Paddling a way to highland fling

The bike, hike and paddle team after training session at Rother Valley Country Park.
The bike, hike and paddle team after training session at Rother Valley Country Park.
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A PLUCKY team of Sheffield lads is hoping to tame the wilds of Scotland by embarking on a mammoth 152-mile trek across the Highlands - in just seven days.

In a little over a fortnight’s time, Ewan Stuchfield, younger brother Simon, Martin Robinson, Dave Reynolds and Daniel Smith are setting out for what they have named the Bike Hike And Paddle 2011 Challenge.

It involves mountain biking from Inverness to Fort William, hiking up Ben Nevis, then returning to Inverness by kayaking all the way along the Great Glen, which runs through the middle of the Highlands.

The route includes Loch Ness and the event is being held to raise funds for Afghan Heroes, a charity dedicated to the welfare of troops and their families.

It’s a cause close to the group’s heart as Simon Stuchfield, 23, is a soldier in the Army Air Corps and has served in Afghanistan.

Organiser Ewan, aged 30, from Gleadless, a security officer, said: “We are setting off on June 15. Training’s going well and we are about ready to go.

“We’ve been working hard, particularly on the kayaking because we couldn’t do much over winter with the freezing weather.

“We’ve been out as much as we can on the water at Rother Valley Country Park and we have also been biking at Ladybower.”

The group has already raised £1,500 - including a £500 donation from Blundells estate agents, where Daniel Smith works, plus £200 from Forgemasters.

They have received messages of support from Prime Minister David Cameron, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, Defence Secretary Liam Fox, plus Sheffield MPs David Blunkett, Meg Munn and Paul Blomfield. They hope to boost their fundraising with an auction featuring items donated by companies including BoxFresh, Lyle and Scott, Stratstone Land Rover and Barbour.

“There are too many items to count,” said Ewan, who last year raised £700 for Afghan Heroes by walking coast to coast across the north of England.

The auction is being held at the Polish Club, on Ecclesall Road, from 7pm on Friday, June 10.

Entry costs £2.50.

n Log on to for information, including a catalogue of auction items for sale.