Submitted to C & B News October 2018

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We have interesting speakers at our Rotary Club meetings every month but in September we were treated to something special.

On 5 September we welcomed Alice Hunter Morrison – a professional adventurer. Alice was born in Edinburgh but moved with her family to Africa where she lived until at the age of 11 she returned to Edinburgh for school and then Edinburgh University. Having turned 50 and after a career in journalism and then CEO of a quango, Alice took up a new career as full-time adventurer. She told how, having cycled from Cairo to Cape Town, she decided to run the Marathon des Sables in the Sahara and she never looked back. She now lives in Morocco.

She outlined some of her other experiences but concentrated with us on the Saharan challenge. The Marathon des Sables covers 156 miles of desert – 6 marathons in 6 days - running over sand and notably over huge sand dunes. There were 1100 runners of all nationalities, each having to carry their own equipment and food. All that was provided over the route was a daily allocation of 7 litres of water and salt tablets.

Alice’s next trip is a 100 mile trail round the base of Everest. She described this as a training event for yet another African challenge.

Have a look at her website. What a lady!

Then on 12 September we were treated to a presentation by 2 young international climbers, Aimee McRae and Louise Flockhart. Aimee and Louise are both pupils at Balerno High School where Aimee is Head Girl.

They gave us a joint PowerPoint presentation describing the different disciplines in the sport and showed a short film of a speed climbing event - and short it really was as the 2 climbers moved at a remarkable speed.

Louise started climbing at the Edinburgh International Climbing Arena at Ratho when she was just 8 years old. In her age group she is currently Scottish Lead and Boulder Champion and British Lead Champion. She has been selected to represent Great Britain at four European Youth Cup events this year. She came 7th in the first of these in Sofia.

Aimee is a relative newcomer to the sport having taken it up just 2-3 years ago but in that time she too has been selected for the British team. In her age group she is already 3rd for speed climbing and 10th for lead climbing in Britain and 16th in Europe and 30th in the world for speed climbing.

They each thanked the Club for the financial support we had given them but this occasion showed us how deserved that support was. What impressive young ladies.

(Later news: On 15 September Louise became Scottish Lead Champion and Scottish Speed Champion in her age group and Aimee became Scottish Speed Champion in hers.)

On 19 September – too late to catch this issue of C&B News - Ciara Simms was invited to tell us about her year at Kennesaw University in Georgia, USA as a Rotary Georgia Scholar; and on 26 September Hannah Robinson was to tell us about her Secret Edinburgh.

If you want to know more about our Rotary Club go to and look for our forward programme of speakers.