Jack completes his Highland cycle challenge

Morpeth Mayor Jack Gebhard, right of three, did the cycle ride with friends George and Bella Murray.
Morpeth Mayor Jack Gebhard, right of three, did the cycle ride with friends George and Bella Murray.

Morpeth’s Mayor has completed a 500-mile cycle around the Scottish Highlands in aid of his chosen charity for his year in the role – Tyneside and Northumberland Mind.

Coun Jack Gebhard was joined on the ride, which started and finished at Inverness Castle, by friends George and Bella Murray.

George works in international development and his sister Bella is a medicine student at Bristol University. They are from Haywards Heath in Sussex.

The trio followed a route that is described as Scotland’s equivalent to the famous Route 66 across the USA as it is popular among motorists who use it as an opportunity to see the Highlands.

Some cyclists take the route as a challenge. It goes west to Applecross and then northwards, eventually reaching some of the most northerly coastal points in Scotland, including John O’Groats, before heading south again through Dingwall back to Inverness.

It also includes a 2,000ft pass called Bealach na Bà, widely regarded as the toughest cycle climb in the UK.

Coun Gebhard said: “The route was one of the most challenging rides I’ve done to date. The Highlands were predictably hilly and we were cycling into a headwind for most of the route.

“The area was very scenic, but the conditions often made it very difficult to appreciate the surroundings.

“Doing the ride for Tyneside and Northumberland Mind was a great motivator though and it made getting to the finish feel very special.

“The support we’ve received has made a big difference and I’m incredibly grateful.”

Donations are still coming in, and they can be made online by going to uk.virginmoneygiving.com/JustMayorThings or directly at Morpeth Town Hall.

Tyneside and Northumberland Mind provides advice and support to anyone in Northumberland or Tyneside experiencing mental health problems.