No mountains this time for Keith man on a mission

Fundraising Keith climber taking a flatter route for Cancer charities.
Fundraising Keith climber taking a flatter route for Cancer charities.

A KEITH CLIMBER is well used to taking on mountain challenges – but next month is keeping both feet firmly on the ground when he takes on the Baxters River Ness 10K.

Andrew Tassell would normally be found donning his climbing kit for Climbers against Cancer, an international charity that helps cancer research projects throughout the world.

This time, however, his boots are replaced with running shoes as he wished to do something special to commemorate turning 50 this year.

“Climbers against Cancer believe that as climbers, regardless of nationality, creed or colour, we have a real togetherness,” Andrew explained.

He added: “Being involved in the sport is like having an extended family, and he felt that as a family we have a power to deliver a message across the globe and to help find a cure for cancer.

“The majority of funds are raised through the sale of branded Climbers Against Cancer clothing, but many climbers hold special fund-raising events. Most of these are climbing based, so running is something a little bit different.

“Donations are made in £10,000 intervals as and when it is raised worldwide. The money is then handed over to cancer research charities in different countries, ensuring that the money is spread out and increasing opportunities to find a cure.”

Andrew, who works as the head gardener at Gordon Castle in Fochabers, has been climbing for many years and his son is also mad about the sport. The pair have even created their own climbing wall in an outbuilding at the family home to use when they are not out on cliffs on the Moray coastline.

However, climbing has taken a bit of a back seat as he ramps up his training for the River Ness 10K – part of the Baxters Loch Ness Marathon and Festival of Running which takes place in Inverness on Sunday, September 25.

Andrew said: “I wanted to do something to mark turning 50, and when I saw this advertised in a running magazine I thought it was ideal. The scenery up there is beautiful, it’s a relatively flat course and it’s also close to where I live.

“I’m now out running two or three times a week and really looking forward to it. I’m delighted to be able to combine doing something a bit different for my 50th birthday while raising money for a charity that means so much to climbers.”

Andrew has set up an online fund-raising page at

For more information on the Baxter Loch Ness event, visit