Cyclist to visit every Scotch distillery for charityBy Melita Kiely
An outdoor instructor will cycle more than 2,000 miles across Scotland via every Scotch whisky distillery for charity.
Robert Richardson will begin his Whisky Ventures Ride on 12 May. His journey will begin from the most southerly distillery, Bladnoch, near Wigtown, Dumfries and Galloway, and will finish at the most northerly distillery, Saxa Vord Distillery on the Isle of Unst, Shetland.
The cycle will take six to seven weeks to complete, with Richardson hoping to finish on the Isle of Unst at the end of June.
Richardson hopes to raise £10,000 (US$13,000) for two charities: the Scottish regions of Cash for Kids and Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance.
Furthermore, Richardson is hoping to receive at least one bottle of whisky from each distillery visited for a charity auction. All proceeds will go to his chosen charity. Further details will be revealed in due course.
“The aim is that I’ll finish the ride at the end of June, and I hope all bottles will be in by the end of July,” Richardson explained. “They’ll then be catalogued and in the August auction.”
Richardson will be the only cyclist riding the entire route. However, cycling enthusiasts, friends and sponsors are invited to accompany him through various sections.
“At the Scottish borders, one of my sponsors will come and ride with me, a company called Cycle Law Scotland, a specialist law firm,” he added. “They’re one of the key partners for the event, based not far off my route, so they’re going to send staff members down to ride with me.
“Several distilleries are also having their staff join me for a day.”
Richardson will stay in a mixture of accommodation, including at various distilleries along the way.
Plans for Fèis Ìle cycle
He will arrive on Islay, home to distilleries including Ardbeg and Bowmore, on the first day (27 May) of this year’s Fèis Ìle festival. Any keen cyclists on Islay are invited to join Richardson’s adventure, beginning at Ardbeg between 9am-9.30am, and following the route to Kilchoman via the Lagavulin, Laphroaig, Bowmore and Bruichladdich distilleries.
“It’ll be an open invite,” he explained. “I’ll be on Islay for two nights. The plan at the moment is to start at Ardbeg and finish at Kilchoman, via distilleries en route between the two.”
Richardson began planning his charity bike ride around 18 months ago.
“I work as an outdoor instructor; I’m a geologist by training. I’ve done mountain climbing, biking before and had itchy feet to do something bigger than normal,” Richardson said.
“I first had the idea to do a bike ride about two or three years ago, and originally thought I can ride from the most southernly to the most northerly part of Scotland.
“Then I realised along the way, there are maybe 10 distilleries close to that route. Then I realised if I go one mile off route I get ‘X’ number more, another mile and ‘X’ more, and so on.
“It got to the point where I thought, I’m just going to all of them, every single malt distillery in Scotland, and it’s just slowly become this behemoth I’ve created.”
To support Richardson in his charity bike ride, visit his online fundraising page: cashforkidsgive.co.uk.
For further details and how to follow Richardson’s challenge, head to whiskyventures.co.uk.
Sponsors of The Whisky Ventures are: Cycle Law Scotland, Albion, Therm-a-rest, Scot Cycles, Mutts Cycles, and The Cycle Jersey.