Julie’s Glasgow Challenge

JULIE MCELROY is to take part in the Great Scottish Run on Sunday 2 September 2012 which is sponsored by the Bank of Scotland.

Julie born was with Cerebral Palsy resulting in leaving her with speech, hearing and mobility difficulties. Despite this, she has never let anything stand in her way. The medical staff was quite vague about the future and could not predict the outcome. Doctor’s could not initially foretell if Julie could ever walk and her parents were advised to just wait and see. However, a remarkable outcome lay ahead in store for Julie and thus the beginning of many new varied ventures started to unfold determining possibilities beyond belief.

Julie says “the reason for undertaking my first 10K was the inspiration from the Evening Times ‘s Scotswomen of Year, the ladies decided to challenge my fitness further and the Editor’s impetus that inspired me to put this challenge into action”. She goes onto say “I decided to investigate whether they would allows disabled people to walk it as running isn’t my greatest strength at the moment due to the severe complexity of my walking gait and that was what got really the ball rolling”.

Julie will be accompanied by Jacqueline Mackenzie Robb who has worked with Julie previously as a Note taker at University of the West of Scotland. Jacqueline says “Julie is an inspiration to all society both to able bodied people and those with disabilities. It is with great admiration for her and confidence that she will continue with her ventures and grow and develop to achieve her aspirations and dreams. I have found and continue to find it a privilege working with Julie, and during this period, I believe Julie has many talents. The one that I have found to be the most outstanding is her talent to be able to motivate and inspire people for the benefit of society in all walks of life, and her sense of humour in which I can relate too”.

Julie goes on to quote “since I’ve seen the bestowed effect of keeping up my physical strength, it also give your confidence a boost” and for someone like her, she has encountered functional benefits of doing exercises and therefore an improved quality of life by engaging in regular resistance training (RT). She has confronted a renewed confidence which has inspired her to take her fitness to another level which has seen a dramatic improvement in her endurance and balance co-ordination.

I hope this event will demonstrate what disabled people can participate in even if it involves walking or power walking. This is an opportunity to be part of an fantastic event.

Editor Notes and Media Enquires:

• Evening Times, Scotland’s top selling evening paper, go to http://www.eveningtimes.co.uk


Second Wilderness Experience Success

The second disabled wilderness experience has taken place following the innovative outdoor project on Arran last year. The ‘Wilderness Weekend’ introduces disabled people to woodlands and green space.

The Disabled Wilderness experience took place in Kintail (19th – 22nd June 2012). Kintail encompasses 17,422 acres of beautiful West Highland scenery and includes the dramatic Falls of Glomach and the Five Sisters of Kintail. At 113 m (370 ft), the Falls of Glomach is one of the highest waterfalls in Britain, and is set in a steep narrow cleft in remote country. The Five Sisters of Kintail is a magnificent range of high hills. Four of the peaks are over 915m (3000 ft) high.

The brainchild of this project was Julie McElroy who has Cerebral Palsy has resulted in walking difficulties, speech and hearing impairment along with manual dexterity problems. Despite this, she has led an active life. Julie was inspired to initiate this project to encourage more people with disabilities to access woodlands and green space.
Group at Kintail

Delivered in partnership by The National Trust for Scotland they worked with Scottish adventuress Julie McElroy to develop the second Wilderness Experience, which saw the group taking part in a range of outdoor activities including sea-kayaking, conservation work of tree planting and environmental arts.

Robert May, Community Partnerships Coordinator and Julie were joined by the supported staff of the National Trust for Scotland: Willie Fraser and Rule Anderson and volunteers’ staff, John Kellas and Jeanette Gray.

The Community Partnerships delivers environmental projects within the communities to all strands of equality, diversity & inclusion.

This wilderness project is designed to enhance the confidence of the participants and also increase their personal development, by allowing them the chance to take part in a series of tasks and adventures that they haven’t before. Also by helping raise awareness of the importance wild places and wild land for peoples health and well-being, the need to inspire more people to enjoy them (able bodied or disabled)”

Julie’s Olympic Flame

What a crazy 24 hours it has been which has been filled with fun, excitement, laughter from filming with Gavin from Glasgow2014 (Thursday 7 June). It was so enjoyable and the missionary task was made easier by the fact we were able to ‘click’ straightaway and gets on with filming my Olympic Torch story – a short trailer for Glasgow2014.

