The Larky Belters take on Edinburgh Kiltwalk for SSAFA

An eleven-strong team based in and around Larkhall, South Lanarkshire are set to step off for SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity on the last Kiltwalk of the 2023 season.

Wearing their finest red SSAFA T-shirts and striking red tartan kilts, the team – led by former WO2 Karen Macdonald – will make their colourful way around Edinburgh on 17 September.

It is not, however, Karen’s – or the Larky Belters’ – first Kiltwalk. Karen organised a smaller team for last year’s Kiltwalk and has expanded her fundraising team for 2023, which comprises her, another Karen, Fliss, Jen, Caterina, Fiona, Rosie, Sharon, Claire, Debbie, and Lisa.

Karen enjoyed a long and varied career in the Army, which she joined in 1989 with WRAC (Women’s Royal Army Corps, which became the Adjutant-General Corps in 2002).

Leaving in 2004, she served in – deep breath – the MoD, 4 Signal Group Germany, Headquarters Northern Ireland (where she was awarded the Queen’s Commendation for Valuable Service), 1st Battalion Queen’s Lancashire Regiment, 7 Parachute Regiment, the Army Training Regiment, and finished with 1st Bn The Highlanders in Edinburgh. She completed three operational tours in Bosnia.

Now a civil servant, Karen has been a fitness fan since joining the Army, and says:

I spend many Sundays putting in the miles encouraging others to join as feel walking is good for the soul and head space especially during these difficult times.”

Of Kiltwalks, Karen notes:

The atmosphere is tremendous, and you get to talk to so many people on the way round from all walks of life supporting their chosen charities.

For us it’s SSAFA, which we support so proudly. The charity – it’s the UK’s oldest tri-service charity – does amazing by supporting serving military personnel and their families, older veterans, those who might need some help with their mental wellbeing, as well as its transitional mentoring for service leavers. All of these aspects are so important to individuals and their families, and really, it’s like SSAFA’s part of your family, always there to support you.”

The Larky Belters enthusiasm for and belief in SSAFA is perhaps all the more remarkable as Karen is the only member of this year’s team with personal military service.

She concludes, saying:

So, if you see us on the 17th in Edinburgh, give us a wave and if you can’t make it to the Kiltwalk, then drop us a donation so that SSAFA can carry on its life-changing and sometimes life-saving work, just as it has since 1885.”

Donations can be made to the Larky Belters at

For more information, visit

Our Executive Members

By @Cobseo 54 years ago

Afghanistan support

In light of recent events in Afghanistan, please find information and support resources here