Dunfermline Man Walking Back to Health
A Dunfermline man is walking his way back to good health by trekking 54 miles in 24 hours this summer.
Graeme Findlay will celebrate his 49th birthday while participating in ABF The Soldiers’ Charity’s Cateran Yomp, which challenges teams of soldiers, veterans and civilians to walk 22, 36 or 54 miles across the rugged terrain of the Perthshire countryside in less than 24 hours.
Participants will head off on the Cateran Trail in the foothills of the Cairngorm Mountains at 6am on Saturday 3rd June 2023, returning to Blairgowrie in the early hours of Sunday 4th June. Last year’s event raised just over £500,000 for soldiers, veterans and their families, with 630 participants travelling as far as the U.S, Canada, Australia, Cyprus, Poland and the Netherlands.
Graeme underwent major surgery in 2021 which encouraged him to get fit and rebuild his strength.
He explained, “I had major surgery to remove a tumour on my pancreas and, after the initial eight weeks of taking it easy, was determined to regain my fitness. I had developed a real love of walking during lockdown so, in June 2022, I took part in the National Three Peaks Challenge. I’ve now got the Yomp approaching, my most ambitious challenge yet which just happens to fall on my 49th birthday. It won’t be easy but what a fantastic way to welcome my fifth decade while also raising funds for a brilliant charity.”
Graeme will be joined by his friends and work colleagues at Sainsburys Bank in Edinburgh, Jeremy Watson from Kirkliston and Jon Haworth, also from Dunfermline. Jon is ex-military, having served as an engineer in the Royal Navy for over 18 years. He has spent time on the Type 42 destroyer HMS Nottingham and the Type 23 frigates HMS Somerset and HMS Montrose. In that time, he was fortunate enough to travel around the globe although his most recent trips have been long-distance walks around his home in Fife in preparation for the Yomp!
Meanwhile, Jeremy’s father, uncle and Grandad were also in the Royal Navy. As a result, Jeremy as lived in Scotland and England close to a variety of RNAS bases before his family settled in Cornwall. Jeremy almost joined up after graduating but his career took him back to live in Scotland with his own family.
With training well underway, including plans for some night walks to prepare for the dark sections of the Yomp, Graeme is also one of the Run Directors at Dunfermline Park Run. He has also established a hillwalking club at work to encourage colleagues to get out and enjoy the great outdoors, and discover new routes.
He added, “Many of my colleagues like the idea of getting out for a weekend walk, but some weren’t sure where to go. Now we’re all getting out together, walking everything from a flat four-mile walk by the river to full-on mountaineering. I recently received praise from my employers for boosting community spirit within the workforce, especially amongst staff still working from home and benefiting from coming together with colleagues at weekends. I’ve got a couple of other challenges lined up for the next 12-18 months, so here’s hoping I can encourage more of them to join me!”
Since 1944, ABF The Soldiers’ Charity has provided a lifetime of practical and financial assistance to soldiers, veterans and their families across the UK. During the financial year 21/22, the charity supported 65,000 people in 48 countries worldwide. Since its launch, the Cateran Yomp has raised over £4M for the charity, with donations funding everything from wheelchair ramps for the homes of soldiers, veterans and their families, to respite care and personal recovery plans for injured soldiers returning from the front line. This year’s event is sponsored by Famous Grouse, Dover Fueling Solutions and Arnold Clark.