A 13-year-old girl is tackling a 250-mile cycle marathon across one of the wildest parts of Scotland this week in memory of her grandfather, who died from cancer during lockdown.
Isla Easto, from Newtonmore, aims to complete the coast-to-coast cycle from Ardnamurchan to Cruden Bay in four days.
She has so far raised nearly £7,500, surpassing her target of £4,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support in honour of her granddad Kenneth Easto, 78, who died from lymphoma in March.
Isla has been joined on the road by her father, Paul, a ken triathlete, while mother Susie and younger brother Euan are cheering them on from a support vehicle.
Isla said: “I wanted to do something to honour my granddad’s memory and to thank Macmillan Cancer Support for all the help they gave him and my family at a very difficult time. I’m doing this for my granddad but also for anyone who’s life has been affected by cancer.
“I love cycling so I came up with the idea of riding my bike across the breadth of Scotland in the Highlands.
“The route covers 400km and 4,500m of ascent so it’s quite a challenge. I plan to ride it over four days and my dad will be alongside me the whole way.”
The route will take the cyclists from Ardnamurchan Point to Fort William, then to Newtonmore, across to Ballater, with the final stretch to Cruden Bay on the last day.
The teenager added: “I’ve never done this route before so I’m quite excited about that, I’ve been doing a bit of training for it.
“I have done 100km rides before but never consistently so that’s going to be tough.”
Mrs Easto added: “Every time I think about what Isla is doing I get all choked up, she’s just amazing. The care from Macmillan that Ken received was just phenomenal.
“When Isla suggested doing this challenge with her dad for granddad, we just knew it was the right thing to do.”
She said the family have been overwhelmed by the response to the fundraising effort, including Isla’s schoolfriends who are supporting the marathon on their Facebook page.
The proud mum added: “Everyone is going through so much right now with the virus, so it’s just amazing the way people have been so generous in sponsoring Isla, it’s really lovely.”
Angela McCormack, Macmillan area fundraising manager in Scotland said: “What a fantastic challenge and what an inspiration Isla is. It’s a lovely thing to do to honour her granddad’s memory.”