Weaving my way slowly home through Glencoe on Friday night - with our #KeepTalking ambassador Jim Smith smiling broadly on our trailer behind keeping me company - gave me a chance to think about what makes the Great Glen Challenge so special.

The support we receive from Scottish agriculture throughout the year is absolutely vital to the success of the work done by RSABI. And there can be few better snapshots of that support than the way people involved in farming and crofting got behind the Great Glen Challenge this year.

We were delighted to have 25 teams taking part, our maximum entry, including three from NFU Scotland, two from Gillespie Macandrew and SP Energy Networks and two young farmers’ teams (east and north).

We are also very grateful to have the support of our overall sponsor, Gillespie Macandrew, our media partner, The Scottish Farmer, People’s Ford for our fabulous, branded Ranger, Rettie, Bank of Scotland and the Royal Bank of Scotland.

As well as raising funds, the Great Glen helps to raise awareness of the work RSABI does along with the importance of exercise for good physical and mental health.

Training to take part in the arduous day of outdoor sports requires discipline, commitment and determination. It is also an opportunity for people to try something new and it was great to hear so many completing their runs, kayaking, walking or cycling, delighted to have achieved a personal first or to have tried something different.

Along with the healthy spirit of competition between teams, the day was filled with banter and camaraderie. As ever, the weather was a talking point, with our cyclists reaching for liberal doses of Smidge and sunscreen early on, before the heavens opened later when competitor and supporter soakings added to the atmosphere.

Special thanks go to Harry Seran and Margo Wills, the RSABI staff who led the planning and delivery of the event. As ever, even with meticulous attention to detail the unexpected can occur and those examples of teams and staff dealing with different challenges throughout the event added to the experience.

Thanks also to the RSABI trustees and happy band of volunteers who kindly gave up their time to help set up and steward the event – your help is very much appreciated.

READ MORE: Great Glen Challenge 2023 edges toward fundraising target

We are also very grateful to everyone who has donated so far. As a result of your generosity we hope to reach our £50,000 target in the coming week with donations still flowing in via our website and links via social media feeds.

During the reception at Neptune’s Staircase, ahead of the prizegiving, I was pleased to share an update on the work RSABI does and the importance of this boost to our funds. Our Freephone Helpline – 0808 1234 555 – is now open 24/7 with people of all ages reaching out to us for support. Demand for our free counselling also continues to grow, having trebled last year. This is simple and quick to arrange.

We are pleased to have trained more than 300 people working in the front line with farmers to be Mental Health First Aiders and we have recently launched a new Health Hut initiative, testing farmers’ blood pressures in an auction mart.

We will shortly be announcing plans to roll out the Thrive app, with live therapist function, which we have been trialling with young farmers clubs and we will again be running our #KeepTalking campaign to encourage people to stay connected and look out for those who may be feeling low or lonely.

Thank you again to all involved in the Great Glen Challenge 2023. Roll on next year!