TEARFUND TOUR OF SCOTLAND 2013

The city of Stirling was an ideal location for the start of Tearfund’s inaugural cycling tour.

 Twelve intrepid cyclists set off under the leadership of Dave Moss and most ably assisted by support vehicle driver, Wallace Loan. 
Our first destination was Crianlarich where we were met by Tearfund’s Volunteer and Events Organiser, Jo Mummery for the first of what was to become a welcome theme for the week, cake and scones!


 Fuelled up we continued onto Taynuilt (more cake and scones) before arriving in Oban for an overnight stop. 
 An unspeakably early start the next morning to catch the ferry to Craignure on the isle of Mull and the weather was not tookind.  Spirits were slightly lifted by a cooked breakfast courtesy of Caledonian MacBrayne before we faced 18 miles of cycling in heavy rain to the colourful town of Tobermory and straight onto the next ferry to the most westerly point on the British mainlnd,   Ardnamurchan
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As we cycled across the wild peninsular the sun came out and after another welcome cake stop enroute to Mallaig we boarded the final ferry of the day ‘over the sea to Skye’ and our final resting point in Broadford having cycled over100 hilly miles. 
   
Day three brought us more sunshine as we cycled over the Skye bridge stopping by the village of Plockton (made famous as the location of the 1995 comedy-drama, Hamish Macbeth) on our way to Lochcarron where we received an amazing lunch and welcome from the ladies of the church. 
  

We were now faced with cycling the historic pass of the Bealach Na Bar with its tight hairpin bends that switch back and forth up the hillside and with gradientsthat approach 20%.  Rising from sea level to 2,054 feet, it is the third highest road in Scotland and we did it! 

 Exhilarated by the climb, and the route along the Applecross Peninsula with its stunning views across the rugged Wester Ross coastline we ended our challenging day, tired but happy in Torridon.

   
 Cycling through the heart of the magnificent Torridon sandstone mountain range to Kinlochewe marked the end of the coastal cycling as we crossed country to reach our day’s destination of Inverness and a relaxing evening before facing the next day’s adventure. 
     
 Day five was a lesson in history as we cycled past the site of the 1745 Battle of Culloden enroute to Grantown-on-Spey where we were met by Tearfund Supporter and local Minister, Sheila Wallace who kindly provided cake and scones (the theme continues).  A short distance on we
arrived in the village of Tomintoul, the gateway to the Cairngorms National Park where the local minister hosted us for lunch at the manse.  This was much needed as we left to face climbing the 2,090 feet high Lecht.  We had amazing views of the snow-capped mountain range and, after the climb, appreciated the incredible descent and onward route past Balmoral Castle to Braemar. 
 
Day six was a short day in terms of cycling miles but still included a 2,199 feet climb to Glenshee, the highest ski resort in Scotland which had been closed only the week before due to snow!  Thanks to the Glenshee Ski Centre managers,Graham and Stuart for drinks and a donation to Tearfund - another of the many acts of human kindness we experienced on our journey. 
  
Arriving in Pitlochry we enjoyed cake and scones at the home of Nicky and Jane King prior to supper at the home of Val Wallace.  During this evening, we were joined by Jo Mummery and had a wonderful talk and slideshow on the work of Tearfund and were shown pictures of the water and sanitation project in Uganda, one of the many projects being supported by the funds we’ve raised.  The presentation brought to life our reason for doing this challenge – a perfect evening.

The last day saw us climbing the shoulder of Schiehallion into Kenmore with a further climb to Crieff and our final destination back at Stirling.  The week’s cycling amounted to 550 miles and 36,000 feet in climbing so a challenge not for the faint-hearted.  There are many people to thank for their kindness, their support and their prayers and we thank you all.  Special mention must go
to Eleanor and Lesley for catering for us in the youth hostels - we so appreciated you being there.  To Wallace Loan, our support vehicle driver – we could not have done this without you.  And, finally, to Dave Moss who made it all happen and who had ‘the vision to see, the faith to believe and the courage to do’. 
  
The work of Tearfund and its people became more important to us as the week progressed and we were privileged to be part of this adventure and made some great friends along the way.  Would we do it again?  YES! 
The Tearfund Tour of Scotland has raised over £10 000 for the charities vital work.

Tearfund Tour of Scotland Cyclists:

Martin Perry,Wallace Loan (driver),Karen Jones,Rick Allison,Peter Graham,Mark Ablett,Michael Richmond (kneeling),Peter Berrie,Dave Moss,Phil Godley,Allan McGlaughlin,Willie Stewart, Andrew Dunn, and still to arrive back at this point, our lantern rouge,Pete Anderson.





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