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Mike Lewus

Hebrides4HeartsAndMinds

Total raised so far £0.00

Target £0.00

Total plus Gift Aid: £0.00

Raised offline: £0.00

My story

[p][b]Event Summary:[/b] A pictorial history of my 350 mile charity cycle ride “Hebrides4Hearts&Minds’ from Port of Ness, northerly most point of Isle of Lewis to Vatersay, southern peninsula off the Isle of Barra and back to Stornoway is shown below. Photos are in reverse date order, starting at Day 9, the finish line. Cycle stats. total route distance 335 miles + 20 miles to points of interest = 355 miles. Average/day 39.4 miles, max./day 55 miles, min/day 25.6 miles. [/p][p][b]Day 9: Wednesday 24th April: Tarbert/Harris to Stornoway/Lewis (35.9 miles) [/b][/p][p]350 miles ago I anticipated that this stage would be one of the easiest, how wrong I was. Climbing out of Tarbert was made extremely difficult by a fierce head wind blowing straight down the hill I was trying to escape. At the 2nd long corner, a gateway to the Harris peaks, I ended up pushing the bike about a quarter of a mile before finding the strength to take to the saddle once more to progress by pedal power alone. On the relatively flat roads of the peaks the wind subsided and I had the joy of the downhill slopes leading to Scaladale to look forward to. Towards the end of this stage, approaching Stornoway and my notional finish line, I had the worst 7 miles cycling of the whole trip. I will spare all the details, but picture me struggling to put my fluorescent safety cycling vest on at the roadside due to the fiercest winds yet encountered, with coaches and construction lorries seemingly skimming me by centimetres and a friend, who had pulled up behind me in their car bellowing, “this is insane, you have to put the bike on the car bike rack and call it a day”. I ask you, 7 miles from home after cycling the length of the islands twice, would you stop ? Fortunately my story ended well, I continued to battle away for several miles taking care to stop at blind bends and hilltops to ensure no passing lorries and coaches were likely to take me out, before continuing in piecemeal fashion. At the outskirts of Stornoway the trees and houses provided a much needed wind break and the last few miles into the town felt nothing more than exhilarating with the realisation I had completed my planned route, all 350 miles of it. The next challenge awaits, a kayak trip from Stornoway to Castle Bay, watch this space - well, not this space, a new space when the time is right 😀.[/p][p][img]https://www.bssa.org.uk/cms/Image/VMG_Day%209_set%20of%204%20pics%20(002).jpg[/img][img][/img][img][/img][img][/img][/p][p][b]Day 8: Tuesday 23rd April: Carinish/N. Uist to Tarbert/Harris (42.9 miles) [/b][/p][p]I made a serious misjudgement of distance from Carinish to the ferry point at Berneray, I thought cycling distance was 12 miles, but it was actually 25 miles. Only realised my mistake after 10 miles cycling and ended pedalling frantically for an hour only making the ferry by the skin of my teeth. Ended up chasing the last car onto the ferry, gasping for breath as I blurted out something to the ferry man that didn’t sound like words, thought I might just need the BHF’s expertise. After a few minutes rest I had a sensible conversation with the ferry man explaining that I had made an online booking and after showing the email receipt all was good in the world again 😀. Once in Leverburgh, weather conditions and cycling were exceptional as I edged past the wonderful turquoise sea and white beaches of the West Harris coastline again. Unfortunately, I had forgotten about the long and steady rises leading over the hills to the downward slopes into Tarbert; the still air and blue sky left me in a real sweat, but the windchill on the downward slopes dried me out and the soda water and lime at the Hotel Hebrides, Tarbert was a real tonic 😀.[/p][p][img]https://www.bssa.org.uk/cms/Image/VMG_Day%208_Set%20of%204%20Pics%20(002).jpg[/img][/p][p][b]Day 7: Monday 22nd April: Castle Bay/Barra to Carinish/N. Uist (50.9 miles)[/b][/p][p]One of only 2 days in which I broke the 50 mile/day barrier and simply due to the weather conditions, with only a gentle, cooling offshore wind blowing and the sun beating down I felt I could go on all day. In the event I stopped at Carinish, North Uist, after setting out from Castle Bay to have a long chilled out evening. I reminded myself that the west side, clockwise circuit of Barra is a much easier route to Ardmhor than the east side route from Ardmore to Castle Bay.[/p][p][img]https://www.bssa.org.uk/cms/Image/Day%207_Set%20of%204%20Pics.jpg[/img][/p][p][b]Day 6: Sunday 21st April - Polochar/S. Uist to Castle Bay/Barra (21 miles) [/b][/p][p]Undoubtedly the highlight of this stage was standing on the deserted white sand beaches of Vatersay and stunning offshore views to the east on the approach to Vatersay. The view of the Atlantic to the west as you cycle across the causeway connecting Barra to Vatersay is also worth a mention and I shouldn’t underplay the view into Castle Bay as you momentarily perch on the west side headland on Barra and anticipate how fast you can run down the extremely steep hill into the bay. The answer on this occasion was not very fast as a thick fog in the bay meant caution was the order of the day.[/p][p][img]https://www.bssa.org.uk/cms/Image/Day%206_Set%20of%204%20Pics%20(002)(1).jpg[/img][/p][p][b]Day 5: Saturday 20th April - Leverburgh/Berneray to Polochar/S. Uist (53.7 miles)[/b][/p][p]My first 50 mile run and conditions meant it spanned most of day from landing at Berneray in the North to arriving at Polochar on the far south coastline of South Uist, 2 to 3 miles west of the Eriskay causeway. Two highlights of this stage were the rising sun shimmering on the sound of Harris during the ferry crossing from Leverburgh and later in the day, standing at the site of the ‘Our Lady of the Isles’ monolith and the stunning views west over the flat watery landscape of South Uist. That is an apt description for the Isles of North Uist and Benbecula too.