Our coast to coast adventure
To celebrate our company's Diamond Jubilee the organisation pledged to complete 60 Acts of Kindness this year - and I'm pleased to say we are busting that target!
A group of us undertook to cycle coast to coast along Hadrian's Wall, from Silloth to South Shields, as our 60 Acts of Kindness challenge. And to date we have raised £3,114 for Children In Need and Mind, with HR GO plc matched funding going to the RNLI. The team consisted of myself, Matt White from Head Office Marketing, Steve Liddle from Eclipse Group Solutions, John Parkinson, Group IT Director, and Vicki Rice from the HR GO Recruitment Canterbury branch.
Thank you to all the very generous sponsors, the trip was inevitably not without its issues … however some of the highlights were:
- I left Euston at 5.30am on Friday morning to arrive Carlisle at 9.21am for the start. A late start and we temporarily lost one member of the ride after 3 minutes … unfortunately with new cleats he came to the first T-junction and fell off his bike! Not a good start with 122 miles ahead.
- Day 1 - Silloth to Carlisle (33 miles) … a beautiful sunny still day perfect for cycling … we followed Route 72 around the coast … mostly uneventful, but inevitably some people were less comfortable on their bikes than they should have been. However at the end of the day we were 17 miles behind the pace mainly due to a very late start from Silloth RNLI station (very apt given we were supporting their cause) on the Irish sea. We said good bye to one team member, Matt, who wished to complete the trip in two days, whilst carrying a 20kg ruck sack and he wild camped along the way.
- Day 2 – Carlisle to Hexham (52 miles) … never again! 50 mile per hour winds, very hilly terrain and some rain to keep you cool … we followed route 72! Gladly not a very cold day, but this was a particularly testing, though interesting, day as we cycled along parts of Hadrian’s wall (Betty, the bear, see below came too!) and crossed the North Pennines. Disaster struck just before our lunch rendez-vous as I broke my chain … doom and gloom but a colleague Steve was able to make a repair with the help of a local’s pliers allowing me to continue. Lunch was late in Halt Whistle. Beautiful scenery … lots of historic references (though no time or energy to enjoy them … we will have to go back), but gladly what goes up comes down, so a memorable 2+ mile ride down into Newbrough in the late evening with a replenishment of water at the village hall! The last hour of the ride was done in the gloom and dark as we arrived at 6.45pm in Hexham, our planned destination … we had caught up the mileage missed on day 1, despite my bike problems!
- Day 3 – Hexham to South Shields (37miles) – The Gods were shining and gave us another sunny but chilly day … energy levels had been re-kindled with Italian food and my bike repaired. We set off early, passing the Hexham ½ marathon and soon followed the River Tyne. However, an hour and half into the ride … I had broken chain no 2 … another kind man lent and then donated his pliers to our cause to get us going again. A relatively easier day as we descended towards Newcastle. A sunny lunch outside by the Millennium bridge was the reward, before we started the last leg. All was going well until 4 miles from the finish when my rear gear mechanism sheared off … it was terminal, so no more peddling for Roddy! Determined to finish it was going to be a scoot and run to the end. Until my trusty colleague, Steve, appears after a mile with an electrical flex to tow me … the relatively flat land of South Shields enabled me to finish under tow!
- We still arrived at the North Sea … in time for a dramatic setting sun before a long drive South to face Monday morning budget reviews.
Happily we achieved what we set out to … to ride coast to coast, have fun and earn some money for our chosen charities, BBC Children in Need and the RNLI.
Thank you again to those of you that very generously supported us already and to those that still intend to.