Friends from Loch Lomond will be embarking on a unique challenge to raise money for charity this month.

Fiona Flanagan, who runs a bed and breakfast in Balmaha, and singer-songwriter Dave Arcari, are hoping to raise money for Scottish Mountain Rescue with each of them covering 56 miles throughout the month of May.

But unlike the majority of fund-raisers walking, running or cycling, the pair are doing the challenge set by the charity – a mile for every rescue call-out per month – on a stand-up paddleboard on the waters of Loch Lomond.

Dave said: “Fifty-six miles doesn’t sound far, but it is when you’re on a paddleboard. It can be slow-going and weather dependant, so it will definitely take us a month to do it.

“The inflatable boards are quite susceptible to wind – and even when the water’s calm it’s usually slow going.”

He took up paddleboarding last November after Fiona encouraged him to give it a try and hasn’t looked back since.

The pair have agreed that if the weather isn’t favourable on Loch Lomond, Fiona and Dave will use the challenge as a good excuse to explore some of the smaller and more sheltered lochs within easy travelling distance.

For the pals to complete the challenge they’re hoping not only for calm weather, but it to coincide with their availability to go out on the water.

“We’re both self-employed,” said Fiona, who’s been paddleboarding for more than five years.

She added: “And while that brings us some flexibility time-wise, we’re both pretty busy.”

With their shared enthusiasm for the sport, they recently set up a Facebook group for residents and tourists living in – or visiting – Loch Lomond and the surrounding area, so they can share tips and advice, buddy up for trips or give those who haven’t been on a board the chance to try the sport for themselves.

They are hoping to raise £500 for the charity, and so far have raised 90 per cent of their goal.

To find out more information and to support Fiona and Dave’s fund-raising for Scottish Mountain rescue, visit