Retired Stirling University lecturer David Robertson is setting off on a 500-mile sponsored trek across the Pyrenees on Saturday 06 June 2004 in aid of cancer charities including the Beatson Oncology Centre Fund.
Starting at Llança beach near the Mediterranean Sea and his home in Catalonia, David will finish his journey seven weeks later on the Atlantic coast.
David's Glasgow-based son, Ramon, was a patient at the Beatson and his wife, Carme, was treated for breast cancer at the Vall d'Hebron hospital in Barcelona. "We're through it all now and we want to give something back," explained David. "We are so grateful for all the kindness and efficiency we experienced."
Around 25 friends from all over Europe, a number of whom are Scottish, will be joining David on his trek, a coast-to-coast marathon that has been seven months in the planning.
By day, the team will walk through some of the most remote countryside in Spain, covering the entire Pyrenean mountain range and reaching a height of 9,000 feet at some stages. By night, they plan to stay in village lodgings, mountain refuges or in their own tents.
Back-up volunteers, including Carme, are planning to follow via road, dispensing supplies and collecting donations along the way.
"We'll meet fantastic people and see spectacular things," said David. "And at the same time raise money for some wonderful causes."
"I have gone on treks lasting up to three weeks, but nothing quite as epic as this before. Although there will be some very hard sections to cover, the spectacular scenery and good company will keep us going. Approaching the Bay of Biscay will be a delight too."
David does not know what the final total raised by the trek will be but all proceeds are to be split between the Beatson Oncology Centre, the Institut d'Oncologia in Barcelona and charity The Institute for Cancer Research.
Professor Alan Rodger, the Beatson Oncology Centre's Medical Director, said, "We are all delighted by Mr Robertson's support and encouragement as demonstrated by his epic walk along the Pyrenees. We all wish him and his many companions well for a very safe and enjoyable trek. Whatever they are able to raise for the Beatson will be put to good use in supporting our research, our education and our facilities for patients."
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Notes to Editors:
· The trek begins on Saturday 06 June 2004 in Llança, Catalonia and is scheduled to finish on 27 July 2004 in Fuenterrabia, which overlooks the Bay of Biscay on the Atlantic Coast.
· The group, who will follow a well-established trekking route, require to be prepared for the weather which can go from 30ºC to below zero. There will still be snow on the very high ground and snowstorms are not unknown, even in summer.
· David's multi-national walking party also includes former colleagues from Stirling University where he taught Spanish for 25 years.
· David's wife, Carme, was treated for breast cancer at the Vall d'Hebron Hospital in Barcelona, Spain, and his son Ramon was a thyroid cancer patient at the Beatson Oncology Centre in 2002.