10 local businessmen take to the lochs of Scotland to raise £25k for Dougie Mac

A group of 10 businessmen from around the Midlands are embarking on a 60-mile canoeing challenge in a bid to raise £25k for charity, Douglas Macmillan Hospice.

Led by Director of metal manufacturers KMF, Gareth Higgins, the team are aiming to complete this epic challenge across the waterways of the Scottish Highlands from Inverness to Fort William in just 72 hours.

Typically, fundraisers complete the Great Glen Canoe Trail challenge in five days but to further add to the difficulty, the amateur canoeists are also aiming to attempt the route in reverse, paddling against the wind.

Paul Hawkins, Plinkfizz; Paul Franklin, HSBC; Paul Staley, Wise Living; Terry Stanway, KMF; Tom Higgins, Bentley Motors; Mitch and Rod Brown, Browns Recycling; Mark Inskip, RBC Brewin Dolphin; Nathan Walton, TeDaisy and Andy Whitehouse, are all joining Gareth on the newly dubbed “KMF Great Glen Canoe Trail Challenge”.

Embarking on the ambitious trial on 18 September 2023, the group will also be tasked with being fully self-sufficient for the duration of the event, wild camping, and carrying the fully laden canoes with barrels of kit and equipment in between the bodies of water and around locks. They will sometimes by trekking with the load for up to a mile.

Gareth said: “I’m passionate about supporting the Dougie Mac and it’s fantastic to challenge myself both personally but also as part of our team.

“This is going to be no mean feat. It’s going to be physically and mentally tough. Add in the heavy load we’ll be carrying between lochs and the uncomfortable nights wild camping on the water’s edge, we’ll all be pushed to our limits.

“I’m constantly inspired by the work of the Dougie Mac and have taken part in a number of tough challenges to raise vital funds for the hospice, this one won’t be easy but it’s especially worth it to support our local hospice that we are so lucky have on our doorstep.”

The route will see the group canoe through and walk between Loch Ness, of which they’re canoeing the entire length, and lochs Lochy, Oich and Dochfour. All linked by Rivers Oich, Ness and Lochy.

The fundraisers are all of varying fitness levels and have a range of experience on water, some having never even sat in a canoe before

First-time canoeist, Paul Hawkins, Co-Owner at Plinkfizz said: “I really wanted to join this challenge with Gareth and the team to push myself while raising money for a charity which everyone knows and admires locally.

“I’ve never stepped foot in a canoe, so this is an incredibly difficult challenge for me but I’m in training and determined to do my part.

“Charity work is important to me personally and to the business. I’m a volunteer Blood Bike rider and so regularly see the importance charity work plays in changing lives every day.”

For the past 16 years KMF has been orchestrating charity events to raise money for Dougie Mac and to date has contributed £350,000 to the charity’s fundraising pot. Each team member has been tasked with raising £2.5k each in a bid to reach their £25k target.

To sponsor the team, visit: www.justgiving.com/page/paul-hawkins-1681230951807


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