A CHARITY team has completed a unique journey ticking off 130 Scottish mountains in aid of sick children.


Archie's Mountain Challenge saw a relay of walkers and runners complete all of the country's peaks with a height of one kilometre or more within 15 days - finishing on the 1100m summit of Beinn Ime in the Arrochar Alps, Argyll, on Sunday.

It is believed to be the first time the mountains have been summited in a non-stop, man-powered journey.

The team has raised in excess of £20,000 for the Archie Foundation, a charity which supports sick children and their families in the north of Scotland.

Paul Fettes, an anaesthetist at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee who came up with the idea, said: "I'm absolutely delighted by what we have achieved and how it has inspired so many people to join in.

"In total the challengers climbed almost 10 times the elevation of Everest and travelled the equivalent length of Britain on foot, bikes and in kayaks.

"It has also been an amazing fund-raiser and many thousands of pounds will go towards the Archie Tayside appeal for a new paediatric surgical suite at Tayside Children's Hospital. This will have huge potential benefits for both children and their parents."

Archie's Mountain Challenge began on May 30 at sea level when the walkers dipped their toes in the North Sea near Dingwall in the Highlands.

Over the following two weeks, around 50 walkers, runners, cyclists and paddlers covered a total distance of more than 900 miles to link together the 130 summits on the Scottish mainland.

These included the most northerly, An Teallach, near Dundonnell, the most westerly, Ladhair Bheinn, in Knoydart, the most easterly, Lochnagar, and Ben Ime, the most southerly and the final peak of the challenge.

A cuddly Archie Foundation rabbit mascot fitted with GPS tracker was carried to every summit.

Mr Fettes added that the changeable weather proved challenging for the team, saying: "In the first part of the challenge we worried about hypothermia and walkers being swept away by high winds. We even had to miss some mountains due to adverse conditions and return to them at a later point.

"Then the second half of the challenge was the complete opposite with concerns about dehydration and sunburn because of the high temperatures.

"I am impressed by how everyone has coped and by the incredible enthusiasm shown by all who have been involved."

The father-of-three now wants to take the challenge a step further and create a new classification of "Archies" mountains for other people to walk.

He said: "All mountain classifications in Scotland, such as the Munros and Corbetts, are measured in imperial heights, over 3000ft and over 2500ft. But what about the more modern approach of metric measurements?

"When I came up with the Archie's Mountain Challenge I decided to change the approach to mountain bagging and walk the '1km up' peaks.

"I think this new Archies list will have great appeal to walkers, perhaps those who are looking for a shorter challenge list than the 282 Munros or the 221 Corbetts.

"The 130 Archies feel like a thoroughly modern goal and also something that is achievable for a wider range of people, such as families.

"If we have the Archies officially named it will also continue to raise awareness for The Archie Foundation. The charity does so much incredible work in the north of Scotland to make hospital experiences for children far more relaxed and positive."

The Tayside Children's Hospital appeal needs to raise £2million. The total raised by the Archie's Mountain Challenge will be announced at a later date.