By Juliet Barker, Trainee Solicitor

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On Saturday 19th September 2015 four intrepid Turcan Connell employees took part in The Pentland Push to raise money for St Columba’s Hospice. This event was organised by the hospice with the support of Wildfox Events and run in association with Franklin Templeton Investments. It consists of a run/hike/walk in the beautiful Pentland Hills and this was the fourth year of it taking place. St Columba's Hospice has been providing care and support to terminally ill patients, their friends and families around Edinburgh and the Lothians since 1977. All the funds raised by The Push help to ensure that St Columba's Hospice can provide the very best specialist care to those who need it, for generations to come.

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As it was our first time taking part, and none of us are very good at hill walking, we decided to go for the bronze level, 14 miles over a (for us) challenging course.  Sheena Clifford, Senior Associate, Marisa Gillick, Trainee Solicitor, Mara Schmueckle, Trainee Solicitor and I duly assembled in the glorious autumn sunshine at Swanston, just outside Edinburgh.  Having registered, had some breakfast and warmed up we set off at the back of the pack of other bronze walkers (and some runners!) to tackle our first hill. 

We had called our team the “Tough Cookies” and we certainly feel that we lived up to our name. The route took us over Caerketten, Allermuir, Turnhouse and Caernethy Hills and proved to be much steeper in places than it had looked on the route map. Still, our training stood us in good stead and the friendly marshalls and volunteers along the route kept us going when spirits flagged. 

The course was extremely well marked, not least by a string of people in orange T-shirts striding across the hills, and there were some welcome “down” sections to counteract the pain of the “ups”.  Also extremely welcome was the food stop at the head of the Loganlea Reservoir, including delicious warm fruit punch that warmed us up as the skies clouded over.

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Despite wearing two pairs of socks and having well-worn-in boots, I was personally very glad to see the podiatrists on hand at the lunch stop and would like to thank them for seeing to an incipient blister.

We were very glad of the flat section around the Reservoirs after lunch as by this point knees and hips were definitely creaking. One last pull up the other side of Allermuir and we were on our final descent back to Swanston, having swiped some much needed energy snacks from the final Allermuir check point. The finish line was the most welcome sight of the day and the name-check as we crossed it put a smile on all our faces. It was with great relief that we helped ourselves to a delicious meal (hog roast for the meat eaters and falafel burgers for the veggies with various side dishes including some of the nicest potato salad I have tried) and were entertained by an excellent live band.

I think we all slept very well that night, safe in the knowledge that we had proved ourselves and in the process had raised £2,400 for a very worthwhile cause.

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