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2008 Bill Wallace awards announced

This Saturday (3rd of May) Tom Pendrey will pack his kayak with food, equipment and a solar panel and set off to paddle the length of the Western Isles to promote sustainable lifestyles. Committed to sustainable living, Tom’s 150 mile journey will leave little trace on the planet. Tom is one of three expeditions that are being sponsored this year by the John Muir Trust’s 2008 Bill Wallace Grant.

“Now in its second year the Bill Wallace Grant is for expeditions that raise awareness of and help to conserve wild places,” commented JMT Development Manager Dave Picken. “I wish this year’s adventurers the best of luck and hope that they have a great experience.”

In addition to Tom, two other awards were announced. Ilya Maclean has been awarded a grant to allow him to train rural Tanzanian villagers in bird identification and monitoring techniques. The Oxford University Tien Shan Expedition has been awarded a Bill Wallace Grant to travel to Kyrgyzstan, a former republic of the USSR, to make first ascents in an area that has not previously been visited by mountaineers. The Tien Shan mountain range that extends northwest through Kyrgyzstan and includes the two most northerly peaks over 7000m in the world.

The Bill Wallace Grant was set up following the sudden death in 2006 of Bill Wallace, one of the John Muir Trust’s guiding lights. Bill climbed extensively in Scotland and was involved in expeditions to South America, the Alps and Greenland in the 1950’s.

“We need new adventurers to follow in the footsteps of bravehearts like Bill Wallace,” concluded Dave Picken. “As well as having the trip of a lifetime the Grant encourages participants to help conserve wild places in Scotland or further afield.” The award gives between £500 and £2000 for wild places expeditions with an element of scientific or educational purpose. The deadline for next years’ grants is 15 January 2009.

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