Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

A real hero: Meet Les Binns, 2018 Cateran Yomp ambassador

Les Binns along the Cateran Yomp route in Perthshire.
Les Binns along the Cateran Yomp route in Perthshire.

Army veteran, hero climber, life-saver and ambassador of the 2018 Cateran Yomp. Gayle Ritchie meets Les Binns…

Dressed in a canary yellow down suit, Les Binns is marching up a hill in Glen Isla, breaking sweat as he goes.

I don’t realise it’s Les – the 2018 Cateran Yomp ambassador – until he stops to speak to a fellow walker. His broad Yorkshire accent is something of a giveaway.

Ahead of the Yomp in June, I’m doing a “mini yomp” with Les, 42, and the plan is to hike from Little Forter to Kirkton of Glenisla.

There’s a small group of yomp-trainees taking on the mere five mile route – worlds away from the gruelling 54-mile Yomp.

I have to ask – why is Les wearing a heat-trapping down suit in balmy Perthshire? He’s clearly roasting.

Turns out he’s just posing for pictures, showing off the custom-made gear he donned while taking on Everest earlier in the year.

Photo shoot done, he wipes his perspiring brow, swiftly changes into a more suitable technical jacket, and on we troop.

Les leads a mini yomp, ahead of the Cateran Yomp in June.

Don't miss out on an early bird place for the 2018 Cateran Yomp! What are you waiting for? Sign-up today!

Posted by The Cateran Yomp on Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Having completed Yomp 2017 – a week after attempting to summit Everest – Les will be motivating yompers along the 2018 route.

“In my time as a soldier and a civilian, I’ve taken on many challenges, both physical and mental, but the Cateran Yomp is up there with the best!” he beams.

“Last year, I paired up with a guy called Jack McNeive. I usually do a 50-mile Ultra in around 12 hours but due to my deteriorated state (after the Everest attempt) and Jack getting injured, it took 21.”

Les, 42, from Rotherham, South Yorkshire, was in the Army for 13 years, serving in Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan, and was blown up four times.

In 2009, he was injured by an IED (improvised explosive device), leaving him permanently blinded in one eye.

Les when he was in the army.

Since being medically discharged from military service in 2010, Les suffered from PTSD and got a grant from the Soldiers’ Charity to retrain in electrical engineering.

Having always loved the outdoors, he found the best medicine was to head into the mountains.

Taking on Everest for the first time in 2016, he heroically abandoned his climb just 500m from the summit, turning round to save a fellow mountaineer who was sliding towards almost certain death.

“As my Sherpa and I reached a point below Everest’s famous Balcony, I remember thinking how close we were to the summit,” Les recalls.

“But everything changed when I saw a climber hurtling down the mountain towards me out of control, screaming.

“I had to quickly rugby tackle her until I got a good grip of her. She was in a bad way.

“Her hands were black and swollen and she was suffering from severe frostbite. Her oxygen supply had run out and her speech was slurred.”

Les during his Everest attempt.

Les didn’t think twice about abandoning his mission to reach the summit. “I wasn’t going to let this woman, Sunita Hazra, die,” he says.

Clipping himself to Sunita, whose condition was rapidly deteriorating, they descended to Base Camp.

She was suffering from high-altitude cerebral edema (swelling of the brain), and with snow coming in thick, progress was difficult.

On the way down, they came across another exhausted climber, Subash Paul, who had been part of Sunita’s expedition.

Les endeavoured to get everyone to safety but with Sunita and Subash collapsing, and Les himself falling into waist-deep crevasses, they risked being dragged down the mountain.

“The Sherpa made his way back to camp. I was going nowhere and left with no other option, began dragging Sunita and Subash towards the fixed line.

“That’s when I slipped. In a few seconds I fell about 30m, yet somehow stopped myself. Then all hell broke loose. Subash skittled, he skittled Sunita, then she toppled me. It was terrifying.

“As I slid down the mountain, I thought ‘get ready for the silence – you’re going to die’.”

By some miracle, Les managed to dig a crampon into the ice and thanked his lucky stars Sunita and Subash had come to a halt.

Knowing he couldn’t rescue them both together, he started dragging Sunita’s deadweight body behind him until they reached his tent.

“I used ginger tea to warm her hands and put them in mittens and into the sleeping bag.

“As I lay beside her, I could hear Subash’s screams, but after nine hours of attempting to rescue the couple, I was frozen solid and totally spent. I knew I couldn’t go back.”

Sunita made a full recovery and for his life-saving actions, Les was awarded the Silver Medal by the Royal Humane Society.

Sunita Hazra, the climber Les rescued from certain death.

Subash, however, wasn’t so lucky. He made it through the night and was rescued but didn’t survive the descent.

“I regret not being able to do more for him. That will stay with me forever, but I did all I could,” laments Les.

Despite the ordeal, Les was determined to attempt Everest again, and did so in April. Sadly his mission was once again aborted because of bad weather.

Would he try a third time? “If I got the chance, yes, definitely,” he nods. “I know I’m strong enough to summit.”

Les during his 2017 Everest attempt.

For now, Les is training for the Montane Spine Race, a gruelling 268-mile winter mountain marathon along the Pennine way, kicking off on January 13. Eek!

He’s excited – and honoured – to be Yomp ambassador and has some great tips for training.

“You need to tune your body into travelling long distances and over undulating terrain,” he says.

“I try to run four miles a day and get up onto the hills once a week. I recommend hill walking while carrying weight in your rucksack.”

Don’t make the mistake Les made last year by wearing only one pair of socks. “My feet were like cauliflowers!” he laughs.

“No matter what, your feet will get wet. So bring spare socks, a blister kit and foot powder and use the medics and sports massages at checkpoints.

“And remember, you’re capable of much more than your body will tell you.”

Mini Yomp

Some brilliant Yomp coverage from Forces Network and Forces News!Last week they joined us for a taster of the Yomp trail along with True Grit Events, Little Scottish One, Adventures in a Kilt and ABF The Soldiers' Charity beneficiary Les Binns.A cracking day it was too!

Posted by The Cateran Yomp on Monday, 13 November 2017

Les gives Gayle some top tips on training for the Yomp.

There will be many things to keep yompers going when they’re struggling – amazing people with incredible stories, stunning scenery, and the fact they’re raising funds for the Soldiers’ Charity, which supports soldiers, former soldiers and their families.

“When I needed help, the charity gave me the opportunity to gain a trade and tools to earn a living,” says Les.

“PTSD is one of the most horrible experiences of my life. My first experience of it was in 2007 when I narrowly missed driving over two Russian anti-tank mines in Afghanistan.

“The second vehicle in our convoy wasn’t so lucky and took the full brunt of the blast.

“No-one was seriously injured but that night I had a dream that the Taliban placed a bomb under my feet and it detonated – truly traumatic.”

Worse was to come in 2009 when Les was in patrol in Afghanistan. An Afghan soldier stepped on an IED, killing himself and two others, and the blast and shrapnel hit Les in the face, wrist and leg.

He was left blind in one eye and suffering from PTSD while a previous explosion had left him with a ruptured ear drum.

Les was later awarded a Queen’s Commendation for Bravery for his role looking after casualties and becoming one himself.

On leaving the army, he thought he was “okay” but he couldn’t have been more wrong.

“I’d be watching TV or having a pint and I’d break down in tears for seemingly no reason. I had recurring nightmares, usually involving bombs, and I’d wake with my heart racing.

“I became short tempered and lost count of how many mobiles bit the dust when I lost my rag over nothing.”

Les leading the mini yomp.

Les combatted this by running and climbing, which he found a great way of venting off, and getting rid of negative energy.

Having completed the Yomp, he’s experienced the fantastic sense of achievement, increased tenfold in the knowledge that his effort has supported an amazing charity.

“Feeling the coveted Yomp medal round your neck makes all the hard work worthwhile! The mud washes away, the pain and blisters subside but the memories last forever.”

The Cateran Yomp is a fantastic – but gruelling – event on June 9.


Cateran Yomp 2018 takes place on June 9. The adventure will see teams starting in Blairgowrie and hiking a breathtaking circular route through Kirkmichael, the Spittal of Glenshee and Kirkton of Glenisla. You can choose between a 54, 36, or 22-mile route.

It’s a unique opportunity to experience some of Courier Country’s finest scenery while raising vital funds for ABF The Soldiers’ Charity.

Last year a record-breaking 1,150 people signed up for the endurance event. To sign up for the Yomp, see