Alastair’s off-road charity challenge

Alastair Dawson at Eidart Bridge
Alastair Dawson at Eidart Bridge

A Donside man has raised more than £710 for Parkinson’s UK after completing a four day coast-to-coast bike ride.

Sixty-year-old Alastair Dawson, of Ardler Schoolhouse, Glenkindie, completed the off-road mountain bike ride from Aberdeen to Fort William with Ed Pirie and Ian Cameron, both of Aberdeen, and Rick Burn, of Strathdon.

“I have always enjoyed cycling, both road and mountain biking,” said the married dad of two grown-up daughters. “The trip we did this year was our third multi-day ride, the previous two being around the Cairngorms.

“In 2009, I was part of the Lonach Highwaymen’s Lands End to John O’Groats ride for Strathdon school and Cash for Kids.”

This latest ride was done between June 25 and 29, in very unseasonal conditions.

“We finished at 6.30pm on Friday (June 29), having cycled and walked 180 miles crossed three mountain passes and followed many rivers,” said Alastair, who works as a ski instructor in the winter and as a part-time outdoor instructor in the summer.

“We had every kind of weather, the most memorable being continuous heavy rain with thunder and lightning, and cycling in 2.5ft of water.

“We were travelling as light as we could and staying at hostels and B&Bs at night. One highlight was Glen Feshie, as it is so beautiful.

“On the last day we had to have a change of plan as the original route involved a river crossing but because of all the rain, the river was just too high. So we headed for Glen Spean instead.

“It was about a three-hour climb to the top of that col but the most amazing high-speed descent into the Spean valley!

“I did the ride for Parkinson’s UK because I have a friend who’s a keen cyclist, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s a couple of years ago.

“So far, I’ve raised over £710, mostly on my Just Giving page, which can be found at: but my target is £1,000, as this can be spent on research.”

* Every hour, someone in the UK is told they have Parkinson’s. Parkinson’s UK brings people with Parkinson’s, their carers and families together via its network of local groups, its website and helpline. Specialist nurses, its supporters and staff provide information and training on every aspect of Parkinson’s.

Parkinson’s UK is leading the work to find a cure, and is closer than ever and the charity also campaigns to change attitudes and demand better services. Its work is totally dependent on donations.