An Aberdeenshire man who has overcome trauma and tragedy through cycling has conquered one of Europe’s most fearsome mountain passes.
Doug McIntosh, from Westhill, completed the Stelvio Pass in Italy – the second highest mountain pass in the Alps – as part of a challenge he set himself following the death of his son earlier this year.
The keen cyclist – who lost an arm to cancer in 1997 – set himself three challenges in memory of 28-year-old Scott and to raise memory of four-year-old grandson Riley.
After ticking off the Ride the North and Big Belter, Mr Mcintosh saved the best until last by climbing the 9,045ft Stelvio Pass.
But Mr McIntosh’s Italian job got off to the worst possible start.
He said: “Last year when I did Mont-Ventoux I took my own bike, which was a bit of a headache, so this time I decided to rent a bike when I got to the Stelvio Pass.
“At Mont Ventoux there were about a hundred bike shops, technicians and all the rest of it.
“But when I arrived at the Stelvio Pass there was one bike shop, and when I went there I soon learned it was closed for the season.
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“I noticed a window was open so I shouted in. When I saw someone there I explained that I was doing the Stelvio Pass the next day but didn’t have a bike.
“She put me in touch with a guy who she said could help me.
“When he showed me his collection, it was about a dozen shopping-type bicycles, a wrecked racing bike, and in the corner, a mountain bike. I took the mountain bike.
“It was about four times heavier than my normal climbing bike.
“It just put another spin on the challenge, and in the end it was fantastic, by far my favourite of the three events.
“The views at the top are really spectacular, it’s really impressive to look at.”
Mr McIntosh has raised over £5,600 so far, and is keeping the fundraising site open until his birthday on December 18. To donate click here.