Support my March in March
This year I will be taking on March in March to raise vital funds for life-changing mental health treatment for veterans.
Combat Stress is the UK's leading charity for veterans' mental health. For over a century, they've helped former servicemen and women deal with issues like trauma, anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Today, they provide support to veterans from every service and every conflict.
I’m taking on March in March to help take vital steps towards ensuring veterans can get the support they need.
Thank you so much for your support.
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Created a Team
Smashed my 10 miles
Reached Fundraising Goal
Post match reportSunday 21st Mar
And so, esteemed reader, the deed is done, the walk, with fun and satisfaction, good companionship and a wide ranging chat is complete. On an inspiringly sunny, fresh, highland morning we set off at 0950 hrs from Strath Braan.
Quite newly returned, always evocative curlew nearby the marsh through which our track went and scolding grouse further away amongst the rough heather were calling as we walked south east and then more southward, gradually climbing. A single male blackcock did get up from near the marsh as well, but made no sound other than the whirring of its wings.
All around there was Spring just coming on, very understandably given the week of warm sunshine, at full tilt; frogs and ill-placed clumps of spawn were in track puddles or drying up burns, the grouse were pairing off with noisy, red combed cocks loudly telling one to ‘Ge’ back, ge’ back, ge’ back’. High above us, in the blue sky was the odd lark. Crossing a bridge, a dipper urgently sped off down stream at our arrival.
Higher up and amongst the remaining, almost incongruous patches of snow were a few ravens flying about, noisily and harshly telling us of their presence. Something had obviously died in one such patch for a red kite, another carrion eater, having circled silently above it, then landing briefly, while on its hill crest patrol. The grassy areas are, as any upland land, not yet sprouting and the heather appears sorely dead with only small areas - to an inexperienced eye, showing signs of having avoided death by the heather beetle.
Our tracks were well maintained estate roads for the most part. Here and there en route a buzzard came and went, but not near us. The burns we crossed were those proverbially crystal clear, small ones, flowing or seeping - the rain having drained long since from two weeks ago, over slate or rocky beds in this part of the hills. Once over the watershed we could see, under a clear blue sky but for two jet vapour trails heading north, the Angus hills to our east, Perth in a haze, the Ochils and Strathearn to our south and, had we been looking back northwards, we’d have seen the hills of Glen Lyon and around Loch Tay and Aberfeldy.
Where we stopped for lunch a very much at ease, very obvious mountain hare in its winter garb was hull-down and at peace in the sunshine in the darker heather facing us. It knew full well that it could make good its escape well before we could have crossed the intervening gully and 150 yards. The dogs, disinterested in their surroundings, wanted to exchange loyalty for titbits of sandwich, or even of celery, but got none of it. Accepting defeat, they lay down and snoozed on the absorbed warmth from the track. The beer went down deliciously to reinvigorate and, in one case, the home-made cake was as good as the trial slice eaten yesterday.
Lunch over, it was on past a slate quarry, down a very wet hillside, over a food and onto the track leading back to the pick up point. No new birds were seen, the odd grouse were heard and we headed back up to the watershed and the 180º view to the north, all in sunshine. Stopping for a cup of coffee we identified the brewery in Strathbraan and a few of the hills far beyond the Griffen wind farm which is vast, but which, apart from in a few places, cannot be seen from the A822, down in the valley, to Dunkeld. No deer at all were seen and very few other hares - apart from a couple of mad ones chasing each other madly - what else, down in a rough pasture flanking the Braan.
And so, to completion. We both send our thanks for the encouragement to us from those who sponsored us and, far more significantly, a huge thanks on behalf of the unknown beneficiaries for your response for the support that will come from your collective financial contributions. Their cause is why we did it and why you generously responded, thank you. Yours aye, Tim CarmichaelShare
Not quite St Crispin's DaySaturday 20th Mar But on the eve of setting off, France and Wales have just had an extraordinary match won by France at the last moment, Roddy and I are extremely grateful on behalf of all those for whom the money is being raised to everyone who has so generously contributed to support our walk tomorrow. We are forecast a cloudy start and the full sunshine and will be back in touch tomorrow. Vive [making] la différence! Share
The hare and the tortoiseTuesday 9th Mar
He that used to be called ‘The Body’ due to his probably legendary cross country running ability suggested that we needed to stir the cobwebs and contribute to the greater good via this challenge that resonates so well with us both. In consequence, the hare and the tortoise have chosen a route through a lovely part of Perthshire for our March in March.
We’re starting from the area of Amulree where General Wade’s road has emerged from the Sma Glen, in the beautiful strath down which the River Braan flows into the Tay. We head south, towards the once relatively densely populated country-pub area of Harrietfield and Chapelhill, but they have both closed long since. Instead, before we reach quite as far as that, we turn north east and climb rather more to the very unimaginatively named Middle Hill and thence via Findowie Hill and the Dullator Burn eventually back down to the Braan. We’ll be accompanied by two extremely well behaved dogs, one black and one pale cream (the latter looking suspiciously similar to the lab on a lead in one of the Combat Stress photos of other fundraisers, although I’m not sure we’ll be wearing those remarkable, purple tee shirts).
Seriously, I’ve known people who through their post military career have served to raise support and awareness for Combat Stress. Equally, all of us who were in the military, who are currently serving or who are connected by family or friends to the military know of fellow, named people or of people we have heard about who need support to get out of a bad place they’ve fallen into due to having served their country, out of that place and be enabled to get back to being self-confident and contributing people in their own right. So it’s for these people, not them, and for the caring professionals who contribute to this diverse, very specialised rehabilitation that Roddy and I are making our very small awareness-raising walk.Share
Thank you to my Sponsors
Claire, Sam And Maisie
Jean And Stephen Croft