Category Archives: Big Banana Relay

…And Over The Top

AB conquering Ben Nevis

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.

Day 2

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.

Day 3

‘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.

Day 4

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

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A Long way up

It was only a matter of time before the great British weather and gorilla sickness would thwart the banana’s progress. An ascent of Scafell Pike and a spot of rock climbing had to be abandoned and it was left to gorilla Matt to run the 7 miles uphill from Keswick to Whinlatter, having first experienced the thrilling Zip Trekking at Grizedale Go Ape.

But now, with the next leg heading up to Glasgow, things were getting serious – 140 miles, more Northern weather, two bikes and a head wind all the way. After a normal day at the ‘office’ our intrepid trio set off with Sam taking the first stint from Whinlatter to Dalston in heavy rain on tiny country roads. Fortunately, Clair the Navigator was on hand all the way to prevent 140 miles turning into 280. Josh took the second leg having first waxed for money (video footage to prove it!) and it was 9.30pm before the all important carbs-and-beer refueling could take place in a Kirtlebridge hostelry.

The next day dawned bright and sunny which went some way to alleviate the pain of 45 miles of bumpy Scottish roads. So with a sore backside at the end of his leg, quite literally, Sam was more than happy to hand over to Josh again for the route-finding challenge that was the ride through the outskirts of Glasgow. Ok, so there may have been a few extra miles thrown in but hey, it’s for charity.

In a final act of solidarity our duo joined forces to carry the banana to the Teenage Cancer Trust unit in the city, finally relinquishing all responsibility for the fruit to Dan. From here the banana is about to embark on its most grueling adventure yet – higher than the Eiffel Tower… more arduous than Mt Toubkal… yes, even more hairy than a gorilla wedding – WATCH THIS SPACE!

 

Rivington Scoot across to Grizedale

Main Image

With the Banana safely delivered from Buxton we wanted to try to undertake as many fun things as we could during its time with us. We wanted to give the Big Banana a traditional summer holiday so where better than a trip to the Las Vegas of the north, Blackpool. We started our day at Blackpool Zoo and had our photos taken with the gorillas and Orang-utans. A number of high fives, photos and scared people later we made our way to Blackpool Model Village. As the giant gorilla rampaged through the town he was eventually apprehended and locked away in the local prison. The gorilla and banana made their way down the world famous Blackpool promenade using various modes of transport including a RNLI lifeguard quad bike, horse and cart and a Blackpool donkey. We also took a ride on the dodgems and had a lark about on the beach. A full day of seagulls, sunshine and sandcastles later the gorilla and banana went home for a well earned sleep.

The following morning it was an early start as the Gorilla and banana hiked up Rivington pike in the early morning mists. Setting off at 6.30am they then returned for a busy weekend of bake sale and raffle ticket selling and had a lot of fun with people on the course. The banana and Gorilla made time for a ride on a Lambretta scooter with their bike loving gang where they chased a giant banana down the road.

On its final day the banana paid a visit to Manchester city centre riding the metrolink and visited the Museum of Science and Industry where they posed with some planes and had a look at ice climbing. They then rode on a tram and paid a visit to Media city in Salford, the home of BBC north, where Coronation Street and Blue Peter are both filmed, bumping into Tree Fu Tom from cbeebies. Whilst there, they rode on a boat along the Manchester ship canal. They also jumped on an old London Bus whilst visiting Manchester United’s Old Trafford football ground. The tired Gorilla then made its way to Grizedale for a grand handover of the big banana relay banana baton.

 

Rivington's Big Banana Leg

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A Grand Day out in Derbyshire

Buxton Big Banana Relay

With the banana safely delivered by Mario Cart from Delamere it was the turn of the Buxton guys and girls to get it further north. We started our adventure at site with the Tribe busily decorating a rather temperamental VW Campervan in preparation for its all important role as support vehicle. Much was done to promote what we were doing and why we were doing it to help raise as much as we could for the amazing charity – Teenage Cancer Trust.

Thumbing a lift and clutching a ‘To Rivington’ sign our Gorilla (aka Rob) hopped on a tandem next to human banana Lee, with the Camper (and support/photographer/fundraising bucket carrier/ driver Jeni) in hot pursuit.

Our first stop, Buxton’s Pavilion Gardens, saw us collecting donations from the lovely supportive (and rather amused) public. Then it was on to Goyt Valley and some rather steep hills getting some brilliant and scenic footage along the way. To add to our challenge and our adventure, the VW decided not to start – have you ever seen a gorilla jump start a vehicle? Now on our way again it was off to Whaley Bridge Canal Basin, collecting donations from the generous public as we cycled along the canal, before a visit to the Trafford Centre and more opportunities to promote the challenge.

In good spirits, and with a stretch of motorway ahead, it was ‘all aboard’ the Bananamobile. But for the second time it refused to start and the now very bemused Gorilla and Banana spent some time with their heads under the bonnet (do banana’s have heads?!). After a long, hot and entertaining Summer’s day we cycled to our final destination, tired, happy and proud of what we had done and for being part of such a great event. The team at Rivington gave us a great welcome and the inflatable banana was officially handed over, one alpha male to another. Our mission was now complete.

Our grateful thanks go to Parsley Hay Cycle Centre for the loan of their reliable tandem, and to Jeni for her (slightly less) reliable Camper.

 

You can donate at www.justgiving.com/buxtongoape 

 

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