Record-Breaking Numbers Trek 24 Hours for Army Charity
Image credits – Ed Smith Photography and Graeme Niven (Niven Photography)
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 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.
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 2022/23 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.
Completing Silver (36 miles) in 13 hours and six minutes, this year’s Ambassador was Royal Artillery Veteran Lee Harris-Hamer (31), from Thirsk in North Yorkshire. Joining the Royal Artillery at the age of 17, Lee was deployed to Afghanistan twice and rose to the rank of Lance Bombardier. However, at the age of 24, a back injury dramatically ended his eight-year Army career. For a fit young soldier and father, the news was devastating. Lee struggled with feelings of worthlessness and developed anxiety and depression. However, with a grant from ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, he used the skills he had developed in the Army to start his own cleaning business. Lee now employs over 40 staff through White Horse Cleaning Services, providing a full suite of cleaning services for commercial premises across North Yorkshire.
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.”