A WOMAN who is walking the UK's coastline for Alzheimers Research UK was given a warm welcome as she reached North Ayrshire on her epic trek.

Karen Penny, 53, embarked on her adventure at the beginning of the year from her home in South Wales after the loss of both her mother and father-in-law to dementia-related illnesses.

The mum-of-one has been walking for nearly 250 days to reach North Ayrshire, where she was welcomed by Fairlie man Douglas Rae, pictured.

Douglas has personal experience of Alzheimer's after losing his dad to the disease at the beginning of the year and ran the London Marathon during the summer to help raise cash for research into the condition.

When he heard of Karen's journey he was keen to offer some some support and companionship during her walk from Saltcoats to Largs.

Douglas said: "I found out about Karen's walk through the work I do myself with Alzheimer’s Research UK.

"I got involved with the charity as both my grandmother and father have died as a result of Alzheimer’s.

"Dementia is not just a symptom of growing old and we need to do something about it.

"Awareness is beginning to improve, which can only be a positive.

"Dementia in Largs and Fairlie is pretty prevalent because of the demographic. It is a big issue which has been somewhat hidden in the past.

"People were very generous to Karen's cause and just passing through Seamill a man ran up and shoved £20 into her hand and thanked her for her efforts."

Having set a target of £100,000, Karen has already collected an impressive £41,810, with locals offering priceless support along the way.

She said: "It has been lovely to reach Largs. Many people have pre-conceptions about dementia, and often it is only when someone is personally affected that they begin to find out about it.

"Dementia has had a profound impact upon both mine and Douglas' families and we have both lost two very dear family members.

"I am now devoting the next four years of my life, leaving family and friends and my cat Bilbo behind, to raise a target of £100,000 for Alzheimer’s Research UK."

Having passed through Largs, Karen then took on her first island of the challenge, getting the ferry over to Cumbrae where she was welcomed by locals and given a place to stay.

Donations can be made at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/thepennyrollson​