Sponsored Walk 2016
Ready: Months of preparation go into making our annual sponsored walk a success. This year was no different – although the only thing we cannot control is the weather. However, 2016 saw the sunshine gods looking down on us. It all begins back in November when we decide on a route, this is not as simple as it sounds. It has to be the correct length; for most part it has to have land rover access in case of emergencies; if it’s a linear route the beginning and end cannot be too far apart, otherwise logistically it’s not viable; there has to be somewhere at the end to erect the marquee; we have to be able to get the busses to the start and finish – and so the planning begins. Once the route is decided we have to get permissions from the Estates (this year Thank You to Balmoral and Invercauld Estate) and then we have to progress with the PR and advertising.
Steady: On Friday night at 7:30pm the team left the Westhill garage with all the Land Rovers in convoy, bound for the Kieloch walker’s car park near Braemar. This was to be the finishing point of the 2016 AMRT Sponsored Walk. The wagons and trailers had all been packed at the team briefing on the Thursday, stocked with sandwiches, cakes and plenty of tea bags. With the team all gathered at the Keiloch (along with some ex team members and team friends to help numbers) the building of the massive marquee could begin. It didn't take long with all the capable hands and this allowed an evening of catching up with the ex team members before all kipping down in the marquee for a comfortable night’s sleep.
Go: 156 walkers are collected by bus (Thank You First Bus) from Aberdeen and along the road out to Ballater. Once at the start, numbers are distributed and the walkers sent on their way. Members of the Team marshal the route and keep everyone hydrated and supplied with sweets for that much needed sugar rush. At the end of the walk, with smiles on their faces and a few tired legs and sore feet, the walkers get a very welcome cup of tea or coffee (Thank You ladies) and a cake or two (Thank You Alan Duffus, Sinclairs of Rhynie). They can then sit and relax in the sunshine and share stories of the day and hopefully consider coming back again next year!
As the last walkers were reaching the end of the route a couple of the AMRT marshals on the South side of the River Dee spotted smoke from woodland on the North bank. The Fire Service was promptly informed and a local fire engine and crew were soon on scene. With few fire crew, dense woodland, hoses to be hauled and lots of nearby AMRT members it was inevitable that the team would get involved. This saw a group of team members busy for an hour or so helping out the fire crew. Moral of the story: if you are camping in the forest in summer, please make sure that you keep fires under control and properly extinguish them afterwards.
The Biggest thank you goes to the walkers that took part in this year’s walk – we really appreciate the funds you raise for the Team, allowing them to continue operating. We hope you had a good day, that you enjoyed the walk and that you will be back again next year.
A special thank you goes out this year to the Robertson family, who travelled up from Glasgow to take part. We are grateful for your support at this sad time and we were so touched by your enthusiasm and tenacity. We look forward to seeing you all again next year.
Kerr Nelson / Dawn MacKinnon