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Former RAF Man Sets Off On North Coast 500 for MND Charity

June 07, 2018

A DRONE pilot and former RAF airman from Elgin is setting off on a 500 mile mission around north Scotland in memory of his father, raising awareness of; funds for research into; and the treatment of motor neurone disease.

David Scott, 38, is making the epic trip to raise funds for the Doddie Weir Foundation, with friends and fellow former air force servicemen Al Johnstone, 33 and Stef Elertowicz, 36.

The three aim to complete the now-world famous 518 mile journey under the banner “The Hard Way Round” in just four days, and are tackling it in reverse of the usual plan – as it makes the route more challenging.

When David’s father, Richard, lost his two-year battle with MND in October 2017, he and his family were overwhelmed when Scotland rugby legend Doddie Weir’s foundation approached them to offer support.

He and his team have already surpassed their minimum fundraising target of £1,500, and have just pushed their current total beyond £2,000 as they begin the journey.

“When my dad passed away, the Doddie Weir Foundation reached out to us and left a cheque to help cover the funeral costs. We’re from Jedburgh and are part of the tight-knit Borders rugby community,” said David, who is UAS operations manager and a remote aircraft pilot at Bristow Group in Aberdeen.

“It was totally out of the blue, completely unexpected and a very generous offer of support at a difficult time. We want to repay that incredible outreach of kindness, and hope that the money we raise can be used to help Doddie, his family, and others whose lives have been affected by MND. It’s something my father would have wanted to do.”

David, a former RAF weapons technician who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, says the build-up to the event has been as gruelling as any challenge he has undertaken in the past.

“Training has been tough - I live in Elgin and spend a lot of time in the car commuting to Aberdeen for work. I have had a turbo trainer in the garage over the winter, to ensure I could keep building the miles when the weather has been bad,” he said.

“In recent weeks I’ve been getting out as much as I can on roads around Moray. The problem has been training as a team hasn’t been possible, as the other guys don’t live in the area.

“Cycling together is going to be a great change, there will be a lot of banter, and we all know there’s no option for failure – we’re doing it. In fact, if we have to walk around it we’re getting the distance done.”

To complete the challenge by sundown on June 10, the team needs to clock 130 miles per day. Among the biggest obstacles facing them is the ascent of Applecross – one of the steepest climbs in the UK.

David said: “That’s putting the fear into us a little bit, but we just have to get ourselves through it. I keep comparing it to the battle with MND. This is nothing in comparison, so we’ll make it happen.”

Anyone who would like to sponsor the team can do so via their JustGiving page: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/thehardwayround