This Saturday, record-breaking Scottish adventurer and cyclist Mark Beaumont will set off on his major cross-Scotland challenge in aid of the STV Appeal.
After months of intense training, including icy cold open water swims, Mark is now facing one of the most difficult and demanding adventures of his life as he endeavours to travel the 230 miles from Arran to Aberdeen by foot and in the water, in only 10 days.
With final preparations underway, Mark is urging schools and businesses along the route to get involved and join STV Appeal’s fight against child poverty in Scotland.
Following the scenic Highland Boundary Fault line, Mark will cross the open sea three times, including a never-done-before six mile swim from Arran to Isle of Bute, facing extreme cold and exhaustion.
He will also cross Scotland’s biggest loch, Loch Lomond, and endure ultra-marathon runs over rough terrain and mountain climbs - all to raise as much money as possible to help children and young people living in poverty in Scotland.
Today, Mark visited Youthbuild, a programme run by Action for Children Scotland and supported by STV Appeal, which helps unemployed young people in Scotland’s most deprived areas find work. As well as supporting young people to secure work experience and placements, it also gives them all of the necessary training and accreditations to work on construction sites.
In total, Action for Children Scotland was awarded over £350,000 from the STV Appeal in 2011 and 2012 to support its services across the country.
Mark Beaumont said: “Being involved in the STV Appeal has opened my eyes to the number of children in Scotland who are living in poverty. Youthbuild is a great example of how the money raised is helping to make a real difference in the lives of young people and I’m glad to have had the opportunity to visit the project first hand. The final preparation for my challenge has been going well, but it is still a hugely intimidating task and I will be very relieved when the first few days and the first big open water swim is behind me. I would love to see lots of community support along the route and I hope we can raise as much as possible for this fantastic cause.”
Elizabeth Partyka of STV Appeal said: “Mark has spent months training for this enormous task, running through snow and swimming in freezing cold lakes and rivers, and now the big event is just around the corner. We are so excited to have Mark on board and will be behind him every step of the way. There are lots of opportunities for local communities to get involved and help fundraise for the STV Appeal, and I hope that Mark’s involvement will help make this our best year yet.
“We are also thrilled to have the support of all our corporate sponsors and I would like to thank them for getting behind the STV Appeal and help raise funds for such an important cause.”
Paul Carberry, Director of Business Development at Action for Children Scotland, said: “We all know that finding a job in the current climate can be difficult, but it is even more difficult when you are a young person with few or no qualifications and no real experience in the workplace. At Action for Children Scotland we want to give young people a ‘foot in the door’ - helping them to gain the skills, accreditations and experience they need to secure paid work. The success of Youthbuild just goes to show that, when given the chance, young people can really flourish – 70% of participants go on to secure paid work.
“We are very grateful for the continued support of the STV Appeal and wish Mark the very best of luck with this massive challenge.”
To support Mark's challenge and make a donation to STV Appeal, visit Mark's JustGiving page: www.justgiving.com/markbeaumontSTVAppeal or text BEAU87 with the amount to 70070. You can also follow the journey on the STV Appeal facebook page or on twitter using #MarksHLC.
A host of Scottish celebrities are lining up to support Mark by joining him for part of the challenge and fundraising for the STV Appeal.
- BBC Scotland weather presenter, Cat Cubie www.justgiving.com/CatCubie-HighlandLine
- Doctor, runner and author, Andrew Murray www.justgiving.com/AndrewMurray-HighlandLine
- Scottish athlete, Eilish McColgan www.justgiving.com/EilishMcColgan-HighlandLine
- Former Miss Scotland, Jennifer Reoch www.justgiving.com/JenniferReoch-HighlandLine
Scotland’s corporate community is also lending its support to STV Appeal, with headline sponsors Cala Homes, Insights and Aberdeen Asset Management backing Mark’s cross-country expedition. Artemis, Heineken and The Saltire Foundation are also getting behind the big challenge by helping to raise money for the many children affected by poverty in Scotland.
If your business, school or community group would like to get involved with Mark’s challenge and help raise funds for STV Appeal, please contact campaign manager Ami Anderson on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0141 300 3729.
For further information, please contact the STV Productions press office:
0141 300 3830 / 07921 494 654
0141 300 3670 / 07803 970 143
NOTES TO EDITORS
Day 1: Blackwaterfoot to Sannox on Arran
Starting at Blackwaterfoot on Arran, Mark will leave the cheering crowds behind as he makes his way across the island. Before reaching Brodick, Mark will go off-road and head north to the stunning Glen Rosa. After climbing the island’s highest mountain, Goatfell, for a view of the Sound of Bute and his next challenge, Mark will finish his first day in Sannox.
Day 2: Arran to Bute
On day two of the challenge, Mark will face the hardest part of his journey – an exhausting six mile swim from Fallen Rocks on Arran to Dunagoil Bay on Bute. The gruelling swim, which has never been attempted before, brings with it a number of challenges, including jellyfish and a risk of dehydration. Mark’s open water training will prove absolutely vital to his chances of making the distance.
Day 3: Dunagoil Bay to Dunoon
Mark sets off from Dunagoil Bay after completing his great swim and follows the fault line to cross the Isle of Bute. After passing Loch Fad and Loch Ascog he makes his way to Ardberg Point where he will face a 1.6 mile swim to Ardyne Point, followed by an eight mile run up the coast to Dunoon.
Day 4: Dunoon to Garelochhead
On day four, Mark continues along the coast line to just south of Ardentinny and swims across Loch Long to south of Coulport. He will then run up Shore Road and cut through North Fernicarry Wood until he reaches the town of Garelochhead.
Day 5: Garelochhead to Balmaha
From Garelochhead, Mark heads along Glen Luss to the town of Luss itself. It’s now time for him to prepare for the final swim of the challenge, across Loch Lomond. He swims the 2.2 miles to Cashel Campsite, followed by a short run to Balmaha for some well needed rest at the foot of Conic Hill.
Day 6: Balmaha to Callander
On day six of the challenge, Mark sets off to conquer Conic Hill followed by a long run through the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park and past Drumore Wood, before reaching Aberfoyle. He continues along the Rob Roy Way Path past Loch Venachar and the Coilhallan Wood to finish the day in Callander.
Day 7: Callander to Crieff
Mark heads North from Callander towards Ben Vorlich and runs off-road until he reaches the Cultybraggan Road into Comrie. From Comrie he will run along the Strowan Road to Crieff.
Day 8: Crieff to Blairgowrie
Mark sets off from Crieff, running North on the Sma Glen, before reaching Amulree and heading East along the Old Military Road to Dunkeld. From there, Mark will take leave by the Boat Road, cutting across country on the quieter B947 road for the last 10k to Blairgowrie.
Day 9: Blairgowrie to Edzell
On the second last day of his challenge, Mark leaves Blairgowrie behind for one of his longest runs. He passes extensive farm lands and the town of Alyth before reaching Kirriemuir. From here, Marks runs past Drumclune with the mountainous fault line on his left. His final destination of the day is Edzell, and after passing a string of woodlands and Edzell Castle, he can finally rest for the night.
Day 10: Edzell to Aberdeen
On the final day of his challenge, Mark makes his way from Edzell Wood to Fettercairn and along Cairn O’Mount Road. Running along the base of the fault line, he passes by Loch Saugh, runs through Fa’en Wood Brae and past Drumtochty Castle, towards Stonehaven. The final leg of his journey takes Mark on an arduous 15 mile run up toe coastline, passing Newtonhill and Cove Bay, to his final destination of Aberdeen.