Whisky pilgrimage raises over £5k for Burke and Hare actor’s charity

OVER £5000 has been raised for Scots film star David Hayman’s international charity Spirit Aid, following a summer of intensive distillery-visiting by the actor and friends.

“I’m absolutely thrilled,” said Hayman, who most recently starred in the John Landis feature film Burke and Hare. “This cash will be crucial in responding to an emergency in Milonde, Malawi where we have been setting up projects for the last three years. The community of 15,000 people which has no electricity, no running water and no sanitation has recently been hit by the worst storm in living memory. The roof of our recently built Youth and Community Centre was ripped off. Many homes were destroyed, one person was killed and many injured.  We have temporarily re-housed the families and are looking after them, but we will re-build all the homes as soon as we can.  This wonderful addition of funds raised by the Barnard Challenge could not have come at a better time. All of us at Spirit Aid give our heartfelt thanks to everyone; Tom, Vladimir, Rob and all the Distilleries who so kindly gave of their time, and whisky, to make it all possible”

The Barnard Challenge marked the 150th anniversary of legendary whisky author and traveller Alfred Barnard starting his journey to every whisky distillery in Britain and Ireland.

From 22 June until 5 August, actor David Hayman, broadcaster Tom Morton, comedian Vladimir McTavish and Rob Allanson, Editor of Whisky Magazine visited every whisky region in Scotland, as well as the distilleries in England, Wales and Ireland, in aid of the charity Spirit Aid .

The journey attempted to emulate Alfred Barnard’s feat, by visiting 50 distilleries in 2010 in order to raise as much money as possible for Spirit Aid’s humanitarian projects both in Scotland and internationally.

The team visited 49 distilleries and the Speyside Cooperage, collecting over 50 bottles of whisky on the way.  The fund raising effort climaxed at the Belladrum Festival near Beauly, where Tom, Rob and David all performed at the Co-op Verb garden’s mini whisky festival. And on 17 November, the donated bottles of whisky were auctioned at Bonham in Edinburgh.

Including donations received during the challenge, the total raised comes to £5,123.

Morton and Allanson, sponsored by Triumph Motorcycles, set a new record of seven days for visiting distilleries in England, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and Wales, plus the most northerly and southerly in Scotland. McTavish’s Edinburgh Fringe show Whisky – An Idiot’s guide was a major success.

Tom Morton said:

“I’m delighted that David’s charity was able to benefit to such an extent. I’d like to thank everyone for all the hard work they put in, and the distilleries for being so generous with their time and whisky. I’d also like to apologise to Triumph for breaking one of their motorbikes.”

The Barnard Challenge is likely to continue year by year.

“Rob and I may have set a record,” said Morton, “but it would be good to see folk making the same journey more slowly, but using different methods of transport. Perhaps elephants next year.”


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