A PAGEANT winner is set to swap the catwalk for a 3,000ft hike up one of Scotland’s most difficult peaks as part of a new fundraising effort.
Rachel Flynn is hoping to hit the heights in the final week of her reign as Miss Edinburgh by taking on a climbing challenge with a difference – to raise money for a charity helping to fund research into kidney disease.
Edinburgh Napier University graduate Rachel, 21, will scale Ben Lomond later this month for Kidney Research UK. But she’ll be adding an extra level of difficulty to the challenge as she attempts to reach the summit in a pair of high heels.
Situated on the eastern shore of Loch Lomond, the peak is the most southerly Munro in the country and stands at 3,193 ft (974m).
Rachel currently doesn’t plan on entering another pageant anytime soon but will continue to support Kidney Research UK.
However, having previously trekked in India and Nepal, and frequently hiking with her friends on the weekends, she is confident this is one challenge she can conquer.
She said: “Since winning Miss Edinburgh in November 2017, I’ve accomplished nearly everything I wanted to: I supported Kidney Research UK, completed a traineeship while finishing my degree, graduated from university and kickstarted my career in one of Scotland’s leading creative agencies – it’s fair to say it’s been a crazy but amazing year.”
Rachel continued: “Since winning the contest, I’ve been exposed to the most incredible opportunities: from hosting Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Ball to having a seat on the judging panel for other ‘Miss’ contests.”
The challenge has already been well supported, with Rachel raising more than 30 per cent of her £500 target in the first few days of the fundraising drive.
She added: “Throughout it all I’ve worked with Kidney Research UK. I pledged my support to the charity at the very beginning of my reign, so it seems apt to bring it to an end by doing a challenge for them.”
Rachel beat competition from 14 other finalists to win the competition in November last year, coming out on top in four categories judged by a panel of experts.
She retains the title of Miss Edinburgh for 12 months, before the winner of the 2018-19 competition takes over later this year.
Kidney Research UK estimates that more than 5,000 people are waiting for a kidney, yet figures show only around 3,000 transplants are carried out across the country every year.
The charity added that as many as 60,000 people die prematurely each year because of chronic kidney disease.
A spokeswoman from Kidney Research UK said: “We appreciate having Rachel’s support for the past year and can only wish her the best of luck in tackling her high-heeled hike”.