Gruelling challenge of coast to coast

Mike and Gill Ramsay, along with fellow cyclist Kathy Upton, are pictured with Robert at the end of their journey in Duthie Park, Aberdeen.
Mike and Gill Ramsay, along with fellow cyclist Kathy Upton, are pictured with Robert at the end of their journey in Duthie Park, Aberdeen.

TECHNICAL hitches, torrential rain, taking the wrong road and dealing with heavy traffic did little to dampen the enthusiasm of three local cyclists who successfuly completed a coast to coast bike challenge.

Gill Ramsay, her husband Mike and friend Kathy Upton completed the 300 mile course, arriving in Duthie Park, Aberdeen a week past Monday to be met with a warm welcome from Kirriemuir man Robert Carrie.

Robert was the inspiration for the cycling challenge as he is wheel-chair bound after suffering a stroke four years ago.

Gill, Mike and Kathy took it upon themselves to cycle from Ardnamurchan to Peterhead, before heading south to Aberdeen to the finish line to raise funds for a new power chair for Robert- but it wasn’t plain sailing!

On their first day they cycled 75 miles to Fort William enjoying the dry and sunny weather.

Gill explained: “There seemed to be more up hills than down so it was quite a tough cycle. Kathy’s bike computer, which tells you how many miles you have covered and how fast you are going, had come off her bike.

“She went back to look for it but to no avail.”

After purchasing a new one in Fort William it was a slightly later start on day two which again was but not so sunny, and with 12 miles to go to Aviemore the rain came pouring down!

After covering 67 miles that day the trio dried off at the youth hostel in Aviemore before heading off a week past Sunday to cycle to Turriff - again in pouring rain.

Unfortunately they took the wrong road and covered an extra 15 miles!

Gill continued: “We were all relieved to reach the Deveron Lodge Guest House in Turriff and received a very warm welcome from our hosts - not to mention a very warm shower!

“Day four was also raining. Waterproofs on and we cycled to Peterhead. We stopped off at McDonalds where we changed into dry clothes and had a much needed coffee. We then cycled to the lighthouse in Buchan Ness then on to Aberdeen, trying to avoid the A90 as the wind was very strong. It seemed like we were cycling at a 45 degree angle!

“The lorries passing us made it very difficult to stay on the bike (very scary!).

“We only had to cycle on the A90 for about a mile, then went through Cruden Bay, Newburgh then onto a B class road which took us into Aberdeen. The rain stopped as we reached Aberdeen after cycling 73 miles.

“We got a warm welcome at Duthie Park from Robert, his wife Maureen, Maureen’s dad and sister and Robert’s carer, Donna.”

In total they covered 300.2 miles to help purchase a new chair for Robert, who had run numerous marathons and worked as a charge hand at the Brechin Leisure centre until his stroke four years ago.

Gill says a special thank-you to Robert’s dad, Raymond, who drove the three cyclists to Ardnamurchan, the last 30 miles being a single track road with passing places, and picked them up in Aberdeen.