Pals complete their ‘Tour de Scotland’

Two friends from Mintlaw have successfully completed their charity cycle challenge around the west side of Scotland.

Paul Finnie and Stuart Watt took on the 630 mile challenge in aid of three charities; Kayleigh’s Wee Stars, Mintlaw Boys Club and Macmillan Cancer Support.

Paul Finnie and Stuart Watt were given a warm welcome by their family and friends

Paul Finnie and Stuart Watt were given a warm welcome by their family and friends

Their epic journey saw them start off at Stranraer on Saturday, August 9, before passing John O’Groats, Skye and Dunvegan before arriving at Boddam on Friday, August 15.

Paul’s dad Arthur, and eldest son Macaulay were always nearby with a support vehicle just incase they got into any trouble.

Stuart and Paul set up a charity Facebook page that they updated as much as possible throughout their journey with pictures as well as uploading maps showing their route for each day.

The pair arrived back in the north-east on schedule and were delighted to return to a warm welcome from their family and friends outside the Buchan Braes.

Staff at the hotel heard about their fantastic achievement and treated Stuart and Paul to a meal.

Speaking to the Buchanie at Boddam, Stuart said: “We are both absolutely delighted to be home.

“We will wake up with a strange feeling and it is sad that it’s all over but the whole experience was over and above our expectations.

“There were no hitches at all, it was absolutely amazing in that respect and even the weather didn’t fault us.

“The organisation of the whole event went perfectly and that was massively helped by Arthur and Macaulay - we couldn’t have done it without them.”

This was the first long distance cycle challenge for both Paul and Stuart, but they admit it’s something they might not repeat as Stuart said: “We will carry on with the fundraising but whether it will be something as audacious as this, I’m not sure!”

When asked about his favourite moment, Stuart said: “The three best parts were the amazing scenery at Skye; cycling up a very large hill beside Strathcarron, which was nearly the end of us, but when we got near the top we heard two people playing bagpipes in a lay-by which kept us going; and finally arriving home at Mintlaw, seeing our friends cheering us on along the streets and tooting at us in their cars.

“We were soaked to the bone for two days straight due to the monsoon conditions brought on by the tail end of Hurricane Bertha, but we carried on because we are made of steel!”

Stuart added: “We have been overwhelmed by the support we have received and we would like to say a massive thank you to everyone from local businesses to individual people.”

Paul and Stuart are still accepting donations online at www.justgiving.com/minfin and cash donations are also welcome.