Fife women launch 175-mile Outer Hebrides cycle challenge for Parkinson’s

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Two women from Fife have raised over £1000 on a 175-mile cycle challenge around the Outer Hebrides.

Janet Kerr and Isabel Reid, from Lochgelly, set off last Saturday on their eight-day adventure.

Janet, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2016, has previously cycled the NC500 to raise funds for Parkinson’s UK in Scotland.

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After having discussions with friend Isabel, she set out to on another momentous challenge.

Janet Kerr and Isabel Reid set off last Saturday on their 8-day adventure.Janet Kerr and Isabel Reid set off last Saturday on their 8-day adventure.
Janet Kerr and Isabel Reid set off last Saturday on their 8-day adventure.

Both got to work on the logistics and weren’t put off by lack of hotel availability as they decided to take tents and camp on some evenings.

The duo are members of a cycling group called Belles on Bikes which encourages women to get out cycling, and helps to build up their confidence.

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They were dropped off at the Oban ferry to Castlebay and pitched their tents. They’ve been on the move ever since and will return to Ullapool on Sunday to complete their journey.

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Janet Kerr and Isabel Reid  on their journeyJanet Kerr and Isabel Reid  on their journey
Janet Kerr and Isabel Reid on their journey

Janet’s husband Gary said: She likes to push herself and this came up when they were having a chat about the Outer Hebrides so they decided to give it a go.

“They put it together fairly quickly - within two weeks they were almost booked up - but struggled with some accommodation so they decided they would take tents which is making their load on the bike quite heavy.

"Janet took on the challenge of organising the trip which was no mean feat. It meant booking ferries, accommodation and planning the route as well.

“It probably took her about five days to get the whole thing organised and they both set off last Saturday. They had a five-hour journey on the ferry from Oban across to Barra and her friend had sea sickness.

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"The first night they went to pitch their tent and it was blowing a gale. They managed it but they didn't get any sleep at all and were cycling the next day. When they got to the next place they managed to get a space in a bed and breakfast where the owner gave them a discount when he heard they were doing it for charity.”He said it was a huge feat for Janet who struggles to walk well - cycling gives her a bit of freedom and a chance to clear her mind.

He added: “She's doing something that's fun and is helping manage her symptoms with the exercise.

“And she's got a really steely determination when it comes to things like this. She never wants help - she'll always want to do it herself until she can't do it."

James Jopling, Scotland director at Parkinson’s UK, said: “I had the pleasure of meeting Janet just before she set off. She has set herself yet another amazing challenge in support of Parkinson's UK.

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“As someone with Parkinson's herself, it is remarkable to see her commitment to changing things for the better for others too.

“We are extremely proud of her. I want to thank Janet and Gary and her family and friends for their amazing support and long may it continue.”

You can donate to Janet and Isabel’s JustGiving page aty

You can follow Janet and Isabel’s progress on their Facebook page

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