Tag Archives: charity

Abseiling Success

I did it!

When I signed up for the Forth Rail Bridge abseil I had not realised just how high 165 feet actually is so the nerves kicked in a bit when I looked up at the bridge from the ground.

I got kitted out and made the long climb to the starting point. Then came the scary part, standing on a little ledge leaning into thin air hanging on grimly to a railing and being told to let go and work the ropes. Having managed that I started my descent and despite getting a bit of a buffeting, as it was very windy, it became an amazing experience.

Radio Lollipop were doing commentary so Tiree got a mention! The commentator also shouted for me to give a wave which I did though a bit tentatively.

elspeth_abseil2 Safely back on the ground I realised how lucky I was to have seen the fantastic views – and to have heard a train rumble closely overhead!

The whole day was extremely well organised by The South Queensferry Rotary Club and Glasgow Climbing Centre. I would like to thank the many people who have supported me so generously enabling me to raise £550 for St Columba’s Hospice in memory of my friend Marjory Walker. The total far exceeded my expectations so many many thanks again.

I must also thank the 9 friends and family who came to watch me and shout encouragement even though they reckoned I was totally mad!!

Elspeth Gillies

Charity single version of “On the Road” released on 2nd May!

Skerryvore logo

Skerryvore are to release a brand new charity single version of their song ‘On The Road’ to support ‘Stephen’s Footstep Challenge’ with profits going to ‘Macmillan Cancer Support’ and ‘The Maggie Centre’.

Please help us in supporting this great cause by downloading this special edition single, which will be available from iTunes on the 2nd May.

About the cause….Ross-shire man Stephen Mackay from Ardross will be walking the West Highland way and the Great Glen for charity. Why? – Because his wife Pat was diagnosed in September 2009 with an inoperable brain tumour. Stephen will begin his 185 mile walk on the 30th April from Glasgow, dressed in his kilt as he marches home, arriving at ‘The Maggie Centre’ in Raigmore, Inverness on the 9th May.

Not only does Stephen hope to raise the awareness of cancer and its issues, but also lots of money to support the amazing work of ‘Macmillan Cancer Support’ and ‘The Maggie Centre’. This is where you come in! Skerryvore will not only be ‘talking the talk’ but also ‘walking the walk’ as they join Stephen ‘On The Road’ with a few impromptu performances along the way. So please help us by downloading the single, spreading the word to your friends and family, and joining us in a bid to help make the lives of those facing such hard times that little bit easier.

Thank you,

Eve Appeal Finale

On Thursday 13th January we had our final fund raising event where we got together with friends and shared our China experience.

On the night we held a raffle, which raised an incredible £653.50!

We would like to thank everyone who either donated raffle prizes, baked for our teas or bought raffle tickets. In the last year we have been totally amazed by the generosity and goodwill of all our friends and family.

Our Grand Total is £10,760.00 and I’m sure you will agree that this is an astounding figure, which has gone to such a worthy cause.

Thanks for your continued support throughout our adventure.

Fiona and Kirsteen

Tiree Treckers Return From China

Congratulations to Fiona and Kirsteen on completing their trek along part of the Great Wall Of China as part of their recent endeavours to raise funds for The eve appeal. Not only did they manage the walk, but as promised, they kept a diary of how things went, extracts of which we have included in this edition.

Great wall of China

Saturday 16th October – Heathrow

It has finally arrived and we are winging our way to China and the Great Wall. A bit nervous and unsure of what awaits us, but sure we will cope with all the excitements that lie ahead. It’s only 10 days since Kirsteen sprained her ankle, so she is particularly nervous about how it will hold up.

Sunday 17th October – Beijing

1.40pm and we’ve landed!! Met at the airport by “Martin” and “Jason” our Chinese guides for the week. They are both very friendly and I am sure they will look after us well. There are 20 other people on the challenge and they seem like a nice crowd. Tonight we are staying in Shinshanling. We arrived here after a long bus drive through really slow traffic.

