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Rachel MacLean and Lainie McIvor from Forres abseiled down the Kessock Bridge, Inverness raising nearly £1700 for Highland Hospice


By Garry McCartney

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Rachel and Lainie raised £1700 for the Highland Hospice charity.
Rachel and Lainie raised £1700 for the Highland Hospice charity.

TWO friends from Forres with limited daredevil experience abseiled down the Kessock Bridge for charity.

Rachel MacLean (27) and Lainie McIvor (28) completed the sponsored challenge on Saturday, September 4 in aid of Highland Hospice, raising nearly £1700 for the palliative care service.

Rachel said: “It was a great opportunity to challenge ourselves whilst raising money for a local charity that supports people going through tough times. We signed up in June when September seemed ages away ... I spent a lot of time speculating what the abseil would be like!”

The pair had zip wire and aerial assault course experience but were otherwise unprepared for dropping down a 100ft structure next to RNLI Kessock Lifeboat Station. The cable-stayed bridge spans the Beauly Firth, between North Kessock and Inverness.

Rachel said: “We arrived early, spent a few minutes watching people abseil then queued for our slot at 11.30am. After we registered, we walked up to a safety point, got into our harnesses and hard hats and were supplied with gloves. The wait was the worst as we just wanted to get it done! Lainie is terrified of heights and I knew we could easily freeze but we were determined.”

Rachel and Lainie left the holding point and walked along the bridge. Rachel was first in line so an organiser shouted ‘next’ and she was marched straight onto the abseil scaffolding and connected to a rope.

She said: “To proceed, I had to loosen my grip on the rope whilst shuffling to the edge of the first scaffolding step. I had to be told twice to loosen my grip! I leaned back ready to start down to the ledge when the photographer appeared. At that point I had no idea how I was going to manage. When you are leaning back, it’s so high that you don’t see the bridge ledge.”

Rachel bravely smiled and waved before dropping 100ft.
Rachel bravely smiled and waved before dropping 100ft.

Rachel managed to lean back with straight legs and climb down the scaffolding fence steps, before dropping to the bridge edge.

She said: “We were then free to lever ourselves down. I had to really focus, take my time and zone out. Everyone had an abseil professional at the top, guiding them down. I kept on asking them ‘and what next?’!

“I searched for our spectators - family and friends - but I couldn’t see them from that high up. It was a great view down.”

The entire process took less than four minutes.

Rachel said: “Abseiling is definitely something you would get used to and I definitely recommend it. When I drive to Inverness now, I don’t need to worry about the bridge in the back of my mind and I’m proud of doing the challenge.”

She finished: “Lainie and I would like to thank all of our supporters for their donations and encouragement.”

Rachel (centre) on her way down to family and friends.
Rachel (centre) on her way down to family and friends.


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