Twenty four days after setting off from Land's End on a mountain bike, Jonathan Hill arrived in John O'Groats, relieved to have finally completed the iconic cycling route.
By the time The Road to Parity's Founder and Chairman had reached the north east tip of Scotland, he was travelling on his third back wheel because of multiple fractures along the way. He'd also had to replace his seat, tyres, inner tubes and brake pads, and was wearing a wrist support following a fall coming over the Cairngorms in the Scottish Highlands.
After pedalling the entire length of Great Britain solo and unsupported through some of its most challenging cycling terrain, he had this to say on his 3 August arrival in John O'Groats.
Jonathan, a keen cyclist, wanted to combine a personal challenge with the launch of donation channels for the charity - and do something positive during Covid. A JustGiving page was set up and the pedal against poverty fund-raising target was set at £1,500. Daily updates were posted on the charity's Facebook page after the 11 July departure from Land's End. The final fund-raising total was £2,356.
"I'm really pleased the fund-raising target has not only been reached, but exceeded," Jonathan said. "A big thanks to all those who followed the journey and donated, including the kind people who gave along the way. The support meant a lot and provided much-needed encouragement, particularly when climbing some of those killer hills!"
All the money raised goes to Project Unnati (meaning progress) in India. The programme helps people in extreme poverty to set up tiny businesses - with a one-off grant of around £50.
Many of the entrepreneurs who are supported have had little education and are illiterate. Despite this, the results so far have been extremely promising. None of the businesses - mostly street stalls - have failed and household income has increased by up to 120%.
Reflecting on the journey, Jonathan said: "The trip gave me so much more than I expected. Yes, it was an immense physical challenge and I'm glad it motivated people to donate. But it was also an opportunity to re-acquaint myself with my home country - an incredibly diverse, and at times, stunningly beautiful island."
The route took Jonathan through England, Wales, back into England, and up through Scotland. Including the 17 miles back to Wick train station from John O'Groats, the overall distance covered was 932 miles.
He added: "As I progressed north, so many aspects gradually changed; accents, culture, architecture, landscape and the weather. It was so refreshing and therapeutic to be so close to nature day after day, especially in areas of wilderness. And all of this as Covid restrictions were lifting with different rules in different places. It was a truly fascinating adventure and one I will never forget."
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