Dunfermline Walkers Raise Thousands for Army Charity
Two Dunfermline men have raised over £3.5K by trekking 54 miles in 24 hours for ABF The Soldiers’ Charity.
Graeme Findlay celebrated 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.
Graeme underwent major surgery in 2021 which encouraged him to get fit and rebuild his strength.
As part of the ‘Mind Over Miles’ team, he was 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. They were joined by colleague Matt Foster from Gorebridge in Midlothian.
Graeme, Jon and Jeremy all crossed the Gold finish line (54 miles) at 23 hours and 23 minutes, with Matt achieving Silver (36 miles).
Reflecting on their endeavours, Graeme said, “The Cateran Yomp is an excellent event and so well organised by the team and volunteers. The directions around the route were perfect and there wasn’t a moment when I felt lost or searching for the way forward. I had some great chats with fellow Yompers from all over the country and further afield. Lots of interesting stories which made the time fly by!
“When I set out I was sure I was going for Gold but, 15 miles in, the sun was unrelenting and the hills were draining me. I started to think maybe Silver would be my limit but after reaching Bronze, eating a decent meal and then finding a cooling breeze on the way to Silver I was much happier and settled back into my normal pace. I’m extremely pleased to have completed the full route on the first attempt. For anyone thinking about taking on the Yomp I’d say go for it but put in the training. I’ve been out every weekend this year and that work has paid off.”
Over 1,200 soldiers and civilians from across the globe came together to support ABF The Soldiers’ Charity during the 12th Cateran Yomp. Raising £300,000, the participants, aged 16 to 76, travelled from as far as the US, Lebanon, New Zealand, Ukraine, Italy and Germany to 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 provides a lifetime of support to serving soldiers, former soldiers, and their immediate families when they are in need, minimising hardship and encouraging independence and dignity.
The Cateran Yomp has raised millions of pounds for the charity, with donations funding everything from wheelchair ramps for soldiers’ homes, to respite care and personal recovery plans for injured soldiers returning from the front line. In 202/23 alone, the charity supported around 70,000 members of the Army Family in 45 countries around the world; the youngest beneficiary was just three months old and the oldest was aged 103.
Starting at 6am on Saturday and ending in the early hours of Sunday morning, the event challenged teams of brave souls to walk 22, 36 or 54 miles in less than 24 hours. They enjoyed favourable weather on the 54-mile route around the foothills of the Cairngorms, with the distraction of live music, magically lit forests and fireworks.
This year’s event was sponsored by The Famous Grouse, alongside Dover Fuelling Solutions, Arnold Clark Car and Van Rental, Land Rover Pentland, and Leonardo. The Cateran Yomp also works with a range of local sponsors who donate gifts in kind for the event, including Castle Water, Mackie’s of Scotland and Tunnocks.
Reflecting on the weekend, Major General Tim Hyams CB OBE, Chief Executive of ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, commented: “The Cateran Yomp is a flagship event for ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, and has this year seen record participation. I am hugely grateful to every single participant; all of whom have demonstrated significant mental and physical resilience, and an evident sense of teamwork. In so doing, they have made a tangible difference to our ability, as the Army’s national charity, to be there for soldiers, for life.”