Organisations hard at work to prepare Highland Cross route
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AS the popular charity event the Highland Cross gets set to return, on June 18, the National Trust for Scotland (NTS) has been working to make sure the extensive route is ready for participants.
The 50-mile duathlon takes in breathtaking scenery from Kintail to Glen Affric and over to Beauly, on land largely managed by Forestry and Land Scotland and the NTS.
The trust has been a keen supporter of Highland Cross since it began in 1983, allowing competitors to traverse its Kintail estate and with members of staff even participating and helping with mountain rescue duties.
Founder of the Highland Cross, which helps a variety of good causes, Calum Munro, described the trust as “hugely supportive”.
In the months before the duathlon a lot of work takes place to make sure the route safe.
Recently the road at Fasnakyle was resurfaced along with surfaces at the Dog Falls car park.
Manager Willie Fraser, who has been with the NTS for 33 years, has helped at every Highland Cross event during his time.
Other work undertaken recently has included operations to address “very wet” paths, damaged over winter, and a rickety bridge.
Mr Fraser said: “The main thing we do is to just make sure our footpaths are up to scratch and there are no issues. This year we have a bridge that needs significant repairs to make sure it can cope with all the competitors.
“We’re always there to help and one year we provided car parking and we provide fields whenever they are needed.
“The footpaths have taken a bashing over the winter so we need to get in and do a bit of preparation to the drains.
“It’s about trying to make it as comfortable as possible for the competitors.
“We have a long history and relationship with the Cross and we like to support it.
“It’s one of the few events we have in our countryside properties and we’re very supportive of it because it’s there for Highland charities.
Mr Fraser is on the Kintail Mountain Rescue team which mans two First Aid stations in the western part of the event.