North Skye vintage vehicle run raises £3,000 for cancer research

On their marks: The tractors drivers line up at the starting point in Uig ahead of the fundraising run.

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.

A wheelie good turnout: Last Saturday’s event drew more than 30 participants including 22 tractors.
Spectators enjoyed the chance to wander among the vehicles at the finishing point at Columba 1400 in Staffin.

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.”

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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.”

Those were the days: Donald Murchison, home on holiday after a lifetime working overseas, has fond memories of a Morris Minor he used in Africa.

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.”

The classic cars proved a hit with spectators of all ages.

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.