Taking on a new challenge: my Hilton Hike journey for Team Solan

Paul Shields

Paul Shields

Audit Partner

Amidst the excitement of joining as a new Partner in our Newcastle office, Paul Shields recently embarked on a remarkable personal challenge – a 39-mile hike from Allenheads in Northumberland to Sacriston in County Durham.

Not merely a physical feat, but a heartfelt endeavor to raise funds for Team Solan, a trust based in Durham supporting those affected by cancer. Despite the formidable distance and unpredictable terrain, Paul 'stepped' up to the challenge.

We caught up with him as reflects on completing the Hilton Hike; the toughest challenge he's ever done.

Paul, what made you join Johnston Carmichael?

After meeting with a number of Johnston Carmichael's leadership team, I was excited by the Newcastle office project, and the opportunity to be part of something new in the North East England region, and also to get involved so early on in this journey.

What will your role be?

I think my biggest role initially will be raising awareness and the profile of Johnston Carmichael in the North East of England. There is a gap in the market, but its difficult to attract the very best talent and clients in the region to join if they don’t know who we are and what we do. I'm currently speaking to lots of potential clients about how brilliant the firm is.

What are you looking forward to the most?

I'm most looking forward to growing the team in Newcastle, the opportunity to bring people in and for them to be part of the Newcastle office journey is really exciting.

Now, on to the Hilton Hike, how far did you walk? 

It was a 39 mile walk from Allenheads (which is near Hexham and in Northumberland) to Sacristion (County Durham). We set off at 9pm and arrived at Sacriston at 1.30pm on Saturday (we did have an hour off in McDonalds at 5am!). It's the toughest physical and mental challenge I've ever done, it was cold and physically relentless. 

What are you fundraising for?

We're raising funds for Team Solan, a Durham based trust which helps children and adults who’s lives have been impacted either directly or indirectly by cancer. We are also walking in memory of a friend, Richie Hilton who passed away last year after suffering with cancer. He was only 39 year old when he died.

What training did you do to prepare for this? 

I only signed up for the walk about 4 weeks ago so I probably didn't do as much preparation as I would have liked! I hit the roads on lots of lonely walks along the North East Coast line (yes we do have an amazing coast at Sunderland!!), and my longest walk has been 17 miles during my training. My wife and children joined me for my first 10 mile walk but refused to join the training afterwards!

Can we count on you to join one of our Kiltwalks in 2024? 

Well…. of course. We're looking to organise a team of Chartered Akiltants in Newcastle - but my one rule will be, I'm not walking if it's in December and not overnight!

You can donate to Paul's fundraising, here.

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