240 miles – by bike, by foot and by boat

Eric and the team at the end of their journey.
Eric and the team at the end of their journey.

A Thornton father and son have mustered all of their energy and determination to conquer a gruelling 240-mile coast-to-coast challenge.

Eric Gourley (55), along with sons Stuart and Scott and nephew Christopher set out to complete the arduous trek from the Isle of Mull to Stonehaven just seven days.

But disaster nearly ended their efforts ... just one mile into the journey.

For two of the mountain bikes they were using as part of the walking, kayaking and biking challenge suffered serious mechanical failures, one in the first 100 metres.

“It nearly turned into a complete disaster but we somehow managed to get things going,” joked Eric.

“The elements were against us at time too, especially when we were in the water which made it especially difficult to paddle into a headwind. One one occasion three of us ended up capsized at the same time. We didn’t help ourselves by getting lost in the pitch dark up a mountain either. We ended up trekking six extra miles to find our way back,” he added.

Several days into the challenge, Scott and Christopher were forced to pull out due to a combination of injury and fatigue, leaving Eric and Stuart to carry on alone.

They completed the coast-to-coast journey arriving in Stonehaven seven days after the set off from Mull.

“I was surprised how fresh I felt and really could have carried on another day or two,” said Eric. “I’m not sure my toes would have been too pleased though as several had turned black and blue because of what I’ve put them through, but it was all for a good cause,” he added.

The team aims to raise around £3000 for Alzheimer’s charities.