Munro climbing dog in calendar for mountain rescue charity

A rescue dog with 10,000 Twitter followers is to star in its own calendar as part of a fundraising campaign for a mountain rescue team.

Blaze the four-year-old collie made it through to the finals of the VisitScotland Ambassadog competition earlier this year.    Picture: Steve Millar
Blaze the four-year-old collie made it through to the finals of the VisitScotland Ambassadog competition earlier this year. Picture: Steve Millar

Four-year-old Border Collie, Blaze, has been captured on camera, in a succession of stunning images around Scotland.

Blaze is a bit of a celebrity in his own right in his home town of Portree, where he entertains the tourists with his tricks. Owner Steve Millar has published the photos in a calendar which will raise funds for Skye Mountain Rescue Team.

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Big names, like author Ian Rankin and TV presenter Kate Humble, are lining up to sign special editions of the calendar which will be auctioned on Blaze’s birthday in November.

A picture to be used in the 2017 calendar. Picture: Steve Millar

The top dog has completed over 80 Munros with his mountain mad owner Mr Millar, 59, who said: “I have been blessed with a dog that is very photogenic, but I got him to be a mountain dog, he has got his own ropes and harness.

“It took two years to find him because, if you climb, the last thing you want is a dog that chases sheep. I trained him as a rescue dog, although we haven’t worked with any mountain rescue team.

“I work him on the hill as I know the rescue dog procedures, but he is not used as a rescue dog as I can’t keep up with the rescue team guys that are 40 year olds.

Steve Millar with his his dog, Blaze. Picture: Steve Millar

“The calendar, to raise funds, is my way of helping out, as you never know when you might need them.”

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Oor Blaze Fae Skye is the title on the dog’s Twitter page, where he has acquired followers from all over the world, while a host of celebrity fans have vowed their support for the calendar.

Mr Millar said: “I have absolutely no idea how he got 10,000 followers on Twitter, it just grew wings.

“Celebrities, including John Mahar from The Buzzcocks, actor Scott Kyle who was in Outlander, bike rider Danny MacAskill, singer Donnie Munro, Kate Humble and Phil Cunningham and Aly Bain are lining up to sign calendars which will raise money at a special auction on Blaze’s birthday, on November 11.

Blaze, who lives on Skye with owner Steve Millar, is the star of his own calendar to raise funds for the islands mountain rescue team. Picture: Steve Millar
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“I would appeal to any other celebrities who would be willing to sign a calendar to please get in touch.”

A print run of 1000 copies of the 2017 calendar are ready to sell, showing stunning shots which include Blaze posing on the peaks of Am Bodach Ridge in Glencoe, in front of a spectacular sunset at Broadford Bay, Skye and in a field of bluebells in Ballachulish.

Blaze and his owner arrived in Portree two years ago from their former home in Fife, to enjoy a week’s climbing but Mr Millar liked it so much they never left.

A picture to be used in the 2017 calendar. Picture: Steve Millar

He now works in The isles Inn, in Portree – while Blaze entertains the tourists with his tricks.

Mr Millar said: “He is a local tourist attraction, they love seeing him do roll-overs and with the ball, he also opens and closes door and turns on taps – and if the police come to do a pub check he stands against the wall to get frisked.”

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Blaze, whose photos in an earlier calendar raised £1,000 for Glencoe Mountain Rescue Team, was a finalist in VisitScotland’s search for an Ambassadog earlier this year.

Mr Millar hopes to raise £3,000 for the Skye team from the 2017 calendar which, for £8, can be posted anywhere in the world. Orders can be sent to Blaze at The Isles Inn, Portree.

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A picture to be used in the 2017 calendar. Picture: Steve Millar
A picture to be used in the 2017 calendar. Picture: Steve Millar
A picture to be used in the 2017 calendar. Picture: Steve Millar
Steve Millar with his his dog, Blaze. Picture: Steve Millar
Blaze, who lives on Skye with owner Steve Millar, is the star of his own calendar to raise funds for the islands mountain rescue team. Picture: Steve Millar
A picture to be used in the 2017 calendar. Picture: Steve Millar
A picture to be used in the 2017 calendar. Picture: Steve Millar
A picture to be used in the 2017 calendar. Picture: Steve Millar