On June 16th Louise and I completed our 1000 mile Tandem ride from Unst to Arran, crossing 23 Scottish Islands and catching 23 ferries in 15 days. We cycled up more hills than we thought possible, survived some of the worst weather Scotland could throw at us and some wonderful sunshine too, made some great new friends and saw some beautiful Scottish island scenery on the way. The rousing welcome we received from friends in George Square was a fantastic way to finish what was an unforgettable experience. We were so pleased to have our son Josh cycling with us and leading the way on all the down-hills and also our support team of Drena and Hammy O’Malley who kept a watchful eye on us all the way round.
Whilst a challenge for anyone, I have been deaf since birth and I am going blind, having been diagnosed with Usher Syndrome in my early 20's. My wife Louise, whom I met at school, has been profoundly deaf since birth, and we share our “senses” – I can hear a little more than Louise ... and she provides most of the visual input (and the steering) for both of us!
The aims of the tandem challenge were to raise awareness of deaf-blindness, encourage other deaf-blind people to do challenges of their own and raise much needed funds for Deafblind Scotland’s new National Training and Resource Centre, following the purchase of the land for the new build in Lenzie, earlier this year. I am very proud to be chairman of Deafblind Scotland and can assure you that every penny raised is going direct to the charity as we met all our travelling costs ourselves.
Thank you for all your sponsorship so far, and please continue to help us to support Deafblind Scotland. Meantime if you are interested in reading an account of our trip or seeing pictures of our ride across 23 Scottish Islands, please visit our blog:
July 16th 2011