A Stornoway family have decided to climb Ben Nevis to raise money for some of the unsung heroes of animal rescue.

Artist and care-worker Eilidh Thompson and her daughters Bethany Macleod (23) who works at the Foyer youth project, Carissa McCuaig (25) who works at Blackhouse Bakery and musician Alanna McCuaig (27), now based in Glasgow, have set Saturday August 25th for their challenge.

Eilidh picked the task as her celebration of her 50th birthday, after a parachute jump celebrated her 40th. She’s a dedicated fundraiser, with the Samaritans and Cancer Research among the groups who’ve benefited from her efforts.

But now the group are in training around the roads and hills of Lewis for the highest mountain in Britain, and it’s abandoned cats and dogs that will see the results.

Eilidh has picked Cats Protection Lewis and Harris and Dog Rescue Cyprus and is hoping to raise £500 to share equally between them.

She said: “For Bethany and myself, doing the Clisham for Cancer Research a couple of years ago really got us going. I enjoy doing things for charities that aren’t quite so well-known, because a lot of the big ones get the majority of the money and the smaller ones don’t get so much. Bethany and Eilidh did a 5k last year for Cats Protection and that’s what gave us the idea.”

Also providing the incentive is Reuben the Jura hound, who was a rescue dog from Cyprus Dog Rescue before he came to live in Lewis. He’d been fending for himself in a quarry when he was recued and was in very poor condition. Eilidh explained: “In Cyprus there is very little protection for abandoned or mistreated pets and Reuben is such a little star, we’ve become friends with the charity where we found him. As animal lovers, we want to help both home and away to say thank you.”

A six-hour walk to Gress and back on Thursday (August 9th) showed their dedication to training. In the next week Eilidh, Bethany and Carissa will be on the road around the Castle Grounds and out to Ness by the Pentland Road, building up their strength ready for the climb.

They’ll leave Stornoway on Friday 24th and expect to complete the climb during Saturday – although Alanna is also playing gigs at Spean Bridge on both the Friday and Saturday nights, so she’ll have an extra challenge to complete in record time.

Eilidh’s hoping they’ll all be fit enough and up to the challenge. “I really hope we don’t have to call mountain rescue, otherwise next year I’ll be raising funds for them!”

You can support Eilidh, Alanna, Carissa and Bethany by going to their JustGiving page at https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/bennevisteam2018 or ask any of them if you would like to sponsor them.

Pictures show Carissa, Eilidh and Bethany on a training walk earlier this month and Reuben the Jura hound, who inspired the fundraising.