Fifteen oil and gas workers are swapping hard hats and laptops for walking shoes as they prepare to march 54 miles to raise funds for the British Army’s official charity.

The team from Serica Energy is currently training for ABF The Soldiers’ Charity’s Cateran Yomp, which challenges teams of soldiers, veterans and civilians to walk 22, 36 or 54 miles across the rugged terrain of the Perthshire countryside in less than 24 hours.

Participants will head off on the Cateran Trail in the foothills of the Cairngorm Mountains at 6am on Saturday 3rd June 2023, returning to Blairgowrie in the early hours of Sunday, June 4. Last year’s event raised just over £500,000 for soldiers, veterans and their families, with 630 participants travelling from as far as the U.S, Canada, Australia, Cyprus, Poland and the Netherlands.

The Serica Energy team, which includes staff from its Aberdeen and London offices, both on and offshore, is one of the largest corporate teams taking part in this year’s Cateran Yomp who will be led by Aberdeen-based Scott Wells, Lead Area scheduler. He will be joined by colleagues aged 25 to 60 in roles ranging from offshore technicians to senior management.

Mr Wells said, “When the Yomp came to our attention, we were inspired to pull a team together. Our people are at the heart of our business and we pride ourselves on encouraging an inclusive and forward-looking culture that encourages them to be all they can be. We are particularly proud to be joined by many ex-military colleagues eager to give back to ABF The Soldiers’ Charity.

“On a personal level, although I haven't been in the Forces myself, I've spent many an evening with friends who find it difficult to settle into civvy life and need a listening ear as there is not enough support out there. I like to push myself and set new goals, and I'm extremely proud of the funds my cycles, runs and rows have raised for charities over the years, but the Yomp will be the most challenging. Bring it on!”

Michael McIntosh, Production Technician, added, “I joined the Gordon Highlanders reservists in 1982, and many of my ‘Bydand Brothers' chose to join the regular army during the Gulf and Iraq wars. Some of those returned from conflict zones suffering from PTSD and with very little support from the Armed Forces they had served. I thought it was about time I stepped up to the plate to help raise awareness and funds for ABF The Soldiers’ Charity and the Yomp has given me that opportunity.”

Brian Langton, Mechanical Technician, said, “My mind sometimes takes me back to my time with the Royal Navy diving branch and the inexplicable death of a super fit colleague that, though never proven, was a suspected suicide. The devastation that caused to friends and family and the possibility of avoiding it with better support has stuck with me. Over the years, I have also observed people struggle with PTSD with little support. Since starting the training, I’ve seen how much physical and mental stimulation it gives me, especially since suffering a stroke in 2019. This has inspired my motto "stroke to 22 miles, it's not going to beat me!"

Serica is one of the UK’s leading independent oil and gas companies, producing from 11 fields with a balanced, growth-oriented portfolio in the UK North Sea.

Since 1944, ABF The Soldiers’ Charity has provided a lifetime of practical and financial assistance to soldiers, veterans and their families across the UK. During the financial year 21/22, the charity supported 65,000 people in 48 countries worldwide. Since its launch, the Cateran Yomp has raised over £4M for the charity, with donations funding everything from wheelchair ramps for the homes of soldiers, veterans and their families, to respite care and personal recovery plans for injured soldiers returning from the front line. This year’s event is sponsored by Famous Grouse, Dover Fueling Solutions and Arnold Clark.

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See pictured: Scott Wells in the foreground with some of the team.

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