A pair of Scottish pilots have touched down after weathering the storm of a charity challenge round the UK coast.
Tommy Lorimer and Robert Stalker faced tricky weather conditions during their ten-day flight which saw them clock up 2500 miles, stopping at 20 airports around the country.
As they approached their final stop at Perth Airport, the Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance (SCAA), which they are raising money for, hovered mid-air to welcome them back.
“Everywhere we went we took pictures and sent them back and it was sunshine, but what it didn’t show was the weather en route and it was low cloud, fog and rain, so that took a bit of flying through and planning so that bit was challenging.
“I think we only had two days where it was glorious flying weather,” explained Mr Lorimer.
It costs £4m a year to run two charity air ambulances, based in Perth and Aberdeen.
While fundraising has been a challenge during the pandemic, there have been less callouts for the life-saving service.
Russell Myles, senior pilot with SCAA, said: “The charity is funded from everything from little bake sales to corporate sponsorship, so things like this makes a difference.
“There has been a bit of a tail off in fundraising in the last year because we can’t have fun runs and things and people have been stuck at home, but from the operational side of things we’ve had a slight reduction in flying because people aren’t out crashing motorbikes and that sort of thing during the pandemic.”
Mr Lorimer and Mr Stalker, who have both been flying for around 20 years each, embarked on the challenge after lockdown easing meant they could once again take to the skies.
They had both bought new planes last year and were keen to get back behind the controls.
Mr Lorimer said: “We’re hopefully nearly at the end of Covid and we thought the air ambulance would need money more than ever because everybody has been housebound.
“There’s not been many activities so we were hoping to do well for these guys that do a great job and you never know when you’re going to need the air ambulance.”
A friend of Mr Lorimer contacted him during the challenge to say his niece was treated by the air ambulance after a horse riding accident.
Thankfully she made a full recovery, but the incident highlights the importance of the SCAA.
Mr Lorimer added: “Whether you fly a plane or drive a car, or a motorbike or a bicycle or walk up a hill, you might need these guys at some point so it’s a very worthy cause.”
It proved to be a momentous trip with plenty of challenges.
Mr Stalker said: “We had to contact air traffic control quite a bit because the conditions weren’t the best.
“There was also a large military exercise going on all round the country so that in itself created a navigation headache, but we did it.”
To donate to the pair’s fundraising efforts, click here.