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Travel award scheme continues to support talented Highland athletes

By Philip Murray

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Snowboarded Emily Rothney, from Carrbridge, is one of the recipients.
Snowboarded Emily Rothney, from Carrbridge, is one of the recipients.

Talented athletes from across the Highlands are receiving support to help them realise their sporting dreams after they became the latest recipients of grants to help with their travel costs.

Ten athletes from Carrbridge to Caithness were the latest recipients of the Highland Athlete Travel Award Scheme (ATAS).

The athletes, who compete at regional, national, and international level, in sports including swimming, mountain biking and surfing will receive funding as well as access to High Life facilities to support them to progress in their sport.

The scheme, set up in 2020, is funded by sportscotland and administered by High Life Highland and is designed to help performance level athletes living within the Highland area who face the considerable barriers of costs for travel to train and compete often outwith the region. Recipients receive £750 and free access to High Life Highland leisure facilities for 12 months. The next round of the funding scheme will be open in August.

Swimmer Matthew McCreadie, from Inverness, is one of the 10 athletes to receive the latest grants.
Swimmer Matthew McCreadie, from Inverness, is one of the 10 athletes to receive the latest grants.

Among those receiving funding in the latest round is Matthew McCreadie, a member of the Inverness Amateur Swimming Club – he has recently competed in Turkey with the Down Syndrome Swimming Great Britain Squad at the 2024 World Championships. He said: “it’s awesome!" with his carers John Carson and Susan McCreadie adding: “We are delighted to receive the news that Matthew is a recipient this year and are very grateful that the Athlete Travel Award Scheme and High Life Highland recognise the potential in all the athletes and are willing to help them on their journey.”

Carrbridge-based snowboarder Emily Rothney has also been successful in her application to the fund. Emily is the youngest member of GB’s Snowsport A team and recently came 2nd in the World Rookie Finals in Switzerland as well as 3rd in the World Junior Championship Big Air. She said: “I am delighted to receive this funding to support me, particularly with the costs associated with having travel to and from Europe for training and competitions. I am really grateful to High Life Highland and sportscotland for their support and it’s amazing to be part of this network of Highland athletes as we all support each other.”

Another recipient is Craig McLachlan from Thurso who is currently Scotland's highest ranked male surfer, he commented: “I was really happy to find out I was selected to be a ATAS athlete once again. Every time I’ve been chosen, I have used the support to help me get to competitions and continue my training.”

Craig McLachlan, from Thurso, is one of the recipients.
Craig McLachlan, from Thurso, is one of the recipients.

Forbes Dunlop, chief executive of sportscotland, said: “Congratulations to all the athletes who have been selected for this latest round of ATAS funding. At sportscotland we recognise the difficulties faced by athletes who live in rural communities, in accessing the best possible training and competition. ATAS is a key programme in helping to support athletes with those specific challenges. We look forward to working with High Life Highland to support more athletes."

High Life Highland’s head of sports development, Darren Reid, said: 'We are committed to making life better for our talented athletes that live in the Highlands. The travel award scheme plays a big part in allowing us to provide some level of help and we are grateful to sportscotland for this support. We are also looking to continue to develop opportunities for athletes to be supported better within the Highlands and are always so grateful for the local parental and club support for these athletes that represent the area so well on a national stage.”

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