Banchory bikers complete 125-mile cycle

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Four Banchory mountain bikers have completed an off-road cycle from Fort Augustus through to Banchory raising funds for the Hill of Banchory Primary School.

The 125-mile cycle ride took them across the heart of the Highlands and Grampian ranges offering some of the most challenging riding and desperate weather all to raise funds for some new IT equipment for Hill of Banchory Primary.

The four men - Richard Batho, Scott Craig, Ian Welch and Wayne Bruce - completed the challenge in three days, and experienced mixed weather conditions.

Mr Welch said: “We came prepared for the worst and that’s what we got! The first two days saw driving rain and snow once we had climbed to 2000 feet and temperatures that made all the extremities cold very quickly!”

The route began with the team leaving Fort Augustus heading for the legendary Corrieyarack Pass. The climb starts steeply and continues for nine miles up to a height of 2500 ft where heavy rain turned to snow and meant the views were not too pleasant.

The journey then continued onto Laggan where a hot chocolate perked up spirits at the Laggan Wolf Trax. From Laggan onwards it was straight forward riding in the rain until the welcome sight of Kinguisse.

The team trek through Glen Feshie saw areas of the track being washed away into the river so the men negotiated their way along the Feshie with sometimes precarious river crossings to tackle. Quote of the day came from Wayne Bruce who was pleased “he had brought his snorkel along for the ride!”

Despite the dangers and with the snow closing in again, the team battled on and negotiated the notorious bogland, pushing and carrying the bikes for hours.

After all the hard work the cyclists finished the day with a welcome long descent along land rover tracks into Braemar along the Linn of Dee. “Never again” were the words uttered from Scott Craig which seemed to reflect the challenge of Glen Feshie.

The final day saw the team basking in the sun from Braemar to Banchory. The 45 miles were accompanied by some outstanding Deeside scenery, countless deer and much raised spirits knowing that the end was in sight. With saddle-soreness, aching thighs and weary sounding bikes the team arrived back safely having finished their trip through the familiar tracks of Scolty.

“All things considered it was an excellent trip, although I think we all underestimated just how hard it was going to be,” Richard Batho said.

To add to the group’s current total of £1220 funds raised for the Hill of Banchory School email: richard.batho@deeside-physiotherapy.co.uk or call 07828 130720.