Dinner was pleasant and was a great opportunity to learn a bit about everyone. Bedtime was traumatic though, as the room had plenty of bugs.

Monday 18th October – Shinshanling

Up at 6.45am, showered and went for our first Chinese breakfast. Cabbage, egg fried rice, jam and bread. That was different! Then we headed for the “WALL” and as we saw it for the first time there were lots of gasps from the group. It was then we realised just how steep this climb would be.

We were right it was quite a climb, some bits steeper than others though. A lot of steps, some reconstructed others very broken. We passed through six watchtowers on our way to the top. What an amazing sight!!

On our descent the rain and sleet came on very heavy and we got wet. It wasn’t the weather we expected, but we certainly felt at home. We were taken to a farmhouse where the family gave us our lunch. Charity Challenge try to use rural facilities where possible, so the locals get the benefits of the tourism the wall brings. As a result some facilities were very basic. For example the visit to the toilets was an experience and a half. Two holes in the ground, so if you feel inclined you can hold hands (we didn’t)!

Tuesday 19th October – Black Dragon’s Pool

It was so cold in the lodge last night that Kirsteen and I went inside our mummy bags into one single bed to keep warm. Amazingly we slept fairly well and were up at 6:30am Had a very cold shower but a fairly pleasant breakfast, a fried egg sandwich with FRUIT bread.

We walked in the Black Dragon Pool area today, through a wooded gorge. It was very rocky with lots of small streams with stepping stones across them. Some areas were very slippy. We passed a place called Dragon’s Rock. Legend has it that in a bad storm the rock blocked the path of the dragon and he was so angry he split it in two with his paw. It was so precise it looked like someone had cut it with a knife.

The views here were spectacular as we followed a meandering path up a narrow gully by the side of a stream. The day ended when we arrived at the heavenly gateway, a huge natural arch in the cliffs above. After a long day walking, we are impressed by this evening’s accommodation. Looks like a bug free zone. Spent the evening ten pin bowling with some of the group. Everyone enjoyed themselves and had a good laugh.

Wednesday 20th October – Gubeiko Gateway

Didn’t sleep well last night even though it was very comfortable as I was bit concerned about today’s walk. Lorraine, one of our guides, told us there would be a lot of narrow paths with sheer drops on both sides. I was tempted to stay on the bus with my book, but Kirsteen persuaded me I should go, thankfully. We had an absolutely fantastic day!

This was the Wall we had expected. It was untouched (unlike some of the renovated tourist areas) with the wall crumbling and flora growing through it and the towers in the distance as far as the eye could see. Spectacular! Some of the paths were a bit narrow but nothing that we felt concerned about. We were in the Gubeikou Gateway, northeast of Beijing. This was the passageway between northeast of China and the Mongolian Highlands.

great wall

We trekked for the whole day, stopping halfway to eat our packed lunch. Afterwards we descended through farmland where they seemed to be growing mostly corn and some cabbages. A local farmer stopped us to sell his wares. Seemingly this is how they supplement their farming income, which is just enough to feed their family. Arrived at our next accommodation in the Jinshanling area, where we will be walking tomorrow. The accommodation is a shock to the system after last nights luxury, however compared to the local living standards it is almost certainly palatial.

Thursday 21st October – JinshanglingM

Breakfast at 7.30am and then straight to the wall. We were able to walk from the lodge, which was a pleasant change from the bus. Today’s walk was certainly tough, very steep with a lot of broken steps and rough terrain. We walked between 10 towers with 100s of steps between each one over the course of the day. We were met in the morning by the “Hello People” as the guides affectionately named them. They are local farmers, who follow you all day long and at the end of the day try to convince you to buy something from them. They were genuinely friendly people and it was lovely to talk to locals. We had fun trying to speak a few words of Mandarin with them. They were like mountain goats running up and down after us all and were eager to help us at the steeper bits. Even Mike, the fell runner of the group couldn’t out pace them!

