Former Scottish Rugby captain Rob Wainwright is setting off on a mammoth cycle on Saturday to give hungry children hope for a better future.
Mr Wainwright, who lives on the isle of Coll, is raising money for Argyll-based charity Mary’s Meals.
The ex-rugby star turned farmer has persuaded eight friends to join him on the hilly Highland ride, which will see them cover 811 miles and 54,209ft of ascent – the equivalent of climbing 18 Munros – in just nine days.
The team has already raised more than £11,000 for Mary’s Meals, a charity that helps to break the cycle of poverty by setting up school feeding programmes in some of the world’s poorest countries.
Mary’s Meals provides a daily meal in school to attract hungry children to the classroom and currently reaches 894,288 children every school day.
The challenging ride has been nicknamed North of the Fault after the Great Glen fault line. The route will take the riders from Oban to John O’Groats via Applecross and Ullapool, then down through Beauly and back to Oban for the ferry to the Isle of Mull Sportive–an 88 mile cycle route with 3,500 feet of ascent.
Mr Wainwright said: “During the long winters on Coll we spend many an evening scheming about the exciting things we are definitely going to do in summer.
“We first toyed with the idea of doing a cycle from Land’s End to John o’Groats, but quickly decided we preferred our own neck of the woods, so the North of the Fault route was dreamt up. While our route is slightly shorter, it’s also rather more climbing and will be quite a tough ride for our team.
“We wanted a meaningful charitable element to such a demanding project, and the simple genius of Mary’s Meals was a no brainer, particularly since it started locally and is on our route.”
To sponsor the team, visit