Udny farmer to tackle the Ythan for charity

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A FORMER Udny farmer has vowed to paddle down the Ythan in order to raise money for a local charity.

Rob Smith will travel to Wells of Ythan near Huntly, where the river has its source, from whence he will paddle down to the estuary at Newburgh - on foot and by canoe. He aims to complete his journey over May 5-6. The beneficiaries of his unconventional sponsored journey will be Pitmedden First Responders, who helped Rob after he suffered an irregular heartbeat.

Speaking to the Times, the 68-year old - who formerly farmed at Tillymaud, but now stays at Kingseat with wife Helen - said that his journey would take two days, and would involve travelling on foot from the Wells to Fyvie, where the river becomes wide enough for a canoe. From there he plans to paddle down to the sea, with help from experienced canoeists from Peterhead Canoe Club.

“I had heart problems when the Responders had just new started - and they were first on the scene, and kept me calm until the ambulance arrived,” he told the Times. “I said that I would raise some money for them when I got better!

“I contacted the canoe club - who have some First Responders as members - to get some training, and some of them will be joining me. I’m hugely grateful for their help.

Thus far, Rob’s appeal has generated £1250, and he aims to raise in the region of £3500 which will go towards equipment for the Responders.

Readers can sponsor Rob at his justgiving page at http://www.justgiving.com/Rob-Smith13.