Loch Lomond Young Farmers Club has been running a virtual balloon race for charity.

The on-line balloonie-hoolie started on Valentine's Day and will run for until Sunday (Feb 21) at mid-day. Sam Penrice, the club's chairman, told The Raider: "The idea was inspired after my brother had found several helium balloons in one of our fields of livestock.

"We had a discussion about other ways people could do this in the memory of others or for special occasions, without putting livestock at risk. After some research, I came across EcoRacing, an organisation that works with charities to create virtual balloon races that don't have the negative impact on the environment or livestock.

"The race allows people to buy a £3 balloon, name their balloon and even decide how thick the rubber on the balloon is and how much helium it is filled with."

The club sold 62 balloons – with a lot of people buying a balloon for each family member – for the event, but there are hundreds of balloons in total for the whole race to support several charities.

The balloons travel across a virtual map and are affected by the live weather in whichever part of the world they are.

So far (by Tuesday) they had travelled more than 300km, with a northerly wind in France over the past couple of days blowing the balloons up across the channel and they were currently off the South-east coast of England. They will travel for seven days and the winner will be the balloon that has travelled the furthest distance without popping!

And, the winner of the competition will get £500 cash, second an iPad and the 10 balloons after this will win £10 book tokens. On Tuesday, Jan and Robert Haining (our photographer) were lying first and third of the Loch Lomond entries ... Jan always wins!

Here's the Facebook page for the event: https://fb.me/e/1449u6UHO ... and this is the fundraising page on the Ecoracing website: https://ecoracing.co/user/page/1256

Pinky's not very perky

JUST when he should have been enjoying the delights of the Highland cattle sale in Oban, this past weekend, Alan 'Pinky' Prentice has been in the wars.

He normally comes home with a sore heid (from the noise?) but on Sunday he was carrying buckets of water to beasts back home at Ravenstruther, near Lanark, when he slid on ice and fell flat out on his erse.

But, even with a pair of soaked drawers could not stop the pain when later he was cleaning inside windows of his digger, when he slipped again and fell out

I quite from the informant: "Grace, his daughter, had shoulder at his erse trying to push him back up into digger, as he was hanging out – he now has a huge skin tear on his leg."

At least he never usually came home from Oban in that state – though it might have been a close run thing some years!