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Forres baker Lewis Maclean was part of 40-strong team who cycled 500 miles over five days in aid of Maggie’s Highlands charity


By Garry McCartney

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Lunch at Lewis' shop in Grantown-on-Spey.
Lunch at Lewis' shop in Grantown-on-Spey.

A father-of-three from Forres helped raise an estimated £350,000 for charity by cycling 500 miles in five days.

Lewis Maclean (56), managing director of Maclean’s Highland Bakery, took part in the Maggie’s 500 Cycle from September 6-10 around the Cairngorms National Park as part of a group of 40 participants, personally raising more than £4000 on his JustGiving page so far.

Lewis is grateful to anyone who contributes.

He said: “The generosity of friends, family, and strangers is guaranteed to make me emotional! The thought of it made any pain I had just temporary and helped me plough on, especially on the day I seriously contemplated pulling out!

“I would also like to thank my cycling buddies who helped with my training and offered me some great tips.”

Lewis in his green and white helmet (2nd from right) and his group in Speyside.
Lewis in his green and white helmet (2nd from right) and his group in Speyside.

The cyclists were based at the Macdonald Hotel, Aviemore and did 100 miles-a-day in aid of Maggie’s Highlands, Raigmore Hospital, Inverness. They ascended 30,000ft (more than 9000m), including at Glenshee, The Lecht and Cairngorm ski centres.

The ‘Queen’ stage involved a 104mile/167km circuit with more than 8000ft (2500m) of climbing over the two highest roads in the UK.

Tackling the Lecht.
Tackling the Lecht.
The Lecht conquered.
The Lecht conquered.

Lewis said: “Thursday was by far the hardest day. We were dropped off at Blair Atholl and had six big hills to cycle up.

“Toughest was the first one coming out of Pitlochry – I would give it a nine out of 10 for difficulty. Next was Glenshee which was 10 out 10 for pain. Finally, cycling up from Cockbridge to The Lecht was 11 out of 10! By the time we got up the Lecht it was about 5.30pm and the weather was overcast, getting misty and dark.”

At the top of Glenshee.
At the top of Glenshee.

He added: “My fellow cyclists and support team were fantastic, encouraging me all the time.

“The scenery was often mind-blowingly beautiful.”

A tired, but beaming, Lewis Maclean at the finish in Inverness.
A tired, but beaming, Lewis Maclean at the finish in Inverness.

The riders eventually crossed the finish line on Inverness High Street.

Lewis' family caught a glimpse of him near Rafford.
Lewis' family caught a glimpse of him near Rafford.

Lewis said: “I had nothing left in the tank on the Friday, so it was good that the route was close to Forres – I was able to meet my wife Diane and daughter Claire for a hug just out of Rafford.

“I was met in Inverness by my brother-in-law Ross and nephew Innes.”

Event co-organiser Willie Gray, managing director of Ark Estates, said. “To cross the line and see we had raised £350,000 for Maggie’s Highlands made it all worthwhile.

“It was an incredible feat of mental and physical endurance over some of the hardest terrain in Scotland.

“All the team did brilliantly and we couldn’t have done it without the support of our families and sponsors.”

Lewis is now looking forward to a new,more domestic, challenge at home.

He said: “We are trying to train the new family dog. The thought of going on some nice long walks is really appealing.”

Lewis can still be sponsored at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/lewis-maclean1?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=fundraising&utm_content=lewis-maclean1&utm_campaign=pfp-tweet&utm_term=8787b456a1cf4ad994d2606ff672e408



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