Northumberland agronomist takes on one of the country’s toughest endurance races in support of farming charity

A Northumberland agronomist is taking on one of the country’s toughest endurance races in support of national charity The Farming Community Network (FCN).

Chris McClymont has set himself the goal of completing The Montane Spine Race (15th – 22nd January) and will be raising funds for and awareness of FCN – after attending a recent wellbeing training session from the charity and learning more about its work supporting farmers and farming families.

The Montane Spine Race, a non-stop, 268-mile UK mountain marathon, takes place each January, and attracts competitors from across the globe. This month, over 150 racers will tackle the iconic Pennine Way, starting in Edale in Derbyshire and finishing in Kirk Yetholm in the Scottish borders.

A true test of physical and mental resilience, the Spine Race, widely regarded as one of Britain’s most brutal endurance races, is now in its 11th year, and entrants are warned to expect ‘extreme weather, deep snow, ice, mud, bogs, ground water, storm force winds and driving rain’ during the 7-day race.

Father of 2, Chris, who grew up surrounded by the wild and beautiful Northumberland countryside near Morpeth, is no stranger to demanding terrain and sporting achievements. Last year, he cycled a 60-mile leg of the 420-mile ‘Mull to Hull’ expedition as part of a group of fundraising farming professionals.

Chris said: “I recently attended a training session given by an FCN team member. She discussed both the resilience shown by farmers during difficult times and the strong support for them from charities like FCN. I felt I could raise money and highlight this resilience and strength by competing in one of the toughest events in the country, where I’ll need both of these qualities and more.”

Chris, Secretary of Northumberland Arable Society, works as an agronomist for Agrii, and has been based at their Ponteland Depot for 13 years. His employers have given generously to his cause and supported his training schedule.

He added: “The difference that FCN volunteers make to the mental wellbeing of people in rural communities is incredible. I come into contact with people every day who could potentially receive confidential support from the charity, whether it’s a sympathetic ear or the offer to ‘walk with’ anyone seeking help. It’s so important.”

His participation in such a challenging event comes just a week after a survey of over 500 farmers and agricultural professionals, carried out by the Farming Help charities (FCN, Addington Fund and Forage Aid), in preparation for LAMMA 2023, revealed the aspects of UK agriculture they are most proud of.

These include resilience, community, and ‘the way farmers help each other in times of need’, summed up perfectly by his efforts, which will benefit farming communities nationwide.

A link to Chris’s JustGiving page is available Chris McClymont is fundraising for The Farming Community Network (

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