BLAIR was buzzing at the weekend when the second annual Alliance Trust Cateran Yomp took place in East Perthshire, raising over £250,000 for ABF The Soldiers’ Charity and the Prince’s Trust Youth Business Scotland.
Taking place on Armed Forces Day, Saturday, June 30, 480 participants of all abilities took over 36 million steps across 18,000 miles to complete the Yomp. The town itself was full of people with walking equipment and there were a number of “no vacancies” signs and camper vans in the area.
In first place, completing the Yomp in a time three hours quicker than the 2011 record, was a team from the Alliance Trust itself, ‘The Good, the Mad and the Elderly’, which took the gold level in 11 hours 34 minutes, passing through Blair, Kirkmichael, the Spittal of Glenshee and Kirkton of Glenisla.
Winning team member James Myles said: “We are ecstatic to have come in first place and honoured to bring home the gold on behalf of Alliance Trust. At times, the trail was brutal and rugged, but the whole experience has been hugely rewarding.”
Katherine Garrett-Cox, CEO of the Alliance Trust said: “We are thrilled to go into our second year of the event topping our fundraising total and doubling the number of entrants of last year.
“The 2012 Yomp has been a fantastic success and I was immensely proud to present our outstanding Alliance Trust team with their medals as they crossed the finish line in first place.
“We welcome all participants, support teams and volunteers to join us again next year!”
David Fox-Pitt, Director of Wildfox Events said: “This year’s Yomp was even bigger and better and it’s fantastic to work with the local community to take over such a beautiful part of Scotland and put the Yomp firmly on the map.”
Councillor Bob Ellis, a co-founder of the Cateran Trail and member of the ‘Local Yokels’ team, said: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank Wildfox Events for once again putting on a great event.
“I would also like to thank the Alliance Trust and the Courier for sponsoring and supporting this fantastic event, and everyone at ABF, The Soldiers’ Charity, and the Princes Scottish Youth Business Trust for their hard work.
“Perth and Kinross Countryside Trust, who manage the Cateran Trail should also be thanked, especially Andy Barrie and Bid Strachan and local volunteer, Windy Millar.
“Thanks must also go to Atholl Adventures, Tayside Mountain Rescue, the Red Cross and all the many other volunteers who provided assistance.
“It was great when we arrived at the Spittal of Glenshee to hear the Blairgowrie and District Accordion and Fiddle Group playing away in one of the marquees and again a bit later when they were playing at Kirkton of Glenisla.
“We finished inside the 24 hour challenge time and the bacon and egg rolls washed down with champagne and cups of tea were most welcome.
“I am already looking forward to next year’s event - but as someone’s back up!”
The Local Yokels completed the gold level of the Yomp in 23 hours and 27 minutes. The team was made up of Councillor Ellis, Charles Dunphie, a farmer from Bridge of Cally and former soldier who now works for ABF The Solider’s Charity, Gregg Hector who lives outside Alyth and David Rooke, a doctor who lives in Glenisla.
This was the first year that Charles had taken part in the Yomp. He said: “Part of the Cateran Trail goes through our farm. I work from home and can see it out of my window and because I work for the charity as well and it is for a good cause it seemed obvious that I should do it.
“Also, the guys who did it last year had a fantastic time, they all had a ball. They said that it was rewarding and challenging but that it was so well run it was well worth doing.
“I was really looking forward to it beforehand - it already has a good reputation for being fun - although I have to admit to having had some trepidation about walking 52 miles.”
Charles, who left the army around 18 months ago, added: “I have to admit that I didn’t do much formal training for the Yomp but I was an infantryman when I was in the army and walked a mile or two then and I knew what I was taking on.
“Bob, Gregg and David are all experienced hillwalkers too so we were aiming for a good hillwalking pace of two to three miles an hour and were reasonably confident that we would achieve the 52 miles.
“Having said that, I’d be lying if I said we were complacent. It is a very physically demanding event, there is no doubt about it, but I know things like this are very much a case of mind over matter– people can surprise themselves with what they can achieve.”
Charles also highlighted the importance of events such as the Cateran Yomp in terms of raising the profile of ABF The Soldier’s Charity, the army’s national charity since 1944, and the role that East Perthshire can play in that.
He said: “This is a beautiful part of the world and hosting events such as this has significant economic benefits for an area. It is great for tourism and business in the area.
“There are really good visitor attractions here and it would help the charity and tourism in the area if we host other fundraising events.
“If we can show off what Blair and East Perthshire has to offer, while at the same time raising money for the charity, then everyone benefits. There is a great opportunity here and we should all think about how to make the most of it and what we can do to build on the success of the Yomp.”
The VisitScotland Information Centre reported a busy weekend. Visitor Services Adviser Rachael Livingston said: “People tended to be very organised and had booked their accommodation well in advance.
“But we know that some accommodation providers did still have some availability over the weekend too.”
Next year’s Alliance Trust Cateran Yomp will take place on June 15 and 16, 2013.