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An RNLI fundraiser who suffered a set-back in Kintyre has smashed the two targets he set himself ahead of cycling Great Britain’s coastline.
Aspiring endurance and adventure athlete Harry Lidgley completed the almost 4,500-mile cycle in 34 days – eight days quicker than his 42-day target – visiting all 168 lifeboat stations on the UK mainland on the way.
And so far he has raised £1,000 more than his initial £5,000 target, all of which will be donated to the RNLI, the charity that saves lives at sea.
Hampshire man Harry set off from RNLI headquarters in Poole in the south of England on Saturday May 1 and returned to the coastal town last Thursday, June 3, averaging 120 miles of cycling each day.
He was two weeks and about 1,500 miles into the challenge when a spoke in his wheel near Glenbarr threatened to send him off track.
But he was soon back on the road after Kintyre Wheelers Cycling Club chairman and Glenbarr resident Robbie Semple came to his rescue.
Robbie not only gave Harry a spare wheel he happened to have ‘in case of emergencies’ but he also offered him a safe space in his garden to pitch his tent for the night.
Speaking to the Courier this week, Harry said: ‘The wheel from Robbie was an absolute lifesaver – though after all the battering it got on the rough roads around the top of Scotland, I was hardly surprised when another spoke broke near Scarborough on the English east coast.
‘The rim was fine this time – luckily – so it was an easy fix to just get a new spoke on it.
‘Apart from that, things went smoothly – and I somehow made it all the way back to Poole without having a single puncture on the entire expedition!’
Harry said he achieved everything he hoped for during the challenge, adding: ‘I got immense satisfaction at completing my circumnavigation, the chance to cycle through some spectacular regions around our coastline and the opportunity to meet many RNLI crew members.
‘Everyone I met was really enthusiastic about my challenge, which was always a great morale boost.’
He added that the mishap in Kintyre wasn’t the only issue he faced during the challenge.
‘Of course, it wasn’t all plain sailing: I had a mix of just about every type of weather condition, enduring hail showers and cold nights in the south west of England, a few washout rainy days in Wales, some very tough headwinds in Scotland and scorching heat back on the English south coast as I neared the finish,’ he said.
‘On days like these I just had to grit my teeth and do the best I could – but these are the really valuable days that build your capacity to endure and your mental resilience, all good training for future events!’
Harry’s online fundraising page remains open for donations and can be accessed via his website at www.gblifeboatcycle.com