RSABI, the charity which supports people in Scottish agriculture, has thanked sponsors, teams, supporters and volunteers who the Great Glen Challenge (GGC) 2023 a huge success.

The GGC is the charity’s major annual fundraising event and this year attracted the maximum of 25 teams from a wide range of roles in Scottish agriculture taking part in a challenging day of outdoor sport testing endurance and fitness, as well as offering a great opportunity for teambuilding and camaraderie.

The demanding event takes place between Fort Augustus and Fort William and experienced the traditional Highland weather.

It consists of sponsored teams taking on a demanding route consisting of a 49km mountain bike ride, a 6km kayak course, an 18km walk and 17km run.

READ MORE: RSABI CEO Carol McLaren reflects on the Great Glen Challenge

Sponsored by expert legal advisors to the rural sector, Gillespie Macandrew, the annual challenge is designed to raise awareness of the work of the charity as well as the importance of teamwork and physical fitness for mental and physical wellness, promoting commitment and teamwork from the onset of training right up to race day.

So far, a total of nearly £48,000 has been raised by those taking part and RSABI is encouraging supporters to dig deep and help in a bid to reach its target of £50,000 over the coming week.

One firm taking part for the first time is property consultants Bidwells, whose team has raised more than £1,300 so far.

Susanna Thomson, Partner in the firm’s Rural team said: “We may not have won any prizes but everyone did very well and most of us benefited from lovely weather, except Rosanna whose run was in heavy rain.

“I lost some time to a puncture but all in all we were very pleased to have been part of such a well organised event for a very worthy cause.”

A spokesperson for RSABI said: “The Great Glen Challenge 2023 really was an exceptional event, with an outstanding effort made by people from all different parts of our industry.

“We are so grateful to our sponsors and to everyone who took part, helped teams to train or came along to support on the day.

“We are also very grateful to our trustees and volunteers who got their sleeves rolled up and helped us set the event up and derig afterwards in a range of weathers from sunshine to downpours, with a lively band of midges who kept us company for much of the day!”

Alan White, partner at Gillespie Macandrew, sponsors of the event, presented the prizes to individuals and teams at a post-event reception at the iconic Neptune’s Staircase, Banvie.

The overall team winner was Scottish Woodlands, with last year’s winners Shannoch, taking second team place, followed by the Royal Bank of Scotland at third.

Individual awards were made to Edward Fletcher of Galbraith Giants for mountain biking, Mark Donald of NFU Team 2 paddled his way to success at kayaking, David Michie of NFU Team 1 scooped first place for running while a joint first place for walking went to Rebecca Drummond of Team Shannoch, Neil White of Scottish Woodlands and Andy Glasgow of Royal Bank of Scotland.

Participating teams included Bank of Scotland, Bell Ingram, Bidwells LLP, the Crofting Commission, Davidson & Robertson, Galbraith, Gillespie Macandrew, James Hutton Institute, Johnston Carmichael, NFU Scotland, Royal Bank of Scotland, SAC Consulting, SAYFC, Scottish Woodlands, SP Energy Networks, Tarff Valley, Thomson Cooper Accountants, Thorntons, and Virgin Money.

NFU Scotland fielded an impressive three teams of four participants and a driver in the event.

Lorna Paterson, who took part in the walking category for the union said: “The pre-training work which some team members invested certainly paid off, with Combinable Crops Policy Manager, David Michie gaining overall gold medal award for the Running category.

“However, the team successes were not all about advance practicing, as proved by Kayak gold medallist, Mark Donald, who admitted he had never been in a Kayak before.

“The event was truly wonderful, with a great atmosphere amongst all participants, staff volunteers and all the RSABI team.

“Events like this are fantastic fun and the cause is second to none. Cycling team member, Diana McGown said she kept her wheels turning on the rough and tough terrain because she recognized she was raising money for a great cause and that lots of people had kindly sponsored our teams.

“RSABI do so much for those in need – even the little things have a hugely positive impact. It was a challenge, but nothing compared to what some go through.” Diana said she was delighted to have been part of the day.

“NFUS Facilities Manager and Team leader, Robert Ferguson was in awe of the scenery, and commented that he had wished he had been participating in the walking category, instead of organising our team logistics for start and finish lines.

“The work which RSABI do in our rural communities is simply brilliant, and Welfare Officers out in the field do a magnificent job for our farming folk. With mental health issues escalating at such a pace currently, never has there been more need for this great charity.”

The teams easily exceeded their combined fundraising target and are now currently sitting at more than £3,500, with the teams still taking donations.

NFUS CEO, John Davidson said: “I am so very proud of my staff and farmer members who participated across the three teams as well as our staff volunteers who helped with the logistics of the day.

“RSABI is a phenomenal charity, and it is imperative that we, in NFUS, do as much as we can to support them wherever possible.”

RSABI’s freephone Helpline - 0808 1234 555 - is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and calls do not show up on phone bills.

All enquires are treated as confidential by the organisation’s friendly, professional team. People can also make contact with the charity online via a range of social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

RSABI can also be reached via the webchat function on its website 24 hours a day.