A trio of policemen are set to draw on every ounce of their physical and mental stamina next week when they embark on a unique Speyside challenge, including swimming the 107 mile length of the River Spey.
The three were in Speyside - home of top quality Scotch Beef and Scotch Whisky - this week to complete the final phase of their arduous training programme before undertaking the challenge next week when they hope to raise £5000 target for charity.
Edinburgh-based police constable Dougie Bulmer, originally from Newtonmore in Speyside, will next Tuesday (May 25th) embark on an attempt to swim the entire length of the River Spey – equivalent to swimming the Channel five times!
If he is successful in swimming the length of Scotland’s fastest-flowing and second-longest river - exceptionally cold for the time of year - it will be the first official record of the feat.
Mr Bulmer will be accompanied by two colleagues from Lothian and Borders Police, Craig Robertson from Edinburgh and David Murray from Aberdour, who will cycle and run the length of the river. Dougie’s father, Digby, will also provide safety backup and morale support canoeing alongside his son.
The three, who are raising cash for the charity, Help for Heroes, which helps troops injured in Iraq and Afghanistan, were given a welcome boost this week when they received a good luck note from adventurer and explorer, Sir Ranulph Fiennes.
Thee policemen have been undertaking a gruelling training regime in the run-up to the challenge. Mr Bulmer, who has previously swum the Firth of Forth and the shark-infested stretch of water from Alcatraz Island to San Francisco, has been swimming three hours each day for the past six months. His colleagues will both run the length of the river and, on completing the run, Mr Robertson will return to the starting point and attempt to cycle the road route following the river’s course in the one day.
For Mr Robertson the Spey Challenge follows months of rehabilitation following a serious motorcycle accident with a lorry while on duty last year. Three major operations, during which 15 metal pins were inserted into his leg, followed the accident and next week’s challenge has been a focus for his recovery.
All three are determined to raise as much cash as possible for Help for Heroes, having been inspired by the bravery shown by the armed forces, in particular those injured in the course of duty.
Mr Bulmer is aiming to swim 30 miles each day – with the first 30 miles from the source of the Spey in the Monadhliath Mountains treacherously rocky and narrow.
“When we first planned the challenge we hadn’t banked on just how cold the Spey would be in May after such a late, snowy winter. As it’s not possible to swim in a drysuit I’ll be wearing a wetsuit and, while I’ll be swimming ten hours each day, it will be in two hour stints as it is just too painful to stay in the water for longer.”
The route they have chosen runs through an area famous for Scotch Beef and Scotch Whisky production and while the lads’ strict training regime has meant alcohol is a complete no-go, they have been able to enjoy top quality red meat to meet the nutritional demands of the training and have received sponsorship from Scotch Beef.
“I think we’ll have had our fill of icy water by the end of the challenge but we’re certainly not ruling out a dram followed by a great Scotch Beef steak and a warm bath at the end of week!” said Mr Bulmer.
The trio would be delighted to receive support to help them reach their £5000 fund-raising goal. Anyone interested in sponsoring the policemen can do so at www.bmycharity.com/riverspey