An ex-rugby pro completed a tough hill walking charity challenge this weekend. Gordon "Gordy" Bulloch, who played hooker for Scotland for a decade, hiked Dumgoyne, in the Campsie Fells, Stirlingshire, 24 times over 72 hours. In doing so, he walked more than the cumulative height of 8848m Everest – and completed his 500th summit of his local hill.
So far, he has raised more than £6200 for the MND charity, My Name'5 Doddie Foundation.
Gordy, 43, who lives close to Dumgoyne, said:
"It felt like an ambitious goal at the start and one that would inspire people to sponsor me. I had no idea how I would feel doing multiple climbs because while Dumgoyne is relatively small it's also very steep. But I had an amazing time over the weekend and I am surprised by how good I felt."
Gordy, who works for his family company Highland Galvanisers, started his 24 climbs on the Summer Solstice at 7pm. Each climb of Dumgoyne includes between 360m and 400m of ascent, depending on the route, to reach the 427m summit. The route begins with a gentler lower slope before a very steep climb with gradients up to 45 degrees to reach the peak. Gordy started and finished each hike at Glengoyne Distillery, which famously sits at the base of Dumgoyne hill on the A81, just north of Strathblane.
With 24 as his aim, Gordy knew he would gain at least the same height as the world's tallest mountain. On Thursday, he completed five ascents by fast walking or running up and then running downhill. On Friday, between 10am and 6pm, he completed another nine ascents. Saturday's hill climbs totalled seven between 10am and 5pm and the final three climbs were completed yesterday.
His total elevation gain was 8906m and some 90km in distance.
He was joined by different friends and family for all but three of the ascents during the challenge and his dog Ted did four with him.
"I did a total of [nearly] 9000m on Dumgoyne during the weekend and although I felt tired by the end of most days I was surprised by how good I felt, too. I only really suffered a few sore toes. I wondered half-way through if I could have done 25 climbs in 50 hours but really it as the Everest height goal I was aiming for. Also, because I spaced out the hikes over several days it allowed friends and family to join me for what was a very sociable and enjoyable challenge."
"It was a double celebration to finish the challenge and reach my 500th summit of Dumgoyne, a hill that I see every day from my home, and I have been walking and running since 2013."
As well as donations and pledges, Gordy raised £1000 through a Glengoyne supported raffle and collected more money with a "Guess my total steps" competition.
The chosen charity is poignant to Gordy. He said:
"I had watched Doddie Weir play for Scotland from the Murrayfield terraces and then had the honour of playing alongside him. Doddie was diagnosed with MND last year and my 24in72 is my way of doing a little bit to help him and his foundation."