A kilted Perthshire cyclist is in training to complete 175 kilometres in one day on a Penny Farthing in support of a challenge led by Glenalmond College to raise funding for bursaries to attend the school.
Glenalmond is gearing up to celebrate its 175th anniversary next year and is currently undertaking #Challenge175 to raise funds to support places for children who would not otherwise be able to attend the school.
David Fox-Pitt MBE, a parent of two pupils at the Perthshire school and also a member of the school’s Council, is set to attempt to complete 175 kilometres (equivalent to 108 miles) on May 8, perched aboard his precarious mount.
Starting from Glenalmond College at 7am, David is aiming to complete ‘The Highland Route’ over a period of around 13 hours.
After an early morning send-off from pupils and staff at Glenalmond, he will head to Crieff, Braco and Comrie before continuing to Lochearnhead, Killin, Kenmore, Aberfeldy and Ballinluig, then down to Bankfoot and back to Glenalmond. Mr Fox-Pitt chose the route because it passes through the sites of five Roman forts which are a personal interest of his.
David said he is delighted to be getting behind Glenalmond’s #Challenge175 in this unusual way: ‘This really is an outstanding school where young people are offered incredible opportunities including wonderful sports and activities as well as academic education giving them an amazing life experience.
‘Being able to provide bursaries for young people to attend is vitally important and, for those who are able to attend with this support, it will make a massive difference to their lives.’
The most challenging aspect of his Penny Farthing endurance test, apart from those posed by wearing the kilt, will be the steeper hills which he said are tough both going up and coming down as a Penny Farthing has no gears, no suspension and no brakes to speak of.
David added: ‘A Penny Farthing takes longer to react than an ordinary bicycle and so there is also need for extra care when cycling through towns and villages – even deer and sheep on rural roads can pose a challenge if they emerge suddenly!’
The kilt plays a big part in Glenalmond’s heritage and pupils at the school, both boys and girls, proudly wear their kilt on Sunday mornings and on special occasions so David decided it was appropriate to wear one as he heads off during his 175km Penny Farthing challenge.
David concluded: ‘The kilt and sporran will certainly add an extra challenge or two – the technique for mounting is tricky to master at the best of times and the kilt certainly adds an extra complication to that! But, in fact, it is very comfortable to wear once you are safely onboard and provides good circulation of air!’
Dr Michael Alderson, Head of Glenalmond College, is delighted with the support from David via this unusual way of completing the Challenge.
He said: ‘In just a few weeks we have already raised more than £60,000 for bursaries thanks to the efforts of pupils and staff, current and former, and their families.
‘We are also very grateful for the generous support of a great many others with links to Glenalmond and our thanks go to our #Challenge175 sponsors Johnston Carmichael Wealth.
‘The provision of more bursary-funded places will allow us to offer a fantastic education to young people who could not otherwise come to a school like Glenalmond and the difference that can make is truly life-changing.
‘All of our pupils know how fortunate they are to be able to attend Glenalmond, with the outstanding teaching staff and facilities it offers, and we are looking forward to being able to open our doors to even more pupils through bursary-funded places.’
