Firefighters blaze a trail across nation to raise cash

Lee Peyton and Garry MacKay
Lee Peyton and Garry MacKay
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A PAIR of Lothian firefighters are preparing to cycle, climb and kayak their way across Scotland, all in the name of charity.

Lee Peyton and Garry MacKay will take part in the gruelling 427-mile challenge that will take them from Gallie Craig to John O’Groats in a bid to raise £80,000 for the Yorkhill Children’s Foundation.

The Lothian firefighters have been taking part in charity challenges since 2003. In 2010, Mr Peyton and Mr MacKay took part in the Yukon Arctic Ultra expedition, a 300-mile sledge-pulling challenge described as the world’s coldest and toughest endurance event.

Their latest effort, dubbed Epic 2012, will see them joined by Glasgow-based Greg McEwan.

The challenge has even attracted the support of Scotland manager Craig Levein and TV host Michelle McManus.

Mr Peyton, of Penicuik, said: “We got started in about 2003 with the Glasgow 10k and we’ve done the Three Peaks Challenge three times.

“Garry has done an awful lot over ten years for the charity.

“We had a bit of a brainstorming session and Greg came to him and said he would like to do something big and we ended up here.”

The group will run the West Highland Way, climb Ben Nevis, kayak up the Great Glen and cycle from Inverness to John O’Groats.

Mr Peyton said: “Training hasn’t started just yet but I’m off to Minnesota in a week for the 135-mile Arrowhead race.

“I used to play rugby but I was terrible. I’m really good at running slowly for hours and being able to put up with it.

“I’m really excited. Providing we get the weather, it should be great.”

Money raised will help fund two sets of Jet-X Fixators, which help repair broken bones.

Mr Levein said: “On behalf of the squad and the Scottish FA, I would like to wish the boys the best of luck for what will be a challenging but invigorating experience for a very worthwhile cause.”

Ms McManus added: “What the guys are doing is phenomenal. This will be life-changing for a lot of children.”

Mr McEwan said: “It means a lot for the celebrities to publicly get behind us. It gives us a bit of stature and hopefully help us get some sponsors.

“I lost a couple of my cousins who were really young. We all decided we should do something for a children’s charity.”

David Welch, head of fundraising at Yorkhill, said: “We are extremely grateful to Greg, Garry and Lee for taking on such a massive challenge.”