A 60-YEAR-OLD charity champion at Dunfermline Fire Station is spending his holidays in Italy this August.
But, rather than taking in the tourist attractions and embracing the local culture, Jock McInnes MBE is hiking up Europe’s largest active volcano - which exploded yesterday.
The same active volcano also erupted and caused 3,000-feet lava showers just last month.
Jock is not the slightest bit concerned, however, and he is looking forward to continuing his 20-plus years of charity work as he scales the heights of Mount Etna in his kilt in order to raise £2,000 for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service Family Support Trust (SCIO), a charity he spearheads in his role as a fundraising and engagement officer with the trust.
He told the Press: “I love a challenge. I’ll be flying from Edinburgh to meet a group of 10-15 others in Catania before transferring to Milazzo.
"They’ll be wondering what on earth is happening when I turn up in my kilt!
“I was originally wanting to go Petra in Jordan but that’s a bit too close to the Syrian border for my liking!
"So I decided on Etna in the end. I’m not really nervous that it’s an active volcano. I’ll pack my running shoes just in case it decides to blow when I’m there!
“I’ve been all over the place in this kilt. I wore it going up Mount Kilimanjaro and I’ll tell you something, it was cold!
"I also did a 70-mile trek in the Sahara Desert. The heat was unreal and sand was going everywhere as you can imagine.”
The former Black Watch soldier is no stranger to a challenge and he has fundraised for many charities over the years, raising more than £1.5 million in the process.
In May 2014, Jock completed the 5,642-metre hike up Mount Elbrus in Russia, Europe’s highest mountain, as well as embarking on a trek across the Gobi Desert in northern China.
A £2,000 total is this year’s target, a sum which SCIO would benefit from.
“It exists to provide financial and other support services to serving and retired fire service personnel and their families, who may require assistance in times of need.”
Before he jets off for the eight-day trip on August 28, he will tackle a couple of Munros, remembering to pack one key item in his bags for all his trips.
As a tribute to the ex-Black Watch servicemen and women who have passed away, Jock writes their names onto a Saltire flag which he carries with him on his travels.
He added: “There’s hundreds of names on the flag. No-one is left behind. They all come with me.”
Jock is looking for donations and can be reached by email on: firstname.lastname@example.org