A vintage vehicle run across north Skye on Saturday – which saw a procession of 22 tractors, eight cars and a retro MacBrayne’s bus travel between Uig and Staffin – has raised more than £3,000 for the local branch of Cancer Research UK.
The event began at the main car park at Uig and finished at Columba 1400 in Staff, where a raffle was held, and food was served for the participants and wider community.
The fundraiser brought a dash of colour and a smile to the faces of many on what was a dreich autumn day in the north of the island.
Ross MacKenzie, who lives in Hungladder, was part of the organising team for the event. He told the Free Press: “We thought if we raised £1,000 that would have been great – but we have trebled that.
“There was a brilliant turnout, it was beyond what we expected, I think we had 22 tractors, eight cars and a bus of course.
He added: “The generosity of people was great – they paid their fees of course, but they also gave extra, it was heart-warming to get that.”
Commenting on the community’s reception to the inaugural vehicle run, he went on to say: “There were certainly people supporting it, it was quite a wet day but there were folks looking out their windows. Kilmuir School pupils made a nice banner outside the school, they did that a few days before the run, so it was nice for people to see as they drove by.
“At the finishing line in Staffin we had about 100 people – there was a great turnout at the end
“We had food and a fundraising raffle – and a dumpling was auctioned off! People were very generous in making baked goods, and Robert MacAskill supplied the rolls. He also took part in the race in a little red mini – it was brilliant.”
Highlighting the purpose of the event, Ross said: “Catherine Budge and I were speaking, and she came up with the idea of doing a tractor run and so I became involved in it then.
She was the main driver for it, she is quite a woman.”
“I had kidney cancer in 2019, I had a kidney removed and I am now a lot better – but I think we are all affected by cancer – everyone knows someone who has been affected or is going through treatment.
“With the lack of fundraising chances last year, it was a good one to make strides with this.”
He added: “Alasdair and Helen Nicolson – who have raised so much for the local branch – were able to attend and were both over the moon and the amount it raised, and Roddy Beaton made a note of thanks on behalf of the Skye branch of Cancer Research UK.”
Catherine Budge said: “The atmosphere was just fantastic both at the Uig end and at the Staffin end. And we were oblivious to the rain!
“Jan’s MacBrayne’s bus took passengers on a nostalgic north end trip enjoyed by all too. There was a Garafad dumpling auctioned for an amazing sum of £56!
“People’s generosity was apparent throughout the event, and Kilmuir Primary school’s colourful banner and three scarecrows gave all the participants a real boost!
“There was even a tractor that was bought in the 1950s by a north end crofter brand new for £750 from MacKay’s in Dingwall which was driven by his grandson on Saturday, who lives in Linicro.”
She added: “It will definitely become an annual north end event – by popular demand.”
Article by Adam Gordon and images by Willie Urquhart.