Former Highland Captain and pal complete epic challenge

Former Highland Captain, and Ross Sutherland, stalwart Alan McLean (67) and Jimmy Beattie (66) have been friends since meeting at Agri college almost 50 years ago.

Jimmy is a keen cyclist, Alan not so!

When the two of them were on holiday in France last year with their wives at the time of the Rugby World cup in France the conversation arose of “what do you still want to do in life?” Jimmy said he’d long since wanted to cycle Lands End to John o Groats but had never found anyone who’d do it with him – Alan just said “I’ll do it” and so the LEJOG 2024 challenge began!!

With that in mind Alan and wife Mary bought Big Bertha- a motorhome that has been their base during the trip with Alan’s wife Mary driving, cooking and generally doing as much to support the boys as possible.

Of course such a challenge lends itself to raising money for good causes – and the lads chose the My Name’s Doddie Foundation and the Alzheimers Society.Bertha had been decorated in Doddie Tartan and has certainly been turning heads and attracting attention!

Please remember Alan is not a cyclist – an occasional cycle from his home in Portmahomack to the Tarbatness lighthouse and back was a major day out!

During the challenge, which started on June 4th the boys have cycled up to 74 miles a day, generally averaging 50-55 miles a day.

June should have been a pleasant month in which to do it but they’ve endured cold and wet days along the way. They have gotten up each day, pulled on their cycling gear (sometimes still a tad damp!) and got on their bikes and pedalled- fair enough, sometimes it’s been with a grimace on their face, but they did it!

All the way from Lands End in the deep south to John O’Groats in the far flung north!! 1108 miles their way! And a half! 1108.5miles!!

The lads have been joined on their trip by two wheeling family and friends, and hooked up with other adventurers along the way who have lent their encouragement and support on the long trek north.

They travelled through Inverness and popped by the club on 27th June before continuing over the Black Isle last week to catch the Cromarty to Nigg Ferry where there was a surprise cavalcade of family and friends with bikes and tractors to meet and escort them for a short distance en route to Alan’s home in Portmahomack.

They had a days rest, before completing the last leg up to John o Groats on July 2nd. As you can see they made it!

There seems a certain curiosity as to whether there have been fallouts along the way- have they always agreed? No! Have they sometimes felt irritated, annoyed or downright peed off by the other? Probably! Are they still friends at the end of it? Of course!

It was never about the speed of achieving it, it’s been about helping two very deserving charities – the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation and the Alzheimers Society and the people they in turn support.

For Alan and Jimmy this challenge is over but those living with MND and Alzheimers don’t have that luxury. The likes of Doddie and Rob Burrows carried on with a smile never far from their lips and with humour and a twinkle of the eye punctuating every call to action- they and others like them were a huge part of the inspiration for the boys to keep going.

Both Alan and Jimmy said it’s impossible to convey how very appreciative they are to each and every person and business that has donated or supported this trip in countless ways – “we take our begging hats off to you!” To date over £24760 (inc gift aid) has been raised for the two deserving charities. 

Their Just Giving Page will remain open for a few more days. You can make a donation at:

What an absolutely superb effort from two determined guys, and let’s not forget the dedicated support team consisting of Mary and Jimmy’s wife Liz.

Facts and figures?

Days cycling -24

Miles cycled-1108.5


Miles driven in Bertha to date -2055

Campsites stayed on- 17

Campsites we won’t return to -3

Launderettes used-12

Money raised to date- £24760 (incl Gift Aid)

Bananas bought and consumed-129

Number of times map checked and rechecked-countless!

Happiest day of the trip- the last one!🤣🤣

LEJOG 2024- over and out!🚴🎉👏❤️

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