Lonachmen swap pikes for bikes

Left to right - Ryan, Fernando and Lee on the Irish leg of their fundraiser
Left to right - Ryan, Fernando and Lee on the Irish leg of their fundraiser

A trio of Lonach Highlanders swapped kilts and pikes for lycra and bikes recently as they undertook a 650-mile cycle ride to raise thousands of pounds for charity.

Lee McKnight, Ryan Stuart and Fernando Greatbatch saddled up and rode from Peterhead to Dingle in Ireland to fundraise for Make-A-Wish Foundation.

The three Strathdon residents are all members of the Lonach Highland and Friendly Society, and are more used to shouldering eight-foot long pikes every August on the six-mile march to the annual Lonach Highland Gathering and Games than cycling more than 100 times that distance.

Pedalling around 110 miles a day, the trio took six days to complete the cycle.

On the Scottish leg of their journey, their route from Peterhead to Cairnryan took them via Dundee and Erskine. After crossing the Irish Sea, they cycled from Belfast to Kells on day four, and then onto Limerick and finally Dingle on the last two days. Their efforts in the saddle saw them raise more than £2,000 for the UK charity.

The three men took on the challenge to raise money in order to help make the dreams of two children come true and the money will achieve this.

Seven-year-old Caitlin McFadden, from Glasgow, has quadriplegic cerebral palsy and wanted to swim with dolphins in Portugal. While Cameron Truesdale, a 12-year-old boy from County Down in Northern Ireland, who was diagnosed with an incurable brain tumour, wanted to go on a family holiday.

Along the way, the trio were assisted by friend Euan Mackie who acted as mechanic and support driver.

On the Irish leg of their journey the men were joined by Lee’s father John.

The owners of Bellabeg Spar shop, Jamie and Denise Howse, provided cases of water to keep the trio hydrated on their trip.

Lee, Ryan and Fernando will be leaving their bikes firmly parked on Saturday, August 26, as they once again shoulder their pikes and take part in the annual Lonach march.