Down Loch Ness and up Ben Nevis in memory of a friend

Carl Stephenson,
Carl Stephenson,

JEDBURGH firefighter Carl Stephenson is kayaking, running up Ben Nevis and cycling with friends and colleagues to raise money for charity.

The 340-mile extreme challenge this October is in memory of a friend, Peter Metcalfe, who died within two weeks of finding out he had cancer, at the age of 35.

A colleague came up with the four-day Strong Arm Challenge 2013 and now 23 Tyne and Wear Fire Brigade officers and friends hope to raise £10,000 for the charity of Peter’s choice, the Make A Wish Foundation – which makes dreams come true for children with life-threatening illnesses – and the Fire Fighters Charity.

The team are going to kayak the 23-mile length of Loch Ness and bike the 31 miles to Ben Nevis on September 30.

The following day will see them ascend Ben Nevis then run 26 miles to Kinlochleven.

On day three, they will bike 140 miles to Peebles before cycling 100 miles back to their brigade’s headquarters in Wallsend, Newcastle, on day four.

The 33-year-old is the only Borderer among the group.

He moved from Newcastle to Jedburgh in 2003 and usually plays football for Jed Legion, although he has taken this season off to train for the upcoming event.

He said:“I haven’t done a challenge like this before,”he said before admitting he’d come up with Strong Arm’s bike route.

“The challenges we’ll face are the Loch Ness monster, the Scottish weather, injuries, fatigue, blisters, blisters and more blisters!”

Two years ago, he was part of a trio of Jedburgh athletes who raised £2,000 for charity doing the Helvellyn Triathlon of a mile’s swim in Ullswater, a 38-mile bike, including the steep Kirkstone Pass, and a nine-mile run up Helvellyn. Carl is doing the triathalon again this September.

And what he is most looking forward to about the Strong Arm?

“Finishing it and raising money for our charities.”

Anyone wanting to sponsor the event should contact Carl on