Sponsored Walk 2010

Morven Lodge and Glen Gairn ~ Sunday 27th June

Each year we organise a sponsored walk to support aid-projects for Tibetans. The proceeds go to Tibet Foundation, and the Free Tibet Campaign. This year we chose  a route taking us  through Glen Fenzie and Glen Gairn, situated north of Ballater in Deeside.

This was the Group's 17th Annual Sponsored Walk which raises funds for Free Tibet Campaign and the Tibet Foundation.  FTC is supported by a network of groups like our own and has volunteers working in its headquarters. Nevertheless it still needs, like any other political organization, paid staff and premises; it cannot operate without funding. Tibet Foundation helps Tibetans with their welfare and education and sustaining their religious practice, culture and way of life. We are asking the Tibet Foundation this year to use the money we send for the survivors of the earthquake in Yushu in north east Tibet

There were twenty of us on the Walk, starting at the head of Glen Fenzie, crossing the hills to the site of the former Morven lodge and rejoining Glen Fenzie where it meets Glen Gairn. From there the walk lay up Glen Gairn. The Glen had been a Catholic stronghold until the mid nineteenth century. From here men had gathered to fight at Culloden, most never to return. Persecution followed, one priest dying in prison, a Catholic chapel, begun before the ’45, was never finished and, eventually, Catholics were evicted from the Glen. Remnants of this time have been carefully marked by information signs along the way. In some ways the history of the Glen, even though it is on a much smaller scale, reminds us of our own times where, in Tibet, the intolerance of another way of life and religious persuasion has led to destruction, persecution and death.

We were fortunate this year to hold the Walk during a spell of fine weather. The day was mostly warm, with only a little light drizzle just after lunch, followed by sunshine in the afternoon. A total of 20 people took part in the walk, with ages ranging from 8 to 85, plus two dogs, one a puppy of only 4 months. Two participants came from as far away as Plockton (on the West coast) and Glasgow: they had camped overnight near Glensheil Lodge (just a few miles from the start of the Walk) and at the end of the Walk they drove down to Loch Tay to continue their sponsorship for Tibet with a three-day canoe trip down the Tay to Perth.
We all enjoyed the great variety of the Walk: walking tracks over open moorland with views to the hills, and wending our way through birchwood forests; exploring the ruins of old farmhouses & settlements, and learning of the history of Glen Gairn through signboards at ruined chapels; enjoying, with the help of several experts in the group, the variety of wildflowers, and at the start, we even thought we saw an eagle soaring high above us. The peacefulness and beauty of the area was paramount (we never saw another person the whole day) and we imagined what it would have been like to live in the old settlements here several centuries ago.

Update: We have now collected in all of the sponsorship money for our annual Tibet Walk, and are delighted to have raised a total of £960. Very many thanks to all of you who contributed to this – by walking, by getting sponsorship or by donating.

The money raised is, as always, split equally between Free Tibet Campaign and the Tibet Foundation for political campaigning with FTC, and towards a charity project with the Tibet Foundation.

As most of you probably know, last April a severe earthquake devastated Yushu in Eastern Tibet, leaving 2,700 dead and 10,000 homeless. The Tibet Foundation was one of the first Tibetan charities to launch an appeal, and to respond with emergency relief aid. Already the Foundation has spent over £60,000 in emergency aid, but it is now looking to the future, and has set a target of raising £1m for reconstruction work, in particular the rebuilding of the Yushu Tibetan Hospital. Staff at the Tibet Foundation have informed us that the earthquake appeal is currently their greatest priority, so we have decided to send our donation of £430 to this appeal.

More pictures of the walk here

Other Walks: Loch Kinord ~ Forest of Birse ~ Clachnaben ~ Forvie ~ Pressendye ~ Baudy Meg ~ Scolty Hill ~ Pannanich Hill ~ Linn of Dee ~ Glenbuchat

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" We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves." H.H. The Dalai Lama