On September 16th 2009 I had a bad fall while training for the Three Peaks Cyclocross Challenge; I broke my neck and suffered a C3/4 & 5 spinal cord injury. Totally paralysed from the neck down I spent 6 months in Pindersfields spinal unit at Wakefield, UK, but through sheer hard work from the doctors, physiotherapists and myself I am now able to take on challenges we never thought possible.
Two years after the accident that rendered me a tetraplegic I was cycling through some of the most spectacular scenery in England on the Coast to Coast challenge. I was fortunate to get funding from Regain, a charitable trust for sports tetraplegics, to buy an ICE Vortex. Now I wanted to give something back by raising money for the charity. I set off from the Georgian sea-side town of Whitehaven in the west, and cycled through the network of quiet country roads and pathways that span the fells, uplands, dales and moors of northern England, before reaching the old fishing village of Robin Hood’s Bay on the east coast.
Flushed with success and wanting a new challenge I decided to attempt the LeJog. This is another coast to coast, but this time from Lands End, the most south-westerly point in Great Britain, to John O’Groats, the most north-easterly point, covering over 870 miles.
I set off from Lands End at the end of April 2012 on what turned out to be one of the wettest periods since records began. I slogged along the minor roads of southern England through the kind of persistent rain that seeps to the bone. After 5 days I arrived at my host family in Shropshire suffering from hypothermia and, ironically, dehydration. That evening I passed out.
I refused to give up, but it was still too cold for me to continue (my fingers don’t work in the cold) so I waited for a break in the weather. I set off again on the 23rd May with hot sun and a south westerly wind. I made super progress on this second leg, so much so that I managed to shave a day off my target time. Elated by my success at completing the challenge I decided to add a few extra miles to my journey and boarded a ferry to the Orkney Isles before returning to Aberdeen.
My adventures won’t stop here; I suppose it’s addictive. On the 17th July my daughter and I are cycling across France from Caen to Monte Carlo – watch this space for more news on my quest to raise money for Regain, the charity that helped me return to sports.
For more information on the sports charity that helped me, click here to visit their website
If you would like to help the charity with a donation, click here.