Island hoppers home again

adventure: Bill Honeywell (right) and Richard Dugdale arrive at the Isle of Cumbrae, in the Firth of Clyde, during their four-week charity cycle tour of the Western Isles.
adventure: Bill Honeywell (right) and Richard Dugdale arrive at the Isle of Cumbrae, in the Firth of Clyde, during their four-week charity cycle tour of the Western Isles.
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Local pedal-pushing fund-raisers Bill Honeywell an Richard Dugdale are back safely from their four-week marathon cycle trip to the Western Isles of Scotland.

They visited 42 islands in total in all sorts of weather. The first two weeks were dry but very cold and they needed to ride in every piece of clothing they had with them. The winds were from the North and more than 20mph, usually in their faces since they were starting in the Southern Isle of Bute and working Northwards.

Unfortunately they had to miss the Island of Rossay from their plan due to gale force winds and driving rain, with all ferries cancelled. It was not possible to do this later as the trip was tightly scheduled around the ferry timetable and there was no room for adjustments.

The third week had mixed weather and a few half-days had rain, like when they landed on Tiree and got to the hostel with no heating turned on and so had to huddle around the electric cooker. The journey North up through Harris and Lewis to Great Bernera was particularly hard, with a strong headwind, no cafés open and no respite.

Exhausted, they enquired at the Post Office for accommodation and were told there was none. Eventually a kind old lady was coaxed out retirement. The Postmaster was typically laid back and when asked the time he looked at his watch and said: “Tuesday afternoon”.

The final week saw warmer and drier weather and the chance to see many of the birds which the Hebrides are famous for, such as buzzards, sea eagles and golden gagles, corncrakes and many wading birds. A visit to Iona brought the chance to see the many Christian buildings and artefacts reputed to be amongst the first in Britain.

The pair’s adventure was made special by the many people who helped on their journey by providing free accommodation and by those giving generously when they discovered that the purpose of the trip was to collect money for Cancer Research.

So far they have received £1,500 and it is expected that this figure should reach well over £2,000. Anyone wanting to donate can do so direct to Bill or Richard or online at: justgiving.com/billhoneywell/hebrides.