The Moment to Shine – Friday 8 June 2012
Julie & Jack

The atmosphere was incredible and Glasgow City Centre was absolutely mobbed. Friends and families turned out to support. Even faces from the past and presents were shouting my name ‘JULIE’! I was completely awestruck by the sheer scale of excitement that has enlightened the city. One of my friends put it ‘Seeing you was one of the most memorable events we have ever seen!   You looked fantastic!’ .

My slot couldn’t have been better, one of the very few torchbearers to take a stance alongside James McAvoy (Scottish Actor) and Des Clarke (Scottish Comedian) who handed the flame over to me.

I must commend Gavin Sturgeon for his strenuous efforts on Friday too. We’ve have an epic 24 hours beforehand filming my pre-Olympic Torch story which has been comprised with anticipation, fun and laughter. It can’t be easy when running along to keep up with pace of the torch, even my friends and families spotted this guy in a blue t-shirt and I said that Gavin, my film crew! I am sure the credits to Gavin will be rewarded after editing my pre Olympic Torch trailer to be release very soon.

This has been another busy year and we are only half way through and still much more to come – all will be announces in due course.

Moreover, I must thanks David Stocks of Disability Rights UK for nominating me and giving me the rein to carry such a prestigious honor and to leave a legacy for Disability Rights UK with London Olympics 2012.

Julie Carry the Olympic Torch

Julie, has been selected to take part in the Olympic Torch Relay on Friday 8 June 2012. She will carry the torch 300 metres through Glasgow city centre to celebrate the 2012 London Olympics.

Julie was nominated to be a torch bearer by Disability Rights UK, an organisation led by disabled people to help those with a disability or health conditions to participate equally as citizens.

Julie, who is one of Disability Rights UK’s 700 leadership and empowerment graduates, said: “It is an honour to carry the torch in my home city. When I was nominated, I didn’t give it much thought. I am extremely honored to have the privileged to carry the torch during the Olympics, this is a rare and prestigious opportunity. I can’t wait to soak up the atmosphere on the day.”

David Stocks, Leadership and Development Manager of Disability Rights UK, said: “I nominated Julie as an Olympic Torchbearer for her outstanding achievements since graduating from Disability Rights UK leadership programme

“Julie has campaigned for her local school and taken on numerous challenges, including crossing the Andes, championing what can be achieved with a disability. She has also delivered an inspirational speech at a Disability Rights UK leadership event, that was one of the best received speeches I have ever heard. Julie is a role model for other disabled people and a very deserving Olympic torchbearer.”

Disability Rights UK in partnership with Visa, Olympic and Paralympic Games sponsor have launched of ‘Doing Sport Differently’ in Scotland.

Disability Rights UK has been formed through a unification of Disability Alliance, Radar and National Centre for Independent Living on 1 January 2012. The aim is to be the largest national pan-disability organisation led by disabled people.

Disability Rights UK have paired up with RADAR’s Leadership graduate, Julie McElroy to promote this latest publication in the series of ‘Doing Life Differently’ – ‘Doing Sport Differently’ in Scotland.

Julie is a young Scottish woman living with hearing, speech and mobility impairment as a result of cerebral palsy but refuses to let her disability led an active life and last year supported the ‘Doing Sports Differently’ by contributing her story.

Julie has a long standing association with Disability Rights UK formerly RADAR, David Stocks, Head of Leadership and Empowerment at Radar, said ‘Julie is one of Radar’s first leadership graduates and one of the most outstanding.  She is a role model to other disabled people, constantly challenging herself to achieve even greater success and through her challenges break boundaries and misconceptions surrounding disabled people.

We really are aiming the publication at disabled people who do not engage with exercise or sport in any way and hope to use the guide as a way of encouraging them back into fitness and exercise related activity.

