MOST people take about a week to walk the West Highland Way with some elite runners doing it in a shade less than 24 hours - but one cyclist has managed to cycle from Milngavie to Fort William and BACK again in just under 29 hours.
Phil Simcock (40) is the first person to cycle continuously - if you disregard stopping in Fort William for the time it takes to eat a bowl of rice pudding - in a time of 28 hours and 59 minutes.
The civil engineer, said he had always wanted to do the endurance cycle ever since doing the walk with his wife Jacqueline, who is from Milngavie, about 10 years ago.
The cyclist who has been riding for more than 20 years, but only doing endurance racing for about four years, said: “Three years ago I cycled from Fort William to Milngavie and in January this year I won a 24 hour endurance race with 16 to 17 hours of it done in darkness.
“The race was called the Strathpuffer and winning it gave me a huge amount of confidence and spurred me on.”
Phil’s, who has two daughter aged five and seven, set off from the Obelisk in Milngavie at 8am on Saturday September 15 and got to Fort William before it got dark at 8.30pm. After his brief stop he made the return trip, and his only worry was to time his arrival at the top of Loch Lomond - which is a particularly tricky part of the walk - as it was getting light.
He said: “I timed it perfectly. I was worried that I may have to tackle what is the most difficult part of the walk in the dark but I arrived at the top of Loch Lomond at 5am just as the light started to come up.”
But Phil from Ramsbottom near Manchester did have to deal with driving rain when it was dark and thought of hypothermia, adding: “I was doing to cycle supported so travelling very light. Although it rained on my way back from Fort William the worst rain was just before I finished on the last stretch into Milngavie. I was wet through and feeling very cold.”
READY FOR THE CHALLENGE . . . Phil Simcock ahead of his mammoth cycle.
SADDLE SORE . . . Phil in full flight.
FINALLY FINISHED . . . a relieved Phil at the end of his 29 hour West Highland Way cycle.