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The Great Tour cycle event makes its way through Banffshire

By Kyle Ritchie

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A 64-day, 6700 kilometre awareness and fundraising cycle ride around the British coast has travelled through the Banffshire area.

Two cyclists – Hugh Roberts and Robin Young – are taking part in The Great Tour, aiming to ride around the entire coastline of the UK.

The pair set off from the Isle of Wight on Saturday, July 4. On Thursday after a start point in Fraserburgh, they took in the Banffshire area, going through communities including Pennan and Cullen, before finishing in Lossiemouth.

Hugh Roberts (right) and Robin Young are taking part in the cycle event.
Hugh Roberts (right) and Robin Young are taking part in the cycle event.

For the section they were joined by former Scottish professional cyclist and journalist Pippa York.

She is raising money for the Julia’s House Children’s Hospice.

She said: "The idea of promoting the Tour of Britain despite this year’s cancellation of the race is as much about involving local communities as it is performance. It's a social event so we won't be going fast!

“Everyone has become aware of the health aspects of cycling, be that physical or mental, during Covid-19. We've all noticed we need to take better care of ourselves and others.

"That's why I'm riding part of the overall route, to encourage people to get out on their bikes, enjoy the fresh air and forget some of their worries.

"Already I've been touched by the generosity of people offering accommodation along the route and those intending to come out and ride or welcome us.”

Inspired by The Great Tour event that took place in 2010 and 2015, Hugh Roberts and long-time friend Robin Young are re-creating the 6700 kilometre, 64-day ride, filling the gap between when the Women’s Tour and Tour of Britain professional cycle races should have taken place, had they not been cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The pair will spend 20 days cycling around the Scottish coast covering just more than 2000 kilometres and will have passed the halfway point in their 64-day journey by the time they return to England on Sunday, August 9.

All going to plan they will finish the route at Ryde in the south of England on Saturday, September 5.

With 2020 Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters The Great Tour hopes to showcase the beautiful scenery, heritage and natural landscapes of the Scottish coastline.

This year’s ride aims to raise awareness and funds for chosen health charities and causes in 2020 and to help create an annual fundraising ride around a recognised and waymarked cycle route around the whole coastline of Britain from 2021 onwards.

This annual event will raise money to support projects or other charities in community, health and environmental charities and causes.

Past editions of The Great Tour in 2010 and 2015 have supported a range of health charities, including The Prostate Cancer Charity, MacMillan and Anthony Nolan.

The tour aims to follow the coastline as closely as possible by bike, never losing the sight, the sound, the smell or sense of the sea.

More information about The Great Tour can be found at www.thegreattour.co.uk or at the Just Giving page here.

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