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Huntly GP got on his bike to cycle the length of Britain to raise money for Scotland's Charity Air Ambulance


By Pat Scott

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Barry Watt at the end of his epic cycle at John o' Groats.
Barry Watt at the end of his epic cycle at John o' Groats.

A cycle journey of 1118 miles was just what the doctor order for a Huntly GP who reached John o' Groats last weekend.

Barry Watt left Land's End on May 30 and cycled every day for 19 days to reach his destination, a day ahead of schedule, and with each mile raised cash for Scotland's Charity Air Ambulance, (SCAA)

Having reached John o' Groats he cycled on to Dunnet Head, the most northerly point then Duncansby Head, at Scotland's north east extremity to ensure there could be no doubt he had cycled the length of the country.

For good measure, GP Barry Watt cycled on to Duncansby Head after reaching John o' Groats.
For good measure, GP Barry Watt cycled on to Duncansby Head after reaching John o' Groats.

He set a target of £1000 but earlier this week his total stood at almost £3700 plus £706 in gift aid. His only hiccup was a squeaky gear lever, quickly fixed with a spray of WD 40.

He picked up grazes and bruising when his front wheel slipped on a gravel road but the injury did not affect his cycling.

Barry (55) chose to cycle from the bottom of the UK up, to take advantage of prevailing winds and his decision proved to be a wise one with high winds speeding up progress.

Barry Watt at the Scottish border, homeward bound.
Barry Watt at the Scottish border, homeward bound.

Barry said: "The biggest day was from Burton in Kendal in Cumbria to Linlithgow when I clocked up 80 miles but that was helped by the wind. The shortest day I did was just 15 miles.

"On some of the windier days, I was meeting cyclists coming in the opposite direction who were off their bikes pushing. Sometimes I got a sideways gust which made it difficult to steer which gave me an idea of what it might have been like.

"When I set off I wasn't sure how it would go as I had never cycled so many days in a row. Seeing the fund-raising total rise as I came north motivated me - I did not want to let down people who had donated.

Barry Watt at the start of the epic cycle ride.
Barry Watt at the start of the epic cycle ride.

"New roads and different scenery every day was good but the hills in Cornwall were definitely the hardest of all - I would be flying downhill but knew there would be a steep incline at the other side. Scottish hills are more gradual although I was so chilled when I came off the Drumochter Pass I had to find a coffee stop to warm up."

Barry added: "It was a great experience and I really enjoyed it, once I was cycling it was like I was in a zen state, just absorbed in my own thoughts.

"I am delighted with how much has been raised for SCAA and thank everyone who has donated.

Barry Watt with the SCAA team at Aberdeen.
Barry Watt with the SCAA team at Aberdeen.

"I saw the SCAA helicopter several times while cycling which reminded me just what an important service it provides, particularly in rural areas and bad weather, getting people to hospital quickly when time is vital."

To donate go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/barry-watt-1or drop off a donation at Huntly Health Centre.


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