Disability Rights UK in partnership with Visa, Olympic and Paralympic Games sponsor have launched of ‘Doing Sport Differently’ – a guide to exercise and fitness for people living with disability or health conditions and the first-ever guide to sport written by disabled people, for disabled people. http://www.radar.org.uk/people-living-with-health-conditions-disability/doing-life-differently/doing-sport-differently/

Here is a link to the Doing Life Differently guide online.  http://www.radar.org.uk/people-living-with-health-conditions-disability/doing-life-differently/doing-sport-differently/



  1. Disability Rights UK has been formed through a unification of Disability Alliance, Radar and National Centre for Independent Living http://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/
  2. Royal Association for Disability Rights – We are a pan-disability organisation led by people with lived experience of disability or health conditions. We work in broad partnerships to have the widest impact. http://www.radar.org.uk/


Scottish adventuress Julie McElroy is back with another Wilderness Project. This follows on from the resounding success of the inaugural event in an innovative new  programme, which aims to encourage more people with disabilities to access woodlands and green space and develop a meaningful connection to the beautiful natural landscapes Scotland has to offer.  Having whisked six participants off to the beautiful Isle of Arran first time round, to experience the lush surroundings of the National Trust for Scotland’s Brodick property,  Julie has once again teamed up with the NTS to serve up another helping of outdoors adventure, this time in the magnificent, breathtaking landscape of its Kintail property in the northwest Highlands.  The estate truly is a gem in the Scottish natural environment, taking in the Falls of Glomach (Britain’s highest waterfall) and the Five Sisters of Kintail

The  project, due to take place in June, from the 19th to the 22nd 2012 will see disabled participants take part in a range of outdoor activities including a little taste of the kind of conservation work that is such an important aspect of the Trust’s work.

Julie is on the lookout for people to get involved in this exciting opportunity.  Participants must be aged 18 and upwards and be able to commit to all four days of the project.

Robert May from National Trust for Scotland said:
“The National Trust for Scotland is proud to be working with Julie on this project and supporting the campaign to improve access to the outdoors for those living with disabilities.  The last project we ran together was a great success and we can only get better, especially by going somewhere as stunning as Kintail.

We really see the Trust and its properties as being open to absolutely everyone and we relish the opportunity to continue to open our doors to an ever wider representation of Scotland’s community.”

A keen adventurer, Julie was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when she was a child and is eager to help more people with disabilities experience the advantages of the outdoors.

She added:
“I have always had a love of the outdoors and I was really delighted about getting this project off the ground for the second time. Kintail will be more stimulating and interesting for the disabled participants.

“This course is designed to enhance the confidence of the participants and also increase their personal development, by allowing them the chance to take part in a series of tasks and adventures that they haven’t before.”

Notes to news editors

The National Trust for Scotland is one of Scotland’s leading conservation charities, which relies on the financial support of its members to fund its important work of caring for the natural and cultural heritage of Scotland for everyone to enjoy. The Trust cares for a range of sites on Arran, including Brodick Castle and Country Park and Goatfell.

BBC SCOTLAND: The Adventure Show

BBC SCOTLAND – ‘The Adventure Show – ‘Strathpuffer’

Featured: Julie McElroy

The Strathpuffer programme, which includes the feature with Julie McElroy, will be broadcast on: Tuesday 13th March at 1900 – BBC 2 Scotland; Sky 990; FreeSat 970; Virgin (don’t know the channel) and iPlayer.

Adventure Show Series 7 Programme 8 – Strathpuffer 24: 2012

In the middle of winter, with 17 hours of darkness, 500 competitors head north of Inverness for one of the world’s toughest mountain bike races, the Strathpuffer 24 hour marathon. And once again, this year conditions are testing – as we follow the hardiest of competitors – the solo riders.

Also in this month’s Adventure Show, we’ll be discovering the easy way to carry all your kit on a long distance bike ride. Cameron McNeish and Deziree Wilson will be heading into the hills to check out the latest gear that’s available. And we’ll be joining a remarkable woman, Julie McElroy who was born with cerebral palsy, but that hasn’t deterred her from following a life of adventure

Presenters: Dougie Vipond and Duncan McCallum
Producer: Margaret Wicks
Executive Producers: Richard Else and David Harron
Production for BBC Scotland