

This year the tournament was held at the Don Cruickshank Memorial Arena on April 12-14.

VIDEO: Alberta man creates world’s biggest caricature

Dean Foster is trying to break the world record for a radio show contest

Chaos at the ferry terminal for people heading from Vancouver to the Island

Easter crowds create backlog at Tsawwassen ferry terminal

B.C. RCMP receive application for Police Cat Services

RCMP announced the launch of the Police Cat Services unit as an April fools joke

Kirkland Signature veggie burgers recalled due to possible metal fragments

Recalled products came in 1.7 kg packages with a best before date of Apr. 23, 2019

Parents of 13 who tortured children get life after hearing victims

One of their daughters fled their home and pleaded for help to a 911 operator

Flooding, climate change force Quebecers to rethink relationship with water

Compensation for victims of recurring floods limit to 50% of a home’s value, or a maximum of $100,000

Storms blast South, where tornadoes threaten several states

9.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia at a moderate risk of severe weather

Private cargo ship brings Easter feast to the space station

There are three Americans two Russians and one Canadian living on the space station

Notre Dame rector: “Computer glitch” possible fire culprit

The fire burned through the lattice of oak beams supporting the monument’s vaulted stone ceiling

Most Read