Fairfield duo to take on Machu Picchu charity challenge

Machu Picchu peru-2135770_960_720Fairfield Housing Co-operative colleagues Grant Ager and Susan Bell are stepping-up training for a charity challenge which will test them to the max.

The duo have committed to a demanding trek to the spectacular Unesco World Heritage Site of Machu Picchu, in Peru.

The ‘City in the Clouds’ is at nearly 8000 feet above sea level and so this will be no stroll in the park as they raise cash and awareness for Motor Neurone Disease Scotland, after being inspired by political researcher Gordon Aikman’s brave ‘Fightback’ campaign before his death in February at the age of 31.

Grant Ager, Fairfield chief executive and Perthshire Chamber of Commerce vice-president, said: “Gordon’s Fightback has done so much to raise awareness of a cruel disease which can afflict anyone, of any age. Former Holland and Rangers footballer Fernando Ricksen is also a sufferer and closer to home I know of others fighting the disease. It is heartbreaking.

“We have supported various causes at Fairfield down the years and opted for MND Scotland after talking it over in the office.”

Grant Ager and Susan Bell
Grant Ager and Susan Bell

Grant and mother of two Susan admit they’re nervous about the daunting six-day challenge which awaits them in September.

Neither are fitness fanatics and they’re stepping-up preparations over the summer, with walking, climbing and running on the agenda.

“This is a genuine challenge for us both,” admitted Susan. “When we arrive in Cusco after four flights to get there, we will have just one acclimatisation trek before we set off the very next day.

“Altitude is going to be an issue, with the Salkantay Pass at 4600 metres, before we descend into Machu Picchu, the lost city of the Incas. To put things in perspective, Ben Nevis is 1345 metres and we don’t know how the altitude will affect us until we get there.

“It is the challenge rather than the Inca history which appeals to me. My husband Gary knows more about Machu Picchu than me,” she admitted. “I want to test myself and tell my daughters all about it when they are older.”

The pair have set an ambitious fundraising target of £8000 by June 30 and are more than half-way there, with pledges flooding in from friends and the business community.

Grant added: “We have been warned it will be around eight hours and more on the trail each day, with some relentless climbing towards the end. You have to finish or you’ll find yourself being taken back down on a donkey and I don’t fancy that.”

Donations can be made here or by contacting the Fairfield office on 01738 630738.

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