Heading out from the Teenage Cancer Trust Unit in Yorkhill, Glasgow, ‘Wee’ Pete Scullion had 101 miles of tarmac between himself and day ones objective, Fort William. Grey skies soon delivered cold, steady drizzle, interspersed with a hot, high sun. Pete reached the 55-mile mark at Tyndrum in 4 hours dead and took on some much needed fuel for the climbs ahead. The Tyndrum and Black Mount climbs behind him and reaching the top of Rannoch Moor, the rain set in and soon visibility fell to 100m. Not ideal cycling conditions! After a brief stint in the support car with Dan (site manager) and ‘Big’ Pete, heaters on full blast, ‘Wee’ Pete enjoyed a fast, sunny blast through Glencoe along the flat lochside to Fort William. 8 hours and 10 minutes later, ‘Wee’ Pete made it to Fort William and didn’t even chew his dinner.
‘The big one’. Both Petes set off up the UK’s highest peak, ‘Wee’ Pete with bike in tow, holding ‘Big’ Pete up just a bit. After a lot of confused looks from walkers in both directions, and just under 4 hours later, the Big Banana reached the summit with a whip of snow to greet it. After a brief lunch stop in the icy conditions well into the clouds, the Petes set off towards the North Face car park. ‘Wee’ Pete got a good head start down to the lochan before the path deteriorated and Pete Cox’s mountain experience saw him take the lead. ‘Wee’ Pete made the North Face car park after a brief bog-hopping and over-the-bars incident, inhaled some lunch, swapped bikes and made his way towards Aviemore. Thankfully, the going was smooth and fast, and ‘Wee’ Pete made the 65 miles good in 4 hours on the button. All this speed was fuelled by the promise of a day off and Aviemore’s infamous Mountain Cafe.
‘Big’ Pete’s time to shine, being more than happy in the middle of nowhere surrounded by mountains. While Dan and Pete took more fuel on board, surrounded by the thunder of the international Harley Davidson meet, ‘Big’ Pete made his way over the Cairngorm plateau past the UK’s second tallest peak, Ben MacDui. Further down the Lairig Ghru, Pete had to ford the River Dee and the Derry Burn, the bridges that crossed both had been washed away in storms the previous weeks. Dan and ‘Wee’ Pete met Pete at the Linn of Dee car park after pulling over to let HRH The Queen, Prince Harry and pals en route to the pick-up point. ‘Big’ Pete had kept up the pace of the previous two days, coming in well ahead of schedule, a mere 5 hours 45 minutes after setting off, and a full 6 hours faster than the guidebook suggests.
The shortest and easiest day thankfully. 42 miles from Braemar to Crathes Castle, just east of Banchory. ‘Big’ Pete would join ‘Wee’ Pete for this final leg on the bikes. Another flat gallop along Royal Deeside, past Balmoral Castle and Royal Lochnagar meant the pace was high, average speed a constant 29kph. A short, sharp climb seen on the route profile the night before never materialised and ‘Wee’ Pete even overtook a car coming down the hill into Ballater. Both Petes reached Crathes Castle in 2 and a half hours, again, well within the time planned for, minds soon turning to massive quantities of food and sleep, and how to better that leg next time around!
Both Petes would like to send a big thank you to Go Ape and Teenage Cancer Trust for giving us a very go reason to ride and run themselves into the ground, Dan Bruce for ferrying us about Highland Scotland providing logistics for the trip, TheCycleJersey.com for helping us look the part and allowing us to represent for the whole trip, The Braemar Lodge Hotel for looking after us, and finally, to everyone who followed our progress on social media, offered us encouragement and to everyone who donated to our challenge and helped us reach our target the day after we finished.
Go Ape Aberfoyle would also like to say a special thanks to Cafe Lochan for donating 20% of all profits from their Go Ape Woodchip Wedges sold!
(ps …and Go Ape would like to thank both Pete’s and Dan for going ‘above and beyond’ for charity!)
You can still show your support and donate at justgiving.com/goapeaberfoyle
Aberfoyle conquer Ben Nevis