Drove 3 hours to our next lodge, The Fairyland Hotel. The rooms were desperately in need of a cleaning fairy or two. Thank goodness for the mummy bags. They are probably the most important part of our kit. Had noodles for dinner tonight which made a change from rice. Finished the last of our duty free while blethering with the group. Early rise again tomorrow.

Friday 22nd October – Mutianyu

Breakfast at Fairyland this morning with Christmas decorations all around. Very odd! Left at 8.30am and headed for our final walk on the Wall, with the finale being “The Heavenly Stairway”. It was tough but it felt great to climb that final step and hear everyone cheering. We all received a medal at the top and took lots of photos. Amazing!!

We had a very long journey on the bus as it was chaos on the road, so we were late getting back to our hotel. It was worth waiting for and badly needed after all the climbing we have been doing over the last 5 days. Went for an hour long foot massage at 10pm. It was bliss!! Then back to the hotel, a lovely hot shower, coffee and a big comfy bed. It’s been a long day, but wouldn’t have missed it for the world and would encourage anyone to go for it. 12.30am, time for lights out.

Saturday 23rd October – Beijing

6.30am alarm call today. Went first to Tiananmen Square which was vast and grey, with enormous big screens spewing out adverts and edged with beautiful gardens. In Chinese culture it is perfectly normal to push and shove, a bit like Londoners on the underground. So it was hectic. Plus the Chinese tourists were fascinated by the Western tourists. They affectionately call us “big noses” and stopped to stare.

From there we went to the Forbidden City, which is the Chinese Imperial Palace. Historically, ordinary people were not allowed to enter. It consisted of many courtyards eventually leading to the emperor’s quarters, which were quite grand. After lunch we went to a tea tasting ceremony, where we got to try lots of different teas. In the evening we went to the night market where they sell all sorts of local delicacies. Everything from fried scorpions to snakes. Then off to a Peking Duck restaurant for our final meal with all the group. Quite emotional as we had all been on an amazing journey together and encouraged each other when the going got tough.

Sunday 24th October – Xian

Down in lobby for 6.00am to go to the Airport for our flight to Xian. There are 8 of us doing the extension trip. Arrived in Xian where we were met by Cynthia our new guide. She took us direct to Yanling Tomb of the Han Dynasty. It dates back 2000 years and is still an ongoing archaeological project.

In the evening we went to a Tang Dynasty Cultural Show. It was very colourful with a lot of singing and dancing by performers in their traditional costumes.

Monday 25th October – Xian

Must have brought one of our crawlie friends with us in our luggage, he was waiting to greet us in the morning. Left the hotel at 8.30am and headed for the Xian Great Mosque. Looked like it had once been very beautiful, but was now in need of some repair.

After lunch we went to the Terracotta Army Exhibition. In 1974 a farmer discovered 6000 life sized terracotta soldiers and horses which were created over 2200 years ago to guard the tomb of the first emperor in China’s history Qin Shihuang. It was truly amazing, every face had different characteristics and expressions. Pretty hard to convey just how spectacular it was. We even met the farmer! As we headed back to the bus we noticed there were cat and dog skins hanging up on stalls being sold as carpets, scarfs and hats. We had a quiet word with a local stray dog who moved on quick smart.

Onwards to the airport and our flight back to Beijing. Arrived at the hotel around midnight. Absolutely shattered!!

Tuesday 26th October – Beijing

Jason picked us up at 9.00am to take us to the airport. Said our farewells once he got us all checked in. It was quite sad and a bit final. After a long monotonous journey we landed in Heathrow at 7pm.

Wednesday 27th October – London

Back in London. Body and mind in total confusion with the jet lag. Worth every minute though, as it was the trip of a lifetime. A very memorable experience both on and off the wall. Kirsteen and I will talk about it for many years to come.

