Thirteen Banchory Academy pupils and depute rector Colin Nicoll cycled and canoed across Scotland in eight days during the school’s recent activities week.
The pupils and four staff left the Kyle of Lochlash in soaring temperatures cycling onto Skye before crossing the Kyle-rea ferry to Glenelg.
Day two saw the group complete a triathlon of canoeing on loch Hourn walking up hill to collect their bikes before cycling to camp on the side of Loch Quoich. The hot weather continued on day three which saw the group cycle along loch Garry and up the Caledonian Canal to Fort Augustus where the weather started to cool. Ewan Mcalraith from BBC Scotland ‘Out of Doors’ programme visited the campsite before setting off on the longest day on the cross Scotland journey interviewing pupils and staff on their thoughts and feeling about the week.
Day four was misty and damp as the pupils started their six hour walk over the old drovers road from Fort Augustus to Laggan. After a short break to pick up the bikes, they then embarked on a 50k cycle to Aviemore. This journey saw the pupils on the go from 6am until 7pm so they were pleased when they arrived in Aviemore to a prepared meal of spaghetti Bolognese and carrot cake.
At the half way stage the group were ready for their next challenge. The following four days were wet and cold, with lots of rapids and wild camping on the river bank.
The sun came out on the last afternoon as parents, family and friends waited at the mouth of the Spey to welcome the group back home from their fantastic and memorable journey.
The group not only achieved a personal triumph and challenge of crossing Scotland under their own steam but also raised a fantastic £11,824 for Horseback UK based in Dinnet. The pupils visited the centre earlier this week to present the money to Jock and Emma Hutchison and to meet the service men and women who hugely benefit from the rehabilitation courses run by a dedicated and highly motivated group of people.
Pupils who took part: Alish Murphy, Amelia Cardy, Cameron Cowie, Sean Walker, Andrew Walker, Robert Herrington, Harry Lenton, Kerr Doherty, John Coats, Aidan Ferguson, Kirk Geddes, Bruce Law and Damon Ogg.