Rugby quartet swap boots for bikes

Former Scotland international full-back Ruaridh Jackson.

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A quartet of former Scotland international rugby players will be descending on Campbeltown next week for the start of an epic charity bike run.

Ruaridh Jackson, who earned 33 caps between 2010 and 2018, will join Richie Vernon, the first man to go to World Cups for Scotland as a forward then a back, Ryan Grant, the former Scotland prop and 2009 Lions tourist and Andrew Easson, the former Edinburgh and Scotland Sevens player, in cycling the Caledonia Way in aid of Doddie Weir’s My Name’5 Doddie Foundation and Unite Against Cancer.

With no cycling experience between them apart from the occasional spin on an indoor training cycle, the foursome aim to ride the 234 miles from Campbeltown to Inverness in 36 hours.

Ruaridh announced his retirement from rugby when the season shut down earlier this year and currently runs The Garden Shed Drinks Company with wife Kirsten and Ryan and Maxine Grant.

Having recently become a father, the 32-year-old former full back is relishing the prospect of another new challenge.

He told the Courier: ‘Training has been going well but it is not without its challenges fitting it in and around work. Plus, I have a newborn so sleep deprivation has been another factor.

‘We are all excited about the route but nervous about some of the climbs that will have to be taken on, especially day one up to Oban.

‘The views will help on the way but we will be excited to get to our final destination for a big feed and a couple beers at Highland Rugby Club.

‘We’re doing this to raise money for two charities close to the team’s hearts. The My Name’5 Doddie Foundation and Unite Against Cancer. If anyone can spare a few quid to sponsor us, it will make the pain and inevitable chaffing a little more bearable.’

At the time of writing, the quartet had already reached £4,330 of their original £5,000 target and are excited to see how far it will go by the time they roll out of Campbeltown on Friday August 21. The Caledonia Way, also known as National Cycle Route 78, will take them from Kintyre, through Mid Argyll to Inverness using the road and traffic-free forest trails and canal paths, stopping in Oban for the night before heading to Fort William, a section which includes two ferry rides.

Donate to Ruaridh, Ryan, Richie and Andrew’s cycling challenge at their Cycling the Caledonia Way gofundme page.