ROSS-SHIRE will this weekend provide much of the stunning backdrop — and many of the contestants — for an eagerly anticipated challenge that raises thousands for charity.
Saturday will see the 30th running of the Highland Cross, the unique coast-to-coast charity duathlon.
A remarkable 750-strong field will take up the challenge to cross Scotland in a day — and raise thousands for charity.
Adding spice to the anniversary event is the fact that the winners for the past four years are all taking part in 2012: the 2008 victor, Henry Blake from Dingwall; the 2009’s winner, David Rodgers from Fort William; first over in 2010, Alasdair Thomas from Midmar and last year’s champ, Rob Brookes from Monymusk.
The age range of participants is from 18 to 78. Forty-two of those taking part have done so 20 or more times. And two competitors — John Talbot from Kyle and David Rose from Inverness — have taken part in every single one since 1983.
The event consists of a 20 mile walk/jog/run from sea level at Morvich, Kintail on the west coast, crossing over the 1,000 foot high pass behind the Five Sisters of Kintail to Glen Affric in the middle of the Highlands.
At Glen Affric, each participant collects their bicycle and rides the 30 miles to Beauly.
The event is well covered by emergency services, mountain rescue teams and volunteers.
Charities benefitting this year include The Archie Foundation; Glenurquhart Care Project; Highland Hospice; MS Therapy Centre Highland and SNAP – Special Needs Action Project in Inverness.
Last year’s event raised over £228,000 — including Gift Aid which equated to an average of over £950 per team.
To find out more, see www.highlandcross.co.uk