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Charity runners passing Balmoral at 2am warn royal officials to prevent security scare

PE teacher Scott Birse along with a few friends are running 82 miles from the Cairngorms to Aberdeen. Pictured are Scott, Peter Torrance, Barry Chalmers and Daniel Christie. Picture by Kenny Elrick

A PE teacher had to warn royal officials about plans to run past Balmoral in the middle of the night – in case the fundraiser sparks a security scare.

Fitness guru Scott Birse has been hailed as Banchory’s answer to Joe Wicks due to his free online training sessions during lockdown.

Tomorrow night he and three pals will test their mettle like never before when they begin a staggering 82-mile challenge.

The group will run from the source of the River Dee at Braeriach to where it eventually goes out to sea in Aberdeen – all within less than a day.

Under their itinerary, they plan to pass the gates of Balmoral at about 2am on Saturday morning.

Wary of sparking fears of a Michael Fagan-like intrusion into the Queen’s summer residence, Scott had to alert castle officials to his plans.

Balmoral Castle security might have been alarmed by the overnight visitors

‘We don’t want to get shot’

He said: “We have got a few checkpoints where we will stop for a rest, with one of those at the gates of Balmoral.

“We had to inform Balmoral we are coming through, passing on the details of when we would be in the area.

“It might look a bit strange having four guys running up to the gates at 2am… ”

Laughing, Scott added: “We don’t want to get shot, so we had to let Balmoral know about it.”

Peter Torrance, Scott Birse, Barry Chalmers, Daniel Christie. Picture by Kenny Elrick

‘We are going into the unknown…’

The run will begin at at 8pm on Friday, with Scott, Peter Torrance, Barry Chalmers and Daniel Christie planning to jog their way to Fittie by Saturday afternoon.

The fundraisers estimate it will encompass an overall 82 miles, but Scott says they can’t be sure of the exact distance involved yet.

He said: “We are pretty much going into the unknown with this one to be honest.

“We don’t know the exact route we will have to take to start with as we come out of the Cairngorms.

“Going by all the maps and GPS it seems like it will be an overall 82 miles, but it might be more than that with detours or whatever.

“We will have to think about our pace, we want to keep it steady so we don’t get tired out. We don’t want to fail.”

Our map shows the massive challenge the group are taking on –

Banchory Tesco recently donated the lads mounds of food to keep them going on the run, with everything from gallons of water to packets of Jelly Babies in the bundle.

That’s just one example of the local support they have had, and many locals are expected to join them as they pass through the town on Saturday morning.

Those unable to run or pedal alongside as they depart will offer some morale-boosting words of encouragement as they rest their aching legs.

Scott taking part in a half marathon at Mineralwell Park, Stonehaven, in 2017. Picture by Jim Irvine

One thing Scott is glad of is that he didn’t plan the fundraiser for last weekend – when soaring temperatures left many folk scuttling into the shade.

He said: “If we did it last weekend, I don’t think we would have achieved it.

“Thankfully this weekend it looks like it will be overcast but pleasant, which is fine for us.”

Thousands raised already

Scott initially planned the run to raise cash to go towards new sports facilities in Banchory.

But the father-of-two was moved by children’s charity Charlie House’s appeal for funds to create a new specialist centre in Aberdeen, and decided to split the donations between the two causes.

He said: “It was while planning this that I got speaking to Donna Deans, the fundraising manager for Charlie House.

“I have two kids myself and hearing about what Charlie House does to help families pulled on my heartstrings a wee bit.

“I know how much work they do in the community and it’s a fantastic charity.”

Scott’s tally has recently surpassed £10,000 but he is still keen to amass some more for the good causes.

People can find out more on the Source to Sea Facebook page or follow the challenge in real time with an online tracker Peter has devised.

Source to Sea schedule, if 5mph pace is maintained….  

  • The runners will reach Linn of Quoich at about 11pm on Friday after jogging 15 miles
  • They plan to reach Ballater by 3.21am – then at the 35.5 mile mark.
  • Having travelled 46.5 miles, they will reach at Aboyne at 5.33am.
  • By the time they arrive at the King George VI park in Banchory at 8.30am on Saturday they will have been running for 61.3 miles.
  • They will be nearing the end when they reach Drumoak at about 10am, having covered 68 miles.
  • The men will have run for 79 miles by the time they reach Duthie Park shortly after noon.
  • One final push later, and they will have completed the estimated 82 miles by stopping at Fittie at 12.41pm.

Banchory’s answer to Joe Wicks raises £5,000 for charity through workout sessions

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