From the Stirling Observer on Wednesday 11 October 2017
Two brothers from Dunblane are just weeks away from taking to the seas in an epic charity challenge. Kris and Blair Elliot will battle giant waves and potential shark attacks when they jump in a rowing boat and embark on a 3000-mile endurance race across the world's most dangerous ocean - the Atlantic. The event, which is called the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, will see participants start at La Gomera in the Canary Islands on December 12, before heading for Antigua in the West Indies. Dunblane woman Elaine Hopley completed last year's race in just 59 days to raise money for Alzheimer Scotland. And Kris, a 30-year-old Stirling fire fighter, and Blair (28), who works off-shore as an engineer, are aiming to follow suit in aid of the Fire Fighter's Charity. They will be rowing under the banner Team Noble in memory of former Alloa Watch Manager John Noble. John was tragically killed in January 2008 when the fire appliance he was travelling in hit a tree on the A91 between Dollar and Tillicoultry. The aim is to raise £100,000 for the good cause and they have already managed to reach the £50,000 mark.
The original team consisted of two firefighters, Kris and Allan Hundy, from Stirling Fire Station, but when Allan had to withdraw Blair stepped forward in his place. Father-of-two Kris said: "We're out training every weekend - launching the boat off the west coast of Scotland and going for a 12-hour row. In addition to that, we've been going to the gym and working on the rowing machines. "While we need to train we also need to put on quite a bit of weight as we'll lose around two stone while were out there. "We've both done some challenges in the past but this is the first really big one for both of us. There's going to be a lot of unknowns. We're going to be sleep deprived while we'll be pushed to the maximum physically, then add the unpredictable weather into that." The duo will be spending Christmas Day at sea and will need to keep each other entertained throughout what could almost be three months contained in a 23ft rowing boat. Kris added: "We'll be taking a selection of music and some cards with us - and we've got our Santa hats looked out. There's an array of food we've collected too. "When we arrive in Antigua, our families will be there to meet us - my wife (Linsey) and daughters Fia (9) and Mila (6) along with Blair's wife, Beth. Hopefully we'll get the chance to wind down while we're there. "We just need to keep reminding ourselves that with every stroke we'll be nearer to seeing our families. "Anyone who would like to help out and contribute to our fund raising can visit our website www.team-noble.org.
The duo have spent £15,000 renovating their own boat ahead of the challenge. The Fire Fighters Charity provide services that aim to enhance the quality of life for serving and retired fire fighters, fire personnel and their families. This can range from recovery after an injury or support with mental health conditions. Kris and Blair will be at The Thistles Centre on Saturday October 21 to chat to shoppers and help promote their charity cause.