A major event planned by Galloway Mountain Rescue Team was affected by adverse weather conditions at the weekend.
The Merrick Charity Challenge, now an annual event, was scaled down to a low-level 5.5-mile circular walk around Loch Trool after forecasters predicted wind speeds of up to 90mph on the Merrick’s 843m summit.
GMRT leader Mike McCann said: “All our events are risk assessed as public safety is of paramount importance, and clearly the weather forecast for Sunday predicted conditions which were too hazardous to allow a large group of walkers, many inexperienced, to venture into the Galloway Hills.
“A total of 79 walkers enjoyed what turned out to be wet and windy early walk with improving conditions as the day progressed. By lunchtime, the rain had stopped, but the wind was constant throughout the day.
“All things considered, the walkers seemed to agree with our decision and enjoyed the unique blend of team spirit and safety which the team provides, albeit 760m lower in altitude.
“This is the fifth year we have organised a challenge walk. Originally, we tackled Cairnsmore of Fleet, so it was perhaps inevitable that the weather would impact upon us at some time. We will continue to organise similar events in the future as part of our ongoing fundraising efforts.”
David McNicol, team fundraising officer, added: “The exact total of monies raised during the event won’t be confirmed for a few weeks, but we had walkers raising money for the following groups and charities: the MS Society, Carers Trust, Yorkhill Hospital, Galloway Befriending Project, Macmillan Cancer Support, Scottish Liver Transplant Unit, Home Start, Gatehouse First Responders, YMCA Gatehouse of Fleet, Girthorn Church Organ Fund, Cancer Research UK, St Joseph’s School, Stranraer, and, of course, Galloway MRT.
“We benefit from the entry money paid by each of the walkers, and it is especially pleasing that so many have also chosen to raise money for the team. We greatly appreciate the huge support everyone has given to the event, and hope that the monies raised for the charities benefits those most in need.”
For more information about the voluntary activities of GMRT, including details of incidents, training, walk routes and much more, visit www.gallowaymrt.org.uk.