10th Cateran Yomp Raises Over £400,000 as Soldiers and Civilians Trek for 24 Hours
One of Scotland’s toughest endurance challenges has raised over £400,000 to help soldiers, veterans and their families.
The 10th Cateran Yomp, which took place on Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 September 2021, saw 515 soldiers and civilians walk side by side on a 24-hour trek across the beautiful hills and glens of the historic Cateran Trail in Perthshire.
ABF The Soldiers’ Charity is the Army’s National Charity and, since 1944, has been providing a lifetime of practical and financial assistance to soldiers, veterans and their families across the UK. Since its launch, the challenge has raised almost £4M for The Soldier’s Charity, with donations funding everything from wheelchair ramps for soldiers’ homes through to respite care and personal recovery plans for injured soldiers returning from the front line. Last year alone, the charity supported 60,000 people in 63 countries around the world.
Starting at 6am on Saturday and ending in the early hours of Sunday, The Cateran Yomp challenged teams of brave souls to walk 22, 36 or 54 miles in less than 24 hours. They enjoyed favourable weather with only brief showers on the 54-mile route around the foothills of the Cairngorms, with the distraction of live music, magical lit forests and fireworks!
This year’s event was sponsored by Dover Fueling Solutions and Pure Storage. The Cateran Yomp also work with a range of local sponsors who donate gifts in kind for the event including Castle Water, Mackie’s of Scotland, Gin Bothy and Tunnocks.
The first place Gold winner was runner Eddie Towler (53) from Bradford who completed the full 54-mile route in 9 hours 53 minutes, a course record. The Yomp’s top fundraiser, Eddie raised almost £7,000 for the charity, having also completed a 76 mile earlier in the year. Eddie joined the 1st Battalion The Duke of Wellington’s Regiment, aged 16 and served for 12 years, with postings to Northern Ireland, Canada, Norway, Kenya and various locations in the UK.
Inspired by Captain Sir Tom Moore, himself a fellow former Duke, Eddie said, “It was emotional but I really enjoyed it! The weather was fantastic, I got the course record, on the 10th anniversary and the most sponsorship. There are some really nasty hills out there, ones I’d forgotten about which just go on and on, but I really enjoyed it. It’s a brilliant event!”
Second place was Kevin Cooke (47) from Exeter who ran the Gold route in 12 hours 20 minutes, with fellow runner Fabienne Thompson (55) from Perth coming in third at 13 hours 43 minutes.
Other participants included two newly married couples choosing to ‘honeymoon’ at the Yomp. From Cupar in Fife, Emma Adams walked the Bronze route in her wedding dress alongside husband Andy. Chris and Rosie Napier from Northern Ireland were going for Gold following their wedding the day before!
Meanwhile, 60-year-old Guy Houston, the Yomp’s only international participant this year, travelled all the way from California. His hometown of Pleasanton is twinned with Blairgowrie and, as part of his trip, he brought a letter of greetings from the Pleasanton Mayor to Blairgowrie Community Council.
Setting them off and welcoming them back were Yomp Ambassador Brenda Hale. Brenda’s husband, Captain Mark Hale was killed in August 2009 while serving with 2 RIFLES in Afghanistan. A passionate advocate for the rights of war widows, she went on to sit in the Northern Ireland Assembly between 2011 and 2017. Mark and Brenda had been married for 22 years and had two daughters, the youngest of whom was still at prep school. The charity immediately made a three-year grant to cover the cost of Alix’s school fees, ensuring minimal upheaval to her routine and education at such a tragic time.
Brenda said, “This was my first Yomp and the motivation, determination and enthusiasm of the participants has been truly inspiring. It’s also been both emotional and uplifting sharing my own story and I’d like to thank all of the fundraisers for their amazing support.”
Major General Martin Rutledge, chief executive of ABF The Soldiers’ Charity added, “After this turbulent 18 months and the postponement of both last year’s event and the June 2021 event, we were delighted to celebrate the 10th ever Cateran Yomp this weekend, a tough but immensely worthwhile challenge for all. The event’s success is down to the generosity, hard work and determination of many people whose support and funds will make a real difference to the lives of service people and their families in Scotland and across the UK, particularly during these difficult times.”