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Braemar Castle creates new challenge for historic hill race

Runners taking part in Creag Choinnich Race. Supplied by Braemar Castle Date; Unknown
Runners taking part in Creag Choinnich Race. Supplied by Braemar Castle Date; Unknown

Runners are being challenged to tackle Scotland’s oldest hill race in a new way this year to raise money towards preserving a Deeside castle.

Creag Choinnich Race was first held in 1064, and has become an annual tradition, taking place on the longest day of the year.

But with uncertainty around whether the race will be able to go ahead this year due to Covid, the fundraising team at Braemar Castle have come up with a fresh challenge.

Participants are being asked to run up Creag Choinnich 10 times throughout June, or if they’re unable to tackle the hill, run, walk or cycle the equivalent distance of 4K 10 times.

Runners taking part in Creag Choinnich Race. Supplied by Braemar Castle.

Sponsorship from the event will go towards the castle’s Raising the Standard campaign, which aims to raise £1.5million to reharl and refresh the attraction, and develop modern learning tools to attract new visitors of all ages.

Braemar Castle’s fundraising committee will wave the first runners off from the castle at 7pm on June 1.

Fundraisers have ‘mountain to climb’ to reach target

Fundraising officer Catriona Skene said: “Tradition has it that it was an early Scottish king, Malcolm Canmore, who first set up the Creag Choinnich contest in 1064 to find the fastest man to deliver his despatches.

“The challenge for the Braemar community, who operate the castle as a visitor attraction, may be a different, but we do also have a bit of a mountain to climb because of Covid to raise the necessary funding for the castle restoration.”

Like many charitable organisations, the group has been badly hit by the pandemic as it relies on income from events such as Run Balmoral which has been cancelled for the second year in a row.

Ms Skene added: “We wanted to put together a challenge for the runners who were gearing up for the race, and also to involve any walkers and cyclists who’d like to join in.  But we also wanted to make it relevant to the castle’s history.  We’re looking forward to welcoming as many people as possible to get involved in the challenge and to help us exceed our target of £1,000. ”

The participant who wins the greatest amount will win a meal for two at the five-star Fife Arms in Braemar.

A JustGiving page has been set up for the Creag Choinnich Challenge at www.justgiving.com/campaign/CreagChoinnich.

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