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- 23. January 2008.


Saturday 14 to Sunday 15 June

Still not made any progress on those resolutions? Change that and more by taking part in Britain's most spectacular physical and mental challenge. The 2008 RBS Caledonian Challenge from Saturday 14 to Sunday 15 June is open for entries. So for anyone who is keen to: exercise more, spend time outdoors, develop team spirit and raise funds for community projects then it's time to make this exciting challenge your New Year's Resolution.

Two marathons; and then some, make up the 54 mile walk along the West Highland Way from Fort William to Loch Lomond all of which is to be completed in 24 hours. Taking in some of Scotland's most stunning highland scenery along the way the challenge starts in Fort William through Glen Coe via the 'Devil's staircase' to cross the remote Rannoch Moor.  Participants then walk through Bridge of Orchy down to Auchtertyre and finally on to the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond where the Challenge finishes at Ardleish. Walkers are then whisked over the shores by boat to the finish village at Ardlui.  

Before you go back under the duvet at the thought of that much fresh air the challenge is less daunting than it seems. Participants will tackle the route in teams of 3 to 6 people with support teams driving ahead to meet them with food, fresh socks and words of encouragement at each of the Challenge checkpoints. Months before the race, presentations will be made by hillwalking experts and training plans and routes are also available to convert even the most hardened couch potato into a hardy, healthy, hill-walking machine. 

It's not just the workout that has been attracting thousands each year since it's inception twelve years ago. Being surrounded by over 1500 people as you take to the hills brings a glowing sense of camaraderie with other walkers taking on this exceptional challenge. For each team in many cases the opportunity to work together outside the workplace has seen real benefits back in the office too. This added to the chance to see Scotland from the best ever vantage points while raising funds for the Scottish Community Foundation all contribute to the incomparable overwhelming sense of achievement felt by finishers as they cross Loch Lomond, aching exhuasted and elated.

The RBS Caledonian Challenge raises funds for the Scottish Community Foundation, a Scottish charity that supports local charities and community groups across Scotland. Particpants are each asked to each raise a minimum of £500 per individual. Since the Challenge's inception almost 10,000 people have raised over £9 million. 

Event Director John Mercer said; 'The RBS Caledonian Challenge has gone from strength to strength with more and more people keen to take to the hills and get their teeth into an incredibly rewarding test of physical and mental endeavour. The Challenge offers an excellent opportunity for people from all walks of life and from all over the World to test themselves and raise money for charitable community projects. 

'I am confident that this year's event will be the biggest and best yet with up to 1600 walkers [around 375 teams] taking part. Entry to the Challenge is just £125 so the sooner your team is entered the sooner you can start training!'

Ken Barclay, Managing Director of UK Corporate Banking Scotland at RBS, said: 'The Caledonian Challenge demands certain qualities of its entrants and I see a synergy between many of those qualities and the values that are central to how we do business at RBS. An emphasis on team work is key to our success, as is a burning desire to succeed. These attributes are required for all those undertaking the Challenge. Additionally, a commitment to the communities in which we work is part of our philosophy and as such, we are proud of this partnership with the Scottish Community Foundation.' 

With just 5 months to go until the big weekend, now is the time to get a team registered and to start training and fundraising.

The RBS Caledonian Challenge 2008 will take place between Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 June 2008. Please visit www.caledonianchallenge.com or telephone 0131 524 0360 for more information.
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