Jun 28 2012 by Clare Damodaran, Blairgowrie Adv
FINAL preparations are underway for the second annual Alliance Trust Cateran Yomp which takes place this weekend in East Perthshire.
The 52 mile charity walk kicks off in the heart of Blairgowrie, and will see walkers of all abilities trek across the beautiful and remote Scottish Glens to raise money for ABF The Soldiers Charity and the Prince's Scottish Youth Business Trust – the chosen charity of title sponsor, Alliance Trust.
The 2012 Yomp takes place on Saturday, June 30, and Sunday, July 1, leading teams of between three and six people through Blairgowrie, Kirkmichael, Spittal of Glenshee and Kirkton of Glenisla with checkpoints and support teams on hand along the way.
With the number of participants signed up almost doubling the 243 that entered in 2011, a number of businesses across Scotland have entered teams to take part in the challenge, which offers the option of bronze (22 miles), silver (36.5 miles) or gold (52 miles) distances to appeal to walkers of all abilities.
A ’yomp’ is the term used by soldiers for a long distance march carrying their full kit.
Bob Ellis, co-founder of the Cateran Trail and director of the Blairgowrie and East Perthshire Tourist Association, said: “The Yomp certainly isn’t a walk in the park. The teams have to complete the Gold event, which is 52 miles in 24 hours.
“You can of course tackle the Bronze Route (23 miles) which finishes at the Spittal of Glenshee or the Silver Route (36 miles) which finishes at Kirkton of Glenisla.
“To take part you have to have a minimum of three people per team and a maximum of six and you have to finish together.
“If you are a part of a team where your team mates have to drop out and you only have two or even one member left the, then the organisers will put you into another team.
“There is quite a bit of entertainment on the route, you can try your hand at clay pigeon shooting or archery, you will even come into contact with a fire-eating dragon providing you have passed through the Spittal.
“There is food and drink a plenty for the participants, you may even put on weight over the course!
“There are also first aiders who will see to your blisters, and aching limbs can be massaged by professionals - nothing is left to chance by the organisers, Wildfox Events.”
Councillor Ellis competed in last year’s inaugural event and will be taking part again this year as well.
He said: “As a participant last year, it was great to see everyone enjoy themselves and chat to each other over the miles. Many commented on how lovely the Cateran Trail is, the scenery and the many people who came out to watch and shout encouragement. Some even said that they would come back at a later date and walk the Trail as it should be walked.
“I competed last year but only as far as the Spittal, as due to unforeseen circumstances I had to pull out but then provided back up for a strong team from London.
“This year I have put in a bit more training and hope to finish within the 24 hours.
“The Cateran Trail is managed by Perth and Kinross Countryside Trust and we and the organisers of the Yomp are deeply grateful to all of the landowners for playing their part in keeping the Trail in the condition it is.
“Events like this bring visitors to the area and highlight just what is on offer in East Perthshire in terms of walking, cycling and loads of other active pursuits, along with great accommodation, good food and drink to match.”
This view was echoed by business leaders from the area. Chairman of the Blairgowrie and East Perthshire Tourism Association (BEPTA) Mike Purdie said: “The Cateran Trail is a very important part of the tourism product that we have to offer and it gains in popularity every year.
“The Yomp has added to the profile of the trail and we are delighted to welcome visitors from all the UK to East Perthshire to take part in this great event.
“As well as the economic benefits to the town of Blairgowrie in particular that hosting the Yomp has, it is also great for tourism business in general - we are sure that competitors will have such wonderful impressions of the area that they will want to come back and visit with their family and friends in the future.”
Blairgowrie Merchants Association President Kate Flemming said: “We’re delighted that they are holding the Cateran Yomp again, it was very successful last year and raised lots of money for good causes.”