Pupils gear up for charity adventure

editorial image

An intrepid group of Deeside pupils is preparing to embark on an adventure which will take them across Scotland as part of a charity challenge.

The Banchory Academy team will plot a route from the west coast of Mull to Aberdeen’s seafront this month, travelling by foot, mountain bike and canoe as part of the Across Scotland Challenge, which has raised almost £80,000 for good causes.

This year’s chosen charity is Charlie House.

Since the first Across Scotland Challenge was completed by the school in 2009, a total of £76,500 has been raised for organisations including the Archie Foundation, CLAN Cancer Support, CHSS, and Horseback UK. Last year more than £20,000 was raised for Blesma, in memory of Paul Burns.

The gruelling itinerary begins this Friday, May 15, when the group of 16 pupils from S2 and S3 led by six teachers travel from Banchory to Mull, camping at the Clachandhu beach before embarking on their 420km trek the following morning. They will complete the route on May 23.

The expedition will include road and trail cycles, including on the Great Glen Way, as well as hikes and climbs on notable tracks such as Ben More and the Corrieyarack Pass. A 16km canoe journey from Laggan Lochs to Fort Augustus will be followed by a further leg over water on the final day, taking the group from Drumoak to Aberdeen.

Colin Nicoll, depute rector of Banchory Academy and leader of the challenge party, said: “There has been a tremendous amount of planning by staff and pupils and we’re looking forward to getting started. From fitness tests and equipment checks, we are as well prepared as we can be and there is a great deal of excitement as we prepare to depart.

“In previous years the challenge has been a wonderful experience for all who have taken part. It is a test of endurance but also a valuable team building exercise. Working together is vital and it is incredibly rewarding to see the way everyone rallies together to get to the finish line. It is something the pupils will never forget and for the teachers it is a privilege to be part of the adventure.

“We’re delighted to be supporting Charlie House this year.”