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On the afternoon of Sunday 8th June 2014, Ken MacKenzie and Richard Gledson will set out to walk around the boundary of Parish of Braemar and Crathie. On the face of it this seems fairly straightforward. However, the boundary of the parish is not only in excess of 100 miles long, but also winds its way over four of the highest hills in Scotland.  Ken and Richard plan to walk the route in 6 days carrying all their equipment. For Ken, as Minister of the Parish, the walk is a long held ambition, and for Richard, who recently took on the Chairmanship of The River Dee Trust, it is a chance to walk round the upper catchment of the river. The route includes 17 Munros  and over the six days the pair will climb in excess of 9,000m - in other words up and down Everest from sea level.


Any funds raised through this challenge will be split evenly between the following organisations:


The River Dee Trust is a local community based charity (No. SC028497), which works for the benefit of the River Dee, its wildlife and the Deeside community. Due to the impacts of climate change, intensive land management, in-river works, abstraction and historic deforestation, the future well-being of the River Dee and its wildlife inhabitants are coming under increasing threat. The Trust carries out environmental restoration work which is guided by local needs and backed up with the best technical information. Our key work areas include restoring degraded river and bank side habitat and mitigating against the impacts of climate change. For example we are planting tens of thousands of native trees over the next three years. We also focus on delivering indoor and outdoor education to all ages in the local area and the school’s programme currently includes over 30 school visits a year, both in the classroom and out on the riverbank.


The TK2 Project, which supports underprivileged children in south west Romania, run by Dr Adrian and Mrs Ritta Popa, is administered by Scottish-based Charity, Blythswood Care, and for the last ten years, it has been largely funded by the Suits On Bikes team of which Ken is a founder member.  In Jimbolia, the TK programmes provide disadvantaged children with two nutritious meals a day; help with homework; music tuition; showering facilities; and training in everything from IT to puppet theatre. Having successfully raised £750K to build a new afterschool facility, (opened in 2012 through the help of the European Regional Development Fund), Suits on Bikes now focuses on providing EUR 50K per annum towards the running costs of the TK2 programme.  TK2 has been designed for children aged 10-15, with the aim of keeping them in the education system long enough to improve their employment opportunities in the future.   While the programme remains openly multi-ethnic, about half of the children come from

Roma backgrounds.  


The Parish of Braemar and Crathie is one of the largest and most mountainous in Scotland, and though in some places, especially in the high corries, it may not be safe to walk exactly on the boundary line, we are committed to staying within striking distance of the boundary at all times.

In terms of logistics, we feel the best way to tackle this challenge will be to start and finish with the two highest hills, therefore we plan to start on the northern boundary and climb Braeriach. At 1296 meters, Braeriach is the third highest hill in Scotland, and should get us off to a good start.

From this lofty spot we will head south passing the wells of Dee, the Angels Peak and Carn Toul. Continuing south past Monadh Mor and skirting around Ben Bhrontian we plan to drop down into the top of the Geldie. From there we will climb back up onto Carn Ealar; and dropping down into Glen Tilt then up again, we will continue eastward to Carn Bhac, from where we turn south over Beinn Iuthan Mhor and eventually, east again towards the Cairnwell.

From the Ski Centre the route will take us up over Glas Moal, then north over Cairn of Claise, Tolmount ,Fafernie, Car t-Sagairt Mhor and onto Lochnagar before heading down into Glen Girnock via Meikle Pap, and so, back to Crathie Manse.  By now beyond halfway, we will be restocking (and hopefully freshening up a bit!) here before heading off once more via the Brown Cow for an overnight stay at Loch Builig.

From there, on what should be our penultimate day, we will head up onto Ben Avon and the north top of Beinn a Bhuird, before dropping down into Larig an Laoigh and on to Loch Etchachan.  If things go according to plan we will spend our last night out here. The next and hopefully last day will see us climbing Ben Macdui.

At 1309m, Ben Macdui is the second highest hill in Scotland and seems a fitting place to complete our challenge. We will of course still have to walk out (via Derry Lodge) to the Linn of Dee Car Park – but this is just a short distance from the watering hole of Braemar.

For a map of the Parish boundary go to:  


If you would like to offer some financial support please speak to Richard or Ken,
or log on to Virgin Money Giving and when you see the ‘Sponsor your Friend’ prompt,
type in ‘Richard Gledson’, and you will be directed to the ‘Richard and Ken’ page