HELP HEROES STAY ON TOP; Chris Tiso knows from personal experience what a vital service the Scottish Mountain Rescue provides and is determined to help raise funds as part of this summer's Munro Challenge.
Chris Tiso, the chief executive of Scotland's best–known outdoors company, has a couple of dates with the Scottish mountains this summer.
He has promised his seven–year–old son Angus they will walk to the UK's highest point, on Ben Nevis.
The dad–of–two also plans to hike the mighty Glencoe ridge, the Aonach Eagach, with an old school pal.
But these Scottish mountain outings are more than just a chance to enjoy time outdoors with family and friends.
Chris will be walking the mountains – which also qualify as Munros – as part of a fundraising campaign for Scottish Mountain Rescue (SMR).
Throughout September, SMR is calling for fundraisers to climb one or more of Scotland's 282 Munros – mountains with summits of at least 3000ft – to raise vital cash for the charity.
Tiso is supporting the SMR initiative, while Isle of Skye eight–year–old blended Scotch whisky will partner the project for three years.
In addition, Ian Macleod Distillers, owners of Isle of Skye whisky, are selling a special UK edition SMR whisky with 15p from every bottle sale going direct to the charity.
For Chris, the SMR fundraiser is also a heart–breaking reminder of the sudden death of his mountaineer brother Donald in January.
Donald, 50, was hiking Ben Starav, near Oban, with his fiancee Julie, when he slipped and fell.
Oban Mountain Rescue Team were called to the remote hillside and a Royal Navy rescue helicopter from HMS Gannet was scrambled.
Sadly, Donald did not survive and the Tiso family have been left reeling at another family loss.
Some two decades ago, dad Graham, the founder of Tiso stores, died in a boating accident aged 57.
However, Chris refuses to allow his brother's tragic accident to cloud his enjoyment of Scotland's great outdoors.
Chris, 42, said: "Of course, when I walk the Scottish mountains I am reminded of Donald's death. It is so new and raw.
"But I don't blame the mountains and I still view a day walking the Munros as a fantastic outing.
"I am greatly looking forward to my Munro climbs in September with my son and friend.
"I still love the Scottish landscape and the great outdoors and what it oers to all kinds of people."
Chris makes the point that mountain accidents happen, even to the most experienced.
He said: "Donald and Julie were very able mountaineers and my brother's death was the last thing we expected.
"Julie would have been married to Donald by now, which makes his death all the sadder.
"But as my family are now so acutely aware, accidents do happen and it's then that the SMR provide such a tremendous service.
"Without these professional volunteers we would not have had assistance for Donald – and there are many other people who would not be so fortunate to survive an accident or dicult situation in our mountains.
"Supporting the SMR is important for all outdoors people and I hope many others will take part in the Munro Challenge fundraiser."
SMR relies on more than 1000 volunteers across 24 volunteer teams and two Search and Rescue Dog Associations (SARDA).
They work alongside three police teams, two RAF teams and Scottish Cave Rescue.
Over the past few years there has been an annual increase in mountaineering incidents in Scotland, with around 600 rescues a year.
It costs around PS1.2m annually to run Scottish Mountain Rescue, with about 70 per cent of that figure generated through fundraising alone.
Alastair Rose is chair of Scottish Mountain Rescue Resource Group and a member of Killin Mountain Rescue Team.
He said: "SMR is an invaluable part of Scotland's great outdoors environment – and it is run entirely voluntarily.
"On many occasions, these volunteers will brave the elements and risk their lives to help others.
"We are delighted that the Munro Challenge will be taking place and will help with much–needed funds so that teams have access to training and new equipment.
"We urge as many people as possible to sign up to the fundraiser and make a big dierence."
Join the challenge
The inaugural Isle of Skye Blended Scotch Whisky Munro Challenge is open to everyone, whether you're an experienced climber, outdoor enthusiast or mountaineering novice.
The Munros range from easier outings of only a couple of hours to epic multiday treks.
The 282 Munros are spread across Scotland from the most southerly, Ben Lomond, in the central belt, to the most northerly, Ben Hope, in Sutherland.
To take part in the event, simply register before August 17 at www.isleofskyewhisky.com/munro–challenge
You will be given details of how to raise funds through the group Just Giving page or setting up your own.
Every participant will receive a branded flag to fly at the top of their chosen Munro top in September.
Pictures of the summit flags can be posted to a dedicated Facebook gallery www.facebook.com/IsleofSkyeWhisky
All money raised will go directly to the SMR charity, the teams and volunteers.
'' Accidents Accidents happen happen and then and then the SMR the SMR provide a provide a superb superb service. service.
FOUND YOU SARDA rescue dog Ruby with her handler Andy Rockall
CHEERS Chris, SMR chair Jonathan Hart and Neil Boyd of Ian Macleod
TRAGIC LOSS Donald Tiso who died on a Munro
JOIN ME Chris Tiso is calling on all outdoor enthusiasts to join the SMR fundraiser effort
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|Publication:||Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)|
|Date:||Jul 13, 2014|
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