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34 %
raised of £3,000 target
by 38 supporters
Andy Skinner avatar
Andy Skinner

Big Blokes Big Bike Ride - RAF BF

Fundraising for The Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund

34 %
raised of £3,000 target
by 38 supporters
  • Event: Andy Skinner's Fundraising Page

The Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund

We provide welfare support to serving & ex-RAF & their families

Charity Registration No. 1081009


I have done my 800km plus Pilgrimage. 


Shortened through injury!  But done!




If you missed my blog you can follow my travels, day by day, blow by blow here:


If you’d like to see a collection of unfiltered pictures, and there are some good ones (and lots of mediocre and bad ones) here.


Thoughts ...

I suppose the real summation of the trip to me was day 2 on the Erro Pass when I smashed my GPS, jarred my knee on the rocky slimy stream bed in the hills, realised I was in the middle of Spain, really on my own, not speaking Spanish, with no map, no compass, no-one within 5km, 700km to go, a deadline to achieve, no accommodation booked, a dead phone and no means of re-charging it, out of water, and it wasn't even lunch time! Fantastico, a real adventure not a glorified package holiday! That was when the fun really kicked in 'coz it wasn't likely to get worse, was it?

And now, all over and done? (Not really), I still think about the experience regularly and it still leaves me, generally, somewhat mellower and with a more positive outlook on just about everything – especially peoples innate goodwill.

 I do however, miss the hills, the camaraderie, the solitude, the 'purpose' and the reward for the exertion (and I don't just mean cerveza, morcilla and chorizo, honest) - but that is nicely balanced by a small glow of satisfaction, for having done something I suspected I might not be able to, for having done some good, and for actually finding the time to reflect and re-affirm my values - oh and being back in the bosom of my family. Whom I actually missed terribly at times – shhhh.

And, of course, I’d still like to persuade more of my friends, acquaintances, colleagues, contacts – and actually anyone at all to give a bit to any of my supported charities. ….



Obviously I am back, my knee held up and I didn't fall off! So far I have raised just over £2715 - so a big thank you; to my friends, our friends, old friends, fellow northerners, colleagues and workmates - and actually to everyone who has even spared a thought. And of course, not least to Sue - without whose support I'd still be sitting on the sofa with my knee in an ice pack and at least a stone heavier!

But if you'd like to say 'Thank You' or 'Well done' or just forgot, meant to do something, or think the Blog was worth a pound or two - there is still lots of time and I'd have waited to see what happened too!


The Injury (Short Version)

A week before I went my left knee exploded and I needed Physio, ice packs, drugs etc and the whole thing was in doubt.  Even as far as  a day of departure Medical check which, in turn, cut the journey short by some 250km as that was the ‘compromise’ we reached.

It held out, I can ask for Ibruprofen in Spanish and I can walk, just about, again!  Winning – not yet won.


The bike

It survived better than I did. No punctures, not even a need to pump up the tyres (so that was around 3-5 kg of stuff I didn't need to have taken) and the return trip via Ryan Air was not too bad either. A bit of TLC, a wash, a re-arrange of the bits squashed up for the return journey and some lube and then the same for the bike and she was as good as new too! So, I am a fan, and also of the Schwalbe tyres - as good as the adverts say! But I am even more of a fan of Sudocreme - even better than the adverts say - and hot, sticky, abrasive modern fabrics and sensitive bits (top or bottom) don't mix - but Sudocreme really helps. And it stops you biting your nails!


The future

It was too much fun - bar of course every day when it wasn’t  … But memory is very very selective – already!

So, with a following wind, a bit of luck on timings and some patience from my family next year sees the Arch to Arch ride in aid of Kidney Cancer sufferers and the James Whale Trust as I have an old friend who has asked for, and deserves, my support, so 'Tally Ho' and here we go again.

But, once again, thanks for all the support - I said it would help, it did, it still does and still leaves me feeling a little bit more positive than I really think I have the right to be. So, go on, its got to be worth a look and a few quid ….



  • Start at St Jean Pied de Port
  • Younger, Slimmer, Fitter & Less Chins!
  • The lovely lovely sandwich ...... +2