Major trials and tribulations for MS Patients: Loch Ness in 24 Hours
Seven strong (motley crew), including Major International’s Sales Rep Alan Colley, attempt to be the first to circumnavigate the famous Loch Ness by kayak in less than 24 hours to fund state-of-the-art equipment for MS patients. Whilst the battle was won in terms of sums, their trip did not go exactly to plan…
On the 2nd July this year a seven-strong team, including Major International’s sales rep Alan Colley, Donnie Maclean & Katie Sillars from Scottish Supplier Eat Balance Ltd, Neil and Kim MacLachlan, Helen and husband John Forteith Bidvest UK, endeavored to take on Nessie herself by being the first (motley) crew to circumnavigate the famous Loch Ness by kayak in less than 24 hours. The challenge was set in order to raise vital funds for state-of-the-art equipment for MS patients at the MS Therapy Centre in Oban. Whilst winning the battle, total sums raised rising to well over the required £6000 mark days before the adventure, the task in question was not as straightforward.
No small feat by any means, the scale of the challenge facing the team was immense. Holding more water than all the lakes in England and Wales combined, at 900m deep and the circumference stretching 23miles long, the race around the iconic Loch was always destined to be a formidable and lengthy one. Estimated to take up to 16hours in total, after their initial practice sessions the team were feeling hopeful. O the day in question however, Mother Nature got the better of them and the team were lucky to have the support of the local coastguard and RNLI on hand.
“Due to rapid changes in weather conditions, when we reached 20miles four of our crew members had to be rescued by the RNLI. Luckily they were wearing the high-vis bibs supplied by Major International” recounted Alan Colley, Sales Representative for Major. “The wind was then so strong that we were down to as low as 1.9miles per hour and the hours of daylight we had left to us were dwindling fast. When we were only a ¼ mile away, another of our teammates had a lucky escape. The 4/5ft high waves were just too much and they had to be rescued from the bitterly cold water. So for reasons of safety we had to call it a day. It only hit home how dangerous it could have been the following morning.”
Whilst the team were disappointed about not seeing the challenge through to the end after getting so very close, they refuse to be beaten.
“We are planning to reattempt the challenge this time in double kayaks which can do up to 7miles per hour, so we stand a better chance,” said Alan Colley.
Even the savers of the day, the Loch Ness RNLI team, expressed their wish for the team, to have another go. “The Loch is a wonderful place and we hope the team will come back and kayak again. They were superbly kitted out and had all the right safety gear. We were only too happy to help out on the day and for such a worthy cause.”
The most important challenge and goal was decidedly met: that all important sum of money. Prior to the event Helen Forteith Director of centre and her husband John, whose own son was diagnosed with the disease at the young age of 16, explained to Major just why it was so important to raise the money. Helen told us how the equipment would be used to “help build arm and leg muscles regardless of how disabled patients had become. “It will also be used by the local general hospital to treat severely, physically affected patients suffering from a variety of different conditions, not just MS,” reiterated her husband John Forteith, who has long been an active fundraiser for the cause. Raising over £6500, with donations still to come in, the team's efforts were definitely worth all of the trials and tribulations.
Best of luck for the second attempt!