The challenge routes are across the Borders hills. Photo: BSARU

The challenge routes are across the Borders hills. Photo: BSARU

Mountain rescuers are challenging walkers and runners to take to the hills to help them raise much needed cash.

Border Search and Rescue Unit’s annual sponsored walk and challenge run takes place next Sunday in the fells around Morebattle, in the Scottish Borders.

There are three routes on offer next Sunday, from a 4.5km (2.8-mile) family walk to a 34km (21-mile) run.

For walkers, there is a 14km (9-mile) challenge over Morebattle Hill, into the Kale valley and up the bulk of Hownam Law. After this is a ridge walk towards Wideopen Hill, with views to the Merse and the Cheviots.

The longest walking route, and the shorter of the two runs, covers 25km (15 miles).

Following the 14km route as far as Hownam Law, it then turns east into the Bowmont Valley and bags the ridge on the far side linking Percy Law and Wood Hill, which offers views into the Cheviots.

A BSARU spokesperson said: “Its proximity to the larger hills means that this is a seldom visited ridge, and walkers and runners alike will be delighted by its adventurous character.

“Walkers and runners in this year‘s event will follow well marked routes marshalled by team members and supporters.

“Refreshments will be provided on the hill and at the finish and in addition to a healthy glow and a sense of satisfaction, participants will take home a certificate marking their achievement.

“We are hoping once again to have a professional photographer stationed on a remote hilltop to catch your rosy glow for posterity.

“The sponsored walk is the team’s big fund-raising push each year. We have annual operating costs of around £25,000, including equipment and vehicle replacement.

“These costs are met by continual fundraising activities, which are supplemented by a small annual government grant.

“Since last year’s walk we have twice been called out for emergencies high in the Cheviots, once in January to rescue three runners caught in blizzard conditions at the Lamb Hill refuge hut, and again in May as night was falling to search for and bring to safety a 62-year-old man who suffered a stroke on the Border Ridge, and his wife who became lost when she left him to seek help.

“In addition to these high-profile lifesaving operations, we are called out by the police to search for vulnerable children, adults and elderly folk who have gone missing for whatever reason.

“Our continual medical and technical training and our specialist equipment enable us to jump into the fray when required, including repeatedly during the two extraordinary winters of 2009 and 2010, when our unparalleled off-road and severe-weather capabilities proved invaluable in transporting urgent hospital cases and essential medical supplies over roads impassable to ordinary vehicles.”

More details and an application form are on the Border Search and Rescue website.

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