Journal /
The #eddy500 cycle challenge of 2018

During the summer of 2018 I undertook an epic cycle challenge, which I called the "#eddy500" .

My target was to cycle 500 miles across the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, and in the process raise money and awarness of eating disorders, which are serious and life-threatening illnesses.

Altogether I raised some £2,100 for the BEAT charity (Beating Eating Disorders) and I gathered and harnessed a huge groundswell of support for my cause. And although I did complete the 500 miles sucessfully, it seems the journey to raise awareness of and to fight eating disorders has only just begun.

Below, you can find a wee summary of my adventure, including some photographs taken en route (see attachments underneath).

To be continued...

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To Whom it Concerns 

Now that the summer of 2018 has drawn to a close, I just wanted to finally thank you all again for your support during my #eddy500 cycle challenge this summer. Altogether I have raised well over ~£2,000 for the BEAT (Beating Eating Disorders) charity. Every single penny raised goes to them.

Of course, the cycling may be over for the moment, but the journey doesn't end here, as I hope my challenge will have gone some way towards supporting families with some-one suffering from an eating disorder. But even more important than the money, is the raising of awareness of these severe and life-threatening illnesses.

A reminder for those of you based in the UK, the BEAT helpline telephone number is: 0808 801 0677; And for more information, including online anonymous chat: https://www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk/

For those interested, a quick summary of my cycle follows (attached also are a few photos taken en route):
I did the 500 miles in 11 different stages, starting (day 1 to day 3) by cycling the full chain of the Outer Hebrides of Scotland from north to south, from the Butt of Lewis to the Isle of Barra. The weather was glorious and dry.

I also made it my challenge to visit every populated Hebridean island, but realising that I had missed Great Bernera, I cycled there on 12 July, in yet more fine weather.

From the 23-27 July, the family joined me as we cycled the Great Glen of Scotland together, from Fort Augustus to Fort William, alongside the beautiful Caledonian canal. Again, the weather was stunningly warm, and we plunged into every loch en route, sometimes twice in a single day!

However, on the night of 27/28 July, the weather finally broke with a violent electrical storm, and we got soaked to the skin in a massive cloudburst while cycling the beautiful, lonely parallel roads of Glenroy.

On 30 July, I had another enjoyable run on the bike from Laggan, Glen Cluney, all the way to Inverness Raigmore, on the cycle track. Then it was back to Ullapool and Stornoway, where the children and family needed me.

The worst and most challenging run was on the final day (4 August), return from Stornoway to Scalpay (my final populated island). I waited impatiently to get going on Sat 4 August, starting at 5:30am at the crack of dawn. However, battling against a strong cold wind and miserable skies, by 8:00am I had journeyed only 25 miles. Like Toad, I hid temporarily under a bridge to escape the worst of the weather, falling asleep for ~30mins, only to awake shivering and wishing for my warm bed! Returning over the Clisham (a high pass), the mountain gods seemed to release all of their otherworldly demons at me - with torrential sheets of soaking rain, and I was nearly blown off my bicycle. But I got back safely to Stornoway that night... with 519 miles complete... and I had a long, long and very hot soak in the bath.

High points: Having a celebratory swim at Vatersay (Barra) after completing the first 170 miles; cycling the lonely Glenroy with the family on 28 July; getting fit again (LOL). Knowing that I am doing something positive.

Regrets: I did not get to visit some places on my original itinerary, but such is the nature of cycling and Scottish weather. Another time, another place, je serai lá.

I also quickly realised that Scotland needs many, many, many more cycle routes, completely separate from vehicular traffic - but this perhaps is another fight for some-one else to take up.

So from the heart, thank you again for all of your superb support.

With kindest wishes
Eddie and Family
Stornoway, Bonnie Scotland.