Cateran Yomp

Endurance Challenge Leaves Mark on Nottingham Man!

A Nottingham man is completing his Cateran Yomp tattoo after going for Gold at one of Scotland’s toughest endurance challenges.

Starting at 6am on Saturday and ending in the early hours of Sunday morning, ABF The Soldiers’ Charity’s Cateran Yomp challenged teams of brave souls to walk 22, 36 or 54 miles in less than 24 hours. Over 1200 participants 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.

Eddie Kempsey

Eddie Kempsey. Credit – Graham Niven, Niven Photography.

Participants, aged 16 to 75, 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.

Eddie Kempsey (33) first took part in the Cateran Yomp in 2016 at which point he had to pull out at Bronze due to a knee injury.  He returned in 2019 but collapsed four miles from the end, having walked an epic 50 miles in 24 hours.  This weekend, he returned to achieve his goal of reaching Gold (54 miles) in 24 hours and 23 minutes.  With a tattoo featuring the Cateran Yomp map and his achievements in 2016 and 2019, Eddie is now preparing to have his tattoo updated to reflect his Gold medal!

Eddie Yomp tattoo

Eddie’s soon-to-be-completed tattoo! Credit – Graham Niven, Niven Photography.

Eddie has raised £1700 so far this year, bringing his total fundraising achievement for the charity to just under £3,000.  His fundraising was boosted just days before the Yomp when he decided to shave off his long beard if donations rose by £500.

Eddie beard

Eddie before his charity beard shave!

Eddie’s achievement was all the more impressive given a back operation he endured at the end of 2021, when his surgeon warned him of permanent nerve damage that may prevent him from walking long distances.

He said, “ABF The Soldiers’ Charity does some truly amazing work. My brother had just retired after 23yrs in the forces and I have many friends in the military too.  I trained to be in the parachute regiment but had to come out due to injury but I’ve always wanted to be involved in the military somehow and, now that I can’t be in it, I have chosen to do my best to support it.  It’s been a brilliant but emotional experience and a huge personal achievement. I came back to prove it was possible and I now plan to send my surgeon a photo of my medal!”

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 FY 22/23 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.

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.”

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