Fundraising for PCRF in Scotland

Marianne Baker Posted in Charity, BCI on the Road 30 July 2013

Two of our Centre for Tumour Biology researchers, Dr John Marshall and Claire Reader, took on the West Highland Way from July 19th-22nd to raise money for the Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund.

It's not too late to make a contribution! Please click here to go to the donations page - and many thanks to those who already have.



John and Claire mid-trek - credit: John Marshall


The PCRF funds projects running in several groups at the BCI, and pancreatic cancer is one of our core research areas, given its stubborn resistance to ongoing efforts to improve diagnosis and treatment.

The challenge undertaken by John, Claire and their companions was certainly ambitious. Over three and a half days the team walked an astonishing 95 miles of rough, rocky Scottish terrain, braving both the weather and the locals (the biting insects, that is).

For those who are unaware, what kind of training would people typically do before a physically demanding event like this?

John said some of them had been doing walks of 30+ miles in the weeks and months before the event. Unfortunately he did not have the time for this level of preparation, and "felt it". This is not surprising and all the more respect to those who went ahead regardless!


The group at Fort Wililam with some bubbles to get them going - credit: Laura Moody 


The trial began at 7am in Fort William with a champagne send-off.

Halfway through the first day, everyone was suffering somewhat in the heat but enjoying the scenery nonetheless.


Taking advantage of the scenery - credit: Laura Moody 

The second half of day 1 consisted of a 3.5 mile trek up the Devil's Staircase in 29°C heat. Ouch.


Rolling hills and rocky roads - credit: John Marshall


At one point John stumbled and grazed his knee, also ripping his walking trousers in such a way that they had to be trimmed to knee-length. Unfortunately the only cutting implement available was a pair of nail scissors, so this took up all of the rest stop time. This resulted in having to finish the day's walking with uneven trousers.


Our researchers are generally well-balanced - credit: François Perron


John reported, after this incident:

"Day 2 was better, but blisters are catching up."

Frightening and stomach-turning images of people's fatigued feet taken at the end of the walk have been omitted for health and safety reasons.

By lunch time on day 3 they had covered 67 miles and were walking alongside Loch Lomond's crystal blue water in the still-shining sun.


Stunning lake views - credit: Laura Moody


John recalls arriving at their finish line, the stone obelisk at Milngavie:

"I'd never been so happy to see a piece of stone... mainlining Ibuprofen but made it!"


At the end - credit: John Marshall

We can confirm that recovery has gone well and John is back here in the Centre, managing even to stand up to give a talk to our postgraduate students about how and why they should be applying for some funding.



Celebrations in order - credit: François Perron

So if you are envious of the sights they saw and what they achieved, grateful for the money raised so far or just wondering what to do with your spare change, please head over to the group's fundraising page to help them on their way to the £25,000 target.


Go team! - credit: John Marshall

Thanks to John for the real-time updates, to the photographersfor sending their images, and to @PanCanResearch for retweeting our links - many congratulations to all of the walkers.



A misty morning - credit: François Perron


Moody mountains - credit: John Marshall


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