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Friday, April 19, 2024

Celebrating Sixty With More Than a Century of Summits

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Katy Boocock has completed her awesome attempt on the Archies 

Turning 60 is a major milestone and one that is often marked with a meal out or a weekend away with friends, but Katy Boocock is not your average 60-year-old. 

Instead, to celebrate entering her seventh decade, she set herself a challenge and between June 1 and July 8, Katy climbed all 130 ‘Archies’ in Scotland to raise funds for The Archie Foundation.  

Not only that, she also walked, ran, cycled and canoed between them – equivalent to travelling all the way from Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital to Barcelona and climbing the height of Mount Everest, not once but 10 times! 

The term ‘Archies’ is a metric take on Munros, which are traditionally measured in feet.

The Archies are over 1000m in height and have a drop of 100m on all sides. 

Katy’s challenge began on Ben Ime, near Loch Lomond on June 1.

More than 2 million steps and 85,000m of climbing later, she finished her awesome attempt on the Archies on Ben Wyvis on July 8.  

Katy, who turned 60 on July 4, retired from working as a paediatric physiotherapist in 2022. 

Working for the NHS in the North of Scotland for more than 25 years she has seen firsthand the incredible work done by The Archie Foundation. 

“It was an easy decision to raise funds for The Archie Foundation.

“I was based in Raigmore Hospital, Inverness, for much of my career.

“Over the years I’ve frequently seen the wide array of support they provide,” said Katy, who lives in Inverness with her husband Peter.  

“This ranges from monetary support to help families deal with the financial pressures that having a sick child can bring to emotional support to help families cope with the worst of times. 

“Quite simply, The Archie Foundation provides vital support and services to children and families in need. 

“I’m fit and healthy and love spending time outdoors. 

“As an extremely active person this challenge isn’t as extreme as people might think.

“In 2015, I was part of a team, led by Dr Paul Fettes, which completed the Archies Mountain Challenge – a relay which covered all of the Archies, and the terrain in between them, in two weeks.  

“I really enjoyed that experience, so when I was deciding what to do to mark my 60th birthday completing the challenge solo seemed like a natural progression.

“I was extremely lucky to have great support along the way, I certainly couldn’t have done it without the support of family and friends.”  

Katy’s support team would drive miles to make sure the right kit was in the right place.

This included camping kit as well as her kayak and bike. 

“From transporting kit in awful weather to supplying delicious cakes, sandwiches and meals, and providing encouragement and making me laugh, my lovely friends and amazing husband have been superstars.  

“It’s been a privilege to see so much of Scotland and to get to do it under my own steam.

“I particularly loved the paddle from Kinloch Hourn to Knoydart, as well as camping high in the Cairngorms and Glen Strathfarrar.  

“Of course there were tough times, like epic wind and hail on the Glen Affric hills, rainy days which had me soaked to the skin, but I wouldn’t change it, not one bit.” 

As to what Katy will do next, she does have some thoughts. 

“I have been thinking about what my next challenge might be.  

“I like the idea of doing a team relay challenge. 

“I’d like to do something that takes in the 10 highest lochs in the Highlands.

“Perhaps swimming them and then self propelling between them, so a mix of cycling, running and walking to get from one loch to the next.” 

Paula Cormack, chief executive of the Archie Foundation, said:

“Many people are aware of The Archie Foundation because of the large scale, capital fundraising appeals that we do – we are currently raising money for a £2million campaign in support of the Baird Family Hospital.  

“These appeals are extremely important and will make a substantial difference to children and families throughout North Scotland. 

“However, the day-to-day support that we can provide to children and their families because of more general fundraising should not be underestimated.  

“There is huge benefit in being able to help children and their families by providing much needed emotional or financial support during anxious times, as well as bereavement support when it is sadly needed. 

“People like Katy have an impact which is much bigger than you can imagine.  

“The funds she has raised will be used to support local sick children and their families when and where they need it most.

“This could be funding travel to and from hospital for families who, thanks to the cost of living crisis, are having to make the stark choice between putting fuel in the car to take their child to an appointment or putting food on the table. 

“We also need to ensure families know where to turn when they need support. 

“As well as providing much needed funds, Katy’s challenge will also have raised awareness of The Archie Foundation and the support and services we provide to children and their families in North Scotland.   

“Katy’s efforts could mean that someone who needs support from The Archie Foundation now knows about us and the work we do.” 

Katy’s JustGiving total is currently sitting at £1,736. Her page can be found here:  https://rb.gy/ulka0 

Visit www.archie.org/getsupport/ for more information about the support available from The Archie Foundation. 

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