[/p][p][img]https://www.bssa.org.uk/cms/Image/Day%205_Set%20of%204%20Pics%20(002).jpg[/img][/p][p][b]Day 4: Friday 19th April - Scaladale Outdoor Center to Leverburgh/Harris (42.9 miles)[/b] [/p][p]What a great start to the day, peeked out of the window in the huge communal hall + kitchen of Scaladale centre and viewed the sunrise above the highlands surrounding Loch Seaforth. A little trepidation at this point as I knew I had to negotiate the steep slopes over the Harris peaks and the last time I did that, last October (2018), I felt, cold, under nourished, alone and I ran out of water. This time, my planning was better, I was not cycling the Harris peaks at the end of the day with the light disappearing at sundown, but first thing in the morning feeling fresh, fit and raring to go after a hearty breakfast; cycling this route at nightfall without the right supplies, makes you feel rather vulnerable and the shadows cast by a rising moon and wildlife screeches and squawks sets the imagination racing. Not so this day, infact, apart from the extremely steep and twisty climb from Loch Seaforth and the fast channelled wind hitting you for a half mile, hairpin bend stretch, the rest was a very comfortable ride. The view of the Atlantic inlet to the west on the steep descent to Tarbert was spectacular.[/p][p][img]https://www.bssa.org.uk/cms/Image/Day%204_Set%20of%204%20Pics%20(002).jpg[/img][/p][p][br][/p][p][b]Day 3 Thursday 18th April - Breasclete/Lewis to Scaladale Outdoor Center/Harris (28.5 miles) [/b][/p][p]What a great late afternoon and evening at the Scaladale Outdoor Centre, a friend and I had the whole centre to ourselves from the moment I arrived to leaving On Day 4 at 09:00. The crossing of Lewis from west to east offered unforgettable views of the flat Lewis saltmarsh and a clear sunny day for once gave clear views to the Harris foothills.[/p][p][img]https://www.bssa.org.uk/cms/Image/Day%203_set%20of%204%20Photos.jpg[/img][/p][p][b]Day 2 Wednesday 17th April - Port of Ness to Galson Farm/Lewis (25.6 miles)[/b][/p][p][img]https://www.bssa.org.uk/cms/Image/Day%202_Set%20of%204%20Pics%20(002).jpg[/img][/p][p][b]Day 1 Tuesday 16th April - ‘Event Start, Stornoway to Port of Ness-Galson Farm/Lewis (41.2 miles)[/b][/p][p][img]https://www.bssa.org.uk/cms/Image/Day%201_Set%20of%204%20Pics%20(003).jpg[/img][/p][p][b]Day 0: Monday April 15th - Portavadie to Ullapool/Stornoway (Lewis)[/b][/p][p]My cycle ride begins tomorrow. First ferry crossing from Portavadie to Tarbert across Loch Fyne was pretty rough. Let's hope the weather is kinder when I actually start... That crossing was followed by a 7 hour drive to Ullapool.[/p][p]Loch Fyne crossing[/p][p][img]https://www.bssa.org.uk/cms/Image/Ferry%20crossing.jpg[/img][/p][p][img][/img][/p][p][img][/img][/p][p][b]i) My Details[/b][/p][p]I work as a technical advisor for the British Stainless Steel Association (BSSA), Sheffield.[/p][p][b]ii) Background to the Event ?[/b][/p][p]During a first trip of discovery to the Scottish Highlands and Western Islands 10 years ago I found myself amazed by the beauty of the Scottish landscape. After many more extensive driving campaigns I added sailing, cycling and kayaking to my activities because of the increased accessibility they give to the beautiful nooks and crannies that abound in the Scottish Western isles. I return to Scotland as much as possible and at the moment I'm on the Scottish mainland and islands for 1 week every month; next year I'm planning to spend half my time there. [/p][p]Fast forward 10 years after my first trip to Scotland; last October I cycled 120 miles from Stornoway (Isle of Lewis) to Castle Bay (Isle of Barra) just for a personal challenge and the opportunity to explore potential sea kayaking areas. After finishing the trip I immediately began to consider a bigger challenge. A logical extension was to cycle the entire length of the island string from Port of Ness, the northerly most point on Lewis, to Vatersay, as far south as south can go - for game of thrones addicts, and back again, a total of 350 miles. Though I’m primarily cycling for the fun of exploration and fitness, I thought I may as well use my outdoor pursuits to help others less fortunate, hence the charity dimension and this 'Hebrides4Hearts&Minds' cycle tour. [/p][p]Two charities I’m keen to support because the conditions the charities aim to alleviate have affected family and friends are:-[/p][p]BHF (British Heart Foundation)[/p][p]&[/p][p]SANE (mental health charity)[/p][p][b]iii) My Cycle Route[/b][/p][p]See the attached map below for the route I plan to cycle during 16th to 25th April 2019, with 26th and 27th April left spare for contingencies. Sections of the route are labelled 1 to 9 and will be covered in number order. The route will pass through:[/p][p][i]Stornoway[/i][/p][p][i]Port of Ness[/i][/p][p][i]Callanish[/i][/p][p][i]Tarbert[/i][/p][p][i]Leverburgh[/i][/p][p][i]Berneray[/i][/p][p][i]Lochmaddy[/i][/p][p][i]Lochboisdale[/i][/p][p][i]Polochar[/i][/p][p][i]Eriskay[/i][/p][p][i]Castle Bay[/i][/p][p][i]Vatersay[/i][/p][p][i]and all the way back to Stornoway ![/i][/p][p][b]iv) A Message for the Reader[/b][/p][p]Any donation is greatly appreciated. If you prefer not to donate online an alternative is to sponsor me. Simply email me at mlewus@blueyonder.co.uk pledging any amount to send after I've completed the event or, arrange to give cash or cheque and I will make the online donation which will trigger an automated receipt sent to your email address.[/p]
Hebrides4HeartsAndMinds image 1
Hebrides4HeartsAndMinds image 2

