Cyclists raise thousands in cross country ride

Ross organised the 'Lang Way Doon' event. (Pic: Walter Neilson)
Ross organised the 'Lang Way Doon' event. (Pic: Walter Neilson)

An Autchertool man has raised thousands for charity after cycling the length of Scotland in under 24 hours.

Ross Mitchell (39) organised and took part in the Lang Way Doon event, which challenged cyclists to ride from Tongue at the tip of the north coast to Coldstream at the English border – a distance of 325 miles – in less than a day.

In doing so, Ross raised more than £5600 for CHAS, which he described as “massively rewarding”.

With around 25 other cyclists taking part, it is estimated that around £15-20,000 was raised for various charities.

Ross explained that the idea behind the race was to create a challenge he was not sure was possible to do.

He said: “I’ve done lots of other races and challenges, but I wanted to set something up that I thought might not be possible, and I wanted to keep it local.

“Once I had the idea in mind, of cycling down Scotland, the question was: could you do it?

“I thought it was a challenge.”

The team set off from Tongue, cutting through the centre of the Highlands, before reaching Inverness.

Ross said he set out the route with the aim of avoiding the A9, which, after Inverness, meant cycling through the Cairngorms.

While the route took the group 325 miles, they also had to ascend over 6000 metres, which Ross described as “the real challenge”.

“When we went to Braemar it was tough, and then you’ve got to get to the top of Glenshee,” he said.

“That was probably when I found it the most challenging.

“We stopped at Blairgowrie for food, though, and that helped.

“But it was interesting because only one or two of us had done over 200 miles before, but we were all suffering at Glenshee.”

Once the group had tackled the Cairngorms, it cut through Perth and Fife, reaching South Queensferry early in the morning.

Ross said: “It was funny, at least personally, because I was bascially cycling past my front door, and we still had a long way to go. That was about 2am.

“There were a lot of surprised people leaving pubs, seeing a convoy of cars and cyclists going past.”

Ross added it was not until 30 miles from the end before the cyclists came to the realisation that they could beat the challenge.

The group arrived at Coldstream just before the 24 hour target, a moment Ross called “massively emotional”.

He added: “About 14 of us completed it, and we had become such a tight unit.

“There was a definite sense of accomplishment.”

Ross said that he will be “taking it easy for a while” as he recovers from the event, adding: “I’ll just be getting back to enjoying my cycling.”