CYCLING long distance is no mean feat and two Scots have decided to take on one of the most challenging rides in the country – Land’s End to John o’ Groats – all in the name of charity.

Alan Mclean and Jimmy Beat will take on the challenge in June this year.

Alan, who is from Portmahomack, told The Scottish Farmer: “Jimmy and I are friends from our days back in the 1970s at the North of Scotland College of Agriculture in Aberdeen.

“We survived that and, until our fairly recent retirements, have both enjoyed a lifetime of involvement in Agriculture. I managed a couple of farms in Easter Ross until taking on HBS Ring Ltd back in 2002 as managing director until I retired in 2021, and Jimmy was farm manager at Ord Farm, Invergordon, and has lived down in Northumberland since the mid-1980s as farms director for British Alcan/Rio Tinto.”

Jimmy said that the Land’s End to John o’Groats route was one that he had wanted to ride for a long time, but he’d not yet found anyone who would do it with him. It was on a trip to France last summer that he managed to rope Alan into the adventure.

Alan continued: “I’m not sure whether it was the French sunshine, the thrill of being at the Rugby World Cup, or the promise of a glass of red wine later that day, but I agreed to do it with him! This was despite the fact that Jimmy is an accomplished and regular cyclist, whereas I had just recently upgraded from my balance bike!”

The plan is to benefit two very deserving charities and the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation immediately came to mind, as it is a charity that the pair had helped to raise funds for through Ross Sutherland Rugby Club in Invergordon.

The Alzheimer’s Society also sprang to mind as an excellent charity to support as this is another horrible disease that is heard about far too often and affects many families.

The trip is scheduled to start around June 5 this year.

The distance between Lands End and John o’ Groats is about 600 miles as the crow flies, but in using safer bike paths and trying to avoid heavy traffic and busy roads, the mileage may rise to about 1200 miles, with the aim being to cycle around 50 to 60 miles a day.

Alan explained: “The plan is to source a mobile home to live out of on our road north – so if anyone knows of one that we could beg, borrow, buy or steal please get in touch asap.

“We hope that one of our wives – Mary and Liz – will drive the service vehicle and keep us fed, watered and out of the pubs as we meander north, hopefully with a stop at the Royal Highland Show on the way.”

Jimmy and Alan’s JustGiving page can be found here