Drymen gym owner set to take on three-day West Highland Way challenge for village hall effort

A Drymen gym owner is set to take on a gruelling challenge to help efforts to save the village’s hall from closure.

The Observer reported last week of the struggles being faced by those in charge of the hall trying to keeping it going in the wake of surging energy bills and cuts in access to external funding.

They have issued an appeal for locals to get involved with fundraising efforts to save the building - which has been in the village since 1910.

And super-fit Michelle Eddleston, who runs Gym 63 in Balfron, has answered the call with plans to raise £1,500 by walking the 96 mile West Highland Way in just three days.

Her route plan is to tackle the 35-mile section between Milngavie and Inversnaid on day one, before another punishing 37-mile stretch between Inversnaid and Glencoe.

The final push is another marathon distance test — 24 miles — between Glencoe and Fort William.

Michelle, 34, has already completed the mammoth effort in four days — but admits she will be pushing herself to the limit to shave that down even further on her trek which will kick off on June 21.

She told the Observer: “I like the West Highland Way but doing it in four days pretty much broke me.

“I am one of those people that thinks it has to be a hard challenge to earn people’s money and I’m quietly confident!

“A lot of people are already doing a few things for the hall and I wanted to try and do something to get a big bit of money in from the outset.”

Hall coordinator Rowan Higgins said last week the facility could face closure in just four months if they are unable to secure the funding to keep things going — with electricity bills now topping £1,900 per month.

The hall’s committee are hoping for more help with fundraising efforts over the coming months to increase the facility’s income — with the village already reeling from the loss of the library in recent weeks.

Michelle added: “My family and I live in Drymen and the hall is so well used by us, my kids go to youth clubs there and my mother also makes use of it for her crochet club.

“It’s supported locally by young and old and to lose the library and hall at the same time would be a big blow.”