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Event

Personal Challenge Date

16 Apr 2019

Supporters

May 17, 2019

Mick

In fulfilment of a promise

£100.00 plus £25.00 Gift Aid

May 10, 2019

Mick

Mikes alter ego strikes again

£50.00 plus £12.50 Gift Aid

May 10, 2019

Anonymous

well done Mike- Dennis Willetts

£50.00 plus £12.50 Gift Aid

May 10, 2019

Paul collins

Well done mike

£20.00 plus £5.00 Gift Aid

May 10, 2019

Rebecca

Well done

May 10, 2019

Anonymous

Well done Mike -great effort.

£10.00 plus £2.50 Gift Aid

May 9, 2019

Nick

I will be monitoring you via google maps and also by the location devices planted on your saddle . if I see a Uber taxi ur toast bro .! 👍🏻

£30.00 plus £7.50 Gift Aid

May 8, 2019

Mick - Mikes alter ego

Glad you got safely back to your fireside rocker and slippers, well done mate, now no more hair brained ideas, all the best, Mick

£50.00 plus £12.50 Gift Aid

May 5, 2019

Kay and Nancy

Paid in on behalf of Kay & Nancy - thanks for your donation, very much appreciated

£10.00

May 3, 2019

Rob

Paid in for Rob - Thanks a bunch Rob !

£10.00 plus £2.50 Gift Aid