A group of cyclists returned to Stonehaven on Sunday after completing a five-day 700 mile cycle in aid of rugby legend Doddie Weir's charity, the 'My Name'5 Doddie Foundation'.
Organised by a group of Stonehaven residents under the banner 'STRIVE' the cycle covered the length of Scotland, from Stonehaven to Melrose and back, stopping off overnight en route in Inverness, Perth, Glasgow and Edinbugh.
A separate group travelled from Orkney, taking the ferry to Scrabster before joining the main group in Inverness on the first day of the trip.
They were welcomed by family, friends and event supporters, all of whom had taken part in a 5km charity ‘Gump Walk’ earlier in the day, which left and ended at Stonehaven harbour.
The cycle is one of three events being organised by STRIVE as it aims to hit a fundraising target of £75,000, the other two being a rugby tournament taking place in Stonehaven on Saturday, August 25th and a charity ball on Saturday, September 22nd at Aberdeen’s Marcliffe Hotel.
STRIVE was set up by Orcadian Willie Tulloch (43) who now lives in Stonehaven.
Commenting on the cycle, Willie said: "The whole experience has been absolutely fantastic and we were completely overwhelmed by the support that was given to us as we travelled.
"It is utterly astounding that there is still so little known about motor neuron disease and it seems it is becoming increasingly common. We want to do whatever we can to help Doddie raise awareness of the disease and the funds required to provide those suffering from it with a better level of care, while research into its cause is ongoing.
"Everyone was stunned to learn of Doddie's illness last year. He is a larger than life character and his decision to publicly share his diagnosis was incredibly brave. Since then he has demonstrated how he is every bit as inspirational off the pitch as he was on it.
"In fact his attitude and courage was a real motivating factor when it came to clocking up the miles over the past five days. There were definitely times that we were tired and sore, but remembering why we were doing it all kept everyone going right to the finish line."
“Speaking with Doddie in Melrose he said the thing that keeps him going is maintaining a positive mindset. There is a lesson in that for us all.”
During the trip, the cyclists met SRU chairman, Colin Grassie, spent some time with the Glasgow Warriors squad at their home ground, Scotstoun Stadium and also met with Mr Weir himself in Melrose, where he spent much of his playing career.
Willie continued: "It was great getting the opportunity to meet with Colin and with the Glasgow Warriors players. Everyone was so positive about what we were doing and provided lots of words of encouragement. But meeting Doddie Weir himself, in Melrose, was a real highlight. He's been sending supportive messages to us since we announced we were going to embark on our fundraising campaign, but it was extra special to actually meet with him and discuss what we're doing.
“I also must give special mention to the many people without whose help and support none of this would have been possible. Out on the road we’ve visited rugby clubs who have provided food and refreshments for us and at Highland and Perthshire rugby clubs, they hosted 5km Gump charity walks, both of which had a fantastic turn out of adults and kids and raised even more money.
"I'm sure it'll take us a bit of time to really process what's been achieved here, but we don't have too much time to sit back as we're now looking ahead to our rugby tournament in Stonehaven, where a number of ex-Scotland Internationals will be turning out, as well as our charity ball.”
More information about My Name’5 Doddie Foundation can be found at myname5doddie.co.uk
For more information about STRIVE visit www.strive.buzz