Raven Charity

women's group

Members of the Tiree Workshop were given an interesting insight into the work of an Argyll-based charity by the co-founder when he visited the island recently.

Mr John Challis told the workshop group, which meets in the business centre each Friday, how eight containers of medical equipment, agricultural and other humanitarian aid are shipped to Malawi each year.

Accompanied by his wife Sue, Mr Challis thanked the workshop members for their support over the last few years. Mrs Challis, who helped set up the charity with her husband when they owned the post office at Struchur, Argyll, said that financial help from the Tiree group was appreciated. But, she said, the 10-inch high teddy bears knitted by the group were a “big hit” with the orphans in Malawi.“These children have nothing and the look on their faces when they are given one of the teddy bears is a delight to see.”

Fiona Maxwell thanked the couple, who run the Raven Charity from Struchur, on behalf of the group.

Tiree’s Sport Relief “S”milers!

On Sunday 21st March, along with thousands across the country, well over 100 Tirisdich turned out to support Tiree’s first ever Sport Relief Mile.

Many came along in fancy dress, entering into the spirit of fun for a worthy cause. Adults, children, firemen and even tots in buggies made their way ‘round the block’, from the school via the mill and back again. Some enthusiasts even went round 2 or 3 times!

A raffle of donated prizes was held in the school gym where the Youth Club also sold cakes and juice with all of the resulting money raised going towards the grand total. On the day the total was just under £1,000 but it now currently stands at £1, 094 which for a small island like this shows how generous and selfless people are when charity calls.

Well done to everyone who took part, donated prizes and money, those who helped beforehand and on the day, to Miss McArthur for the use of the school and to Lynsey who organised it with the help of Sport Relief and Will.

(I would simply like to thank everyone for coming along on the 21st and raising an awesome amount of money for a truly worthy cause. Also can I give a special thank you to all those who came along to
help. Many hands make light work and I hope you all had as much fun as I did. Lynsey)

Shoe Boxes For Christmas

More than a dozen members of Tiree Parish Church guild spent several hours filling shoe boxes with presents and wrapping them with Christmas paper before sending them off to children and poor adults in Eastern Europe.

The women worked tirelessly in the Resource Centre and filled an estimated 70 boxes for the recipients with items such as toys, toothpaste, warm gloves and hats, drawing pencils and pads, soap and sweets. The boxes were stacked for collection by Mark Armstrong who took them in the Wilson Carrier’s van to Oban where they were destined for the Blythswood shop before being sent off to Eastern Europe.

Two larger boxes also contained clothes sent in from the thrift shop at Barra. Catriona Rowan, who organised “operation boxes,” said:
“I would like to thank all the women who helped fill the boxes, and people who donated items. Also, Wilson Carrier’s who sent over empty boxes from Stead and Simpson shoe shop in Oban. “I am told that anyone who has seen the film of the children opening their boxes never forgets seeing their faces lighting up with joy. These children have nothing and are more than thrilled to get a present, expecially at Christmas time. “Some of the clothes are earmarked for an orphanage which I am hoping our guild will sponsor.”

Team Tiree’s successful Breast Cancer Moonwalk

moon_walkWell deserved Congratulations to the Tiree ladies and all participants who have to train rigorously to take part in what can be a gruelling event.
We did it! After 26.2 miles and seven hours of walking, TEAM TIREE crossed the finish line at 6.58am.
Fiona, Myra, Jackie and Caroline would like to thank everyone who kindly sponsored them and to those who telephoned and sent texts before and during the night, your encouraging words were great to hear.
Walking with 10,000 women, and a few men, fine weather, lots of laughter and friendship around, even a mobile disco unit at one point, made Saturday night truly one to remember.
We walked thinking of others and to raise money to go towards the new Maggie’s Cancer Centre in Glasgow, 20 NHS scalp coolers to reduce hair loss during chemotherapy treatment and £1.5 million to the Edinburgh Breast Unit.