GB hockey coaches to dribble ball up Ben Nevis

Two hockey coaches will attempt to dribble a ball up Scotland’s highest peak, before repeating the feat in Wales and England.

Andy Halliday ready for the NOW Pensions Mountain Dribble. Picture: Contributed

Andy Halliday and Jon Bleby, manager and assistant coach of GB men’s hockey team, are to make the attempt over the course of just three days, starting at Ben Nevis in Lochaber on Tuesday.

The duo will then tackle England’s Scafell Pike and finally Snowdon in Wales. The Three Peaks Challenge will have them facing 11,000 feet of ascent and descent, covering the distance of a marathon.

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On average Andy and Jon will touch each ball fifty times a minute. This equates to approximately 72,000 touches of the ball for each dribbler.

Andy has already successfully dribbled the entire London Marathon in 2012.

He said: “Since I dribbled the London Marathon, I have been searching for another extreme hockey dribbling challenge that will push us to the very edge of our limits.

“The Three Peaks Challenge is a gruelling experience for a fit walker when the weather is fine, adding the task of dribbling hockey balls in such a hostile environment will stretch us mentally, technically and physically. This is an immense challenge for both of us.”

Andy and Jon, with the support of NOW: Pensions, the sponsor of the GB men’s hockey team and the men’s hockey league, are raising money for WellChild and Access Sport, two child-focussed charities.

WellChild is a national charity working to ensure the best possible care for the thousands of young people living in the UK with a long-term or complex health conditions.

Access Sport supports community sports clubs, and as part of their disability work helps mainstream hockey clubs to become more inclusive.

The charity has helped set up youth schemes such as ‘Forest Flyerz’, a grassroots initiative providing the opportunity for disadvantaged and disabled youths to access sport.

Andy said: “I have seen first-hand the fantastic work of both of the charities. WellChild provides essential nursing support for seriously ill children and their families. It really makes a difference to so many lives.

“Access Sport opens up opportunities for disadvantaged and disabled young people. I have been lucky enough to be a part of a growing hockey legacy project for young people in Newham. The difference it has made to so many has been staggering.”

Barry Middleton, Captain of the GB Men’s Hockey team said: “I think they are mad. This is an extreme challenge, one not for the faint-hearted.

“However, they are doing it for two very worthy causes, and I know myself and all of the GB team will be thinking of them and supporting them throughout.”