Travel Broadens Athletic Opportunities in the Highlands

Published on: January 16th 2023

ATHLETES in the Highlands of Scotland have praised the benefits of a scheme that supports them to travel in order to access specialist training and national and international sporting competitions.

The Highland Athlete Travel Award Scheme (HATAS) opened for 2023-2024 applications in January, and previous benefactors have been quick to explain why it’s so beneficial to potential new recipients. 

The scheme allows up-and-coming athletes the ability to overcome some of the challenges they face, such as access to training and travel costs to competitions. It also gives athletes access to High Life Highland’s (HLH) leisure facilities across the Highlands. It is administered by HLH on behalf of Sportscotland, supporting performance or development athletes.

“Without the funding, it would have been harder to get the best opportunities to develop an athlete in my sport and attend the competitions that help me progress,” says Madison Croall, National Basketball Team member and Scottish Taekwondo Champion. “Getting access to the Highlife Membership scheme is a huge benefit, too; it means that I can go to the gym without having to worry about the cost.”

Madison’s positive experience is echoed by Highland athletics star, Stroma Fraser: “The Highland Athlete, Travel Award Scheme, has helped massively, and I’m very grateful for the support. I think it’s really important to share how much the scheme can help athletes in Highland.”

Another of those supported by the scheme is Thurso High School pupil Craig McLachlan, who made history by becoming the first-ever Scot to win the Junior British Surfing Champion this Year.

Craig said, “HATAS funding has allowed me to go to more training and competitions – I’ve been away so much this year – I wouldn’t have been able to do as much without the support of the scheme.”

James Slimon, Cross Country Skier and member of the British National Team added: “The High Life membership means I can train better in my local facilities and have money to help with travel as well as help with costs towards accommodation.”

Speaking about the scheme, High Life Highland’s Head of Sport Development Darren Reid commented: “As many athletes and sports clubs were returning to organised training and competition after the pandemic period, HLH was delighted to continue working in partnership with sportscotland to administer and deliver the Highland Athlete Travel Award Scheme, supporting 14 Athletes across the region.

“The Highlands has a wealth of talented athletes competing across a number of sports at national and international levels. For each of them, being able to perform and compete takes a supreme amount of dedication, not only from them but also from their family, coaches, schools and clubs, and HLH is delighted to play a small part in making this easier through this scheme.

“We are so proud of all the athletes who represent the Highlands on the national and international stage and hope the 2023 scheme will continue to support more of them to do so.”

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