Hebridean Cycle Challenge 2017

'It is the unknown around the corner that turns my wheels' – Heinz Stucke.

The Hebridean Way one of the worlds must do bike rides, is a 295km cycle route that traverses the length of the Outer Hebrides from Vatersay in the South to the Butt of Lewis in the North.

'I felt excited as I had never been to the Hebrides, I knew it would be hard. I enjoyed cycling as one big group and loved the views, by the end I felt tired and happy because I’d never cycled so many kilometres …I felt more self-dependant and it improved my mental approach' - Oliwier Bartusik, 12, St. Augustine's.

Oliwier was one of the ten young people from several high schools across NW Edinburgh who agreed to take on the challenge of this inspiring cycle ride. They began preparations in 2016 by completing training rides of increasing length and difficulty to increase their stamina and confidence.

This summer the adventurous group gathered equipment from Bangholm; home to CEC’s Outdoor Learning development team. They set off on a five-hour ferry crossing to Castlebay on Barra, followed by an early morning ride to the Eriskay crossing. Eriskay is home to a football pitch voted by FIFA as one of the eight most exotic locations in the world. Never to miss an opportunity, the group enjoyed a quick game of five-a-sides, before cycling almost the 100km length of South Uist, Benbecula and North Uist.

outdoor view showing parked cycles against a landscape with a rainbow

Other highlights included the beautiful and wild hills near Harris, the roads near Leverburgh, one of Europe's most picturesque routes; cycling close to the sandy beaches and azure blue seas, and overcoming two huge mountain passes.

The final day presented a 100km ride to the Butt of Lewis and the Callanish Standing Stones. This marked the completion of the challenge with lasting memories for the young people who rose to the challenge and kept those pedals turning.

'I had a massive sense of achievement at the end. I never would have known about this route or considered doing it as I don’t think I would have had the confidence' - Callum Duff, 15, Royal High.

Note: This was a collaborative Lifelong Learning project as part of a wider programme supported by National Lottery funding. Contact Bangholm Outdoor Learning Centre on 0131 551 4368 to discover similar adventures for 2018 - The Year of Young People.

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