A 75-year-old former Royal Marine has completed a gruelling 542-mile cycle around the North Coast 500 to raise funds for a charity helping veterans suffering from mental health issues.
Jonathan Thomson, who has family connections in Aberdeen, took on the challenge to raise £10,000 for PTSD Resolution, which provides support to veterans, reservists and families struggling to reintegrate into a normal work and family life.
Mr Thomson, who during his lengthy careers served eight years with 45 Commando Royal Marines based near Arbroath, said “an unacceptable number of veterans suffer from mental health issues, including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which can have a devastating effect on the individual and their families”.
He, and a small support team, set off from Inverness Castle last Monday and arrived back yesterday afternoon.
Because the team wanted to avoid the A99/A9, the route saw them doubling back from John O’Groats before heading south and on to Inverness via Altnaharra and Laig.
Saturday was one of the toughest days, given they had to retrace some of their route, and completed around 100 miles and climbed a total of 1,262m.
After finishing at the Flora MacDonald monument at Inverness Castle yesterday Mr Thomson had covered a total of 542 miles.
PTSD Resolution is a charity helping those who suffered trauma during services in the armed forces.
This may cause flashbacks, nightmares, anger and depression – often leading to violence, alcohol and substance abuse, job loss, family breakdown and even suicide.
PTSD Resolution has no salaried staff or assets and donations received fund the cost of treatment by local therapists. The charity receives no government funding.
Jonathan said he was delighted to have completed the challenge and “raise much-needed funds” for the charity.
He said the hardship of cycling in all weathers, and having to eat breakfast in a car because of Covid restriction at a B&B on the west coast, was nothing compared to what the veterans who are receiving help from PSTD Resolution.