Ex-soldier Jock McInnes, whose charity expeditions have taken him around the globe, has tackled some of his toughest terrain yet during a week-long mountain trek in Thailand.
He battled crippling heat, mosquitoes and blood-sucking leaches while carrying a picture of his treasured friend with him in his sporran.
The 67-year-old from Scone, Perthshire, who has raised in excess of £2million over the years, took on the mission to help struggling boxers after stepping into an ambassador role previously held by former world lightweight champion Ken, who passed away earlier this year.
Jock said: “This one was really challenging and touched my heart because I knew who I was doing it for and the cause behind it.
“I always asked Ken to go with me on one of my adventures but he always said ‘you go on without me’. This time I took him with me in my sporran.
“When I got up to the top and looked down I thought ‘he must’ve reached down and pulled me up a bit’.”
Jock, who previously served in the Black Watch, Royal Highland Regiment, was honoured by the Queen with an MBE in 2014 for his services to charity having dedicated the last 20 years to his causes.
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The grandfather-of-two has taken on some of the most treacherous challenges in the world, including walking through the Sahara and Gobi Desert and climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Elbrus in Russia.
Jock struck up a special 40-year friendship with Leith-born boxer Ken as a young man. They holidayed and went on many trips together and Jock visited him every fortnight in a care home as he struggled with dementia before his death in April, aged 77.
Ken, who won two world titles in the 1970s, had spoken publicly about his past issues with alcohol and was an ambassador for Ringside Charitable Trust, which provides aftercare to fighters struggling mentally, financially or with addiction or health issues.
Jock stepped into Ken’s shoes after he died to carry on the role and raised thousands of pounds for the charity when he completed his latest mission in the jungles around Chiang Mai, northern Thailand, last week.
He said: “It was very humid and we did a lot of river crossings. Some of them were over the kilt up to my waist.
“Heat-wise it was one of the toughest and I’ve done the Sahara. It wasn’t as high as some of the mountains I’ve taken on but it was really challenging because I had to carry my kit on my back.
“My legs are all bitten to bits by the mosquitos and my ankles are still swollen. A couple of the group got bitten by leaches. I was lucky because I was swimming in the kilt, but I got away with it.
“The places we stayed were very basic because they were tribes. They had nothing but they were happy. They couldn’t have been better to us and were amazed by the kilt.
“We slept on mats on the ground covered by mosquito nets and just crashed out.
“We covered about 40-50 miles of really difficult terrain. We had to cover the ground in a certain time.
“The group were pretty young and marching on away in front. When it was getting tough I wished Ken was there to help me.”
Jock’s role as embassador for the charity sees him join the likes of boxing legends Anthony Joshua, Derek Chisora, and Frank Bruno.
He said: “I took over Kenny’s role and am doing my very best for them.
“I’ve raised a lot of money over the years. But I don’t do it for the money, I do it for the people.
“I’ve had people emailing me already saying ‘right what about next year Jock? Where are you going?’ I’ve barely even put my bag down.
“It’s a bit like being a sportsman I guess. You go as far as you can for as long as you can until injury and old age takes over.
“My future challenges may not be as demanding as they were in the past but there will always be another one. You can’t stop me.”
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