Braemar to Aberdeen: 100km of cycling, running and canoeing - this weekend was the challenge set by 12 year old Aboyne boy, Calum Kitching, to his friends, Ossian Arthur and Rory Bruce.
The three Deeside youngsters set off on a sponsored weekend journey down Deeside under their own steam. Thirteen year old Lydia Newman also accompanied them on the gruelling first day of their journey.
The chosen Saturday dawned bright and sunny and the youngsters cycled 41 km from Braemar to Dinnet using off-road tracks as much as possible. At Dinnet they abandoned their bikes and ran six km down the Deeside line to Aboyne – the hardest part of the trip, they said.
In Aboyne, they collected their bikes once again to cycle to Potarch, finishing the day with the long steep hill up to the Shooting Greens car park in the Blackhall forest.
Sunday started more easily with a downhill cycle from Shooting Greens to Banchory followed by a 7 km run along the old railway line to Crathes Bridge. Here the boys embarked on the final leg of their journey, 20km canoeing down the Dee to Aberdeen. Luck was with them on this section – a strong following wind allowed them to complete this leg in record time, finishing more than an hour earlier than expected.
As keen sportsmen, the boys looked for a charity which would reflect their own interest in sport and discovered ‘United through Sport’, a charity which provides sporting activities for underprivileged children living in Ghana, as a means to increase self-confidence, as well as teaching important values such as team work, dedication, camaraderie and self-respect.
The boys decided to give half of their sponsor money to this charity and half to the local Archie Foundation. Archie the bear therefore accompanied the boys on their journey. Over £300 was raised by the event and the boys say they are now looking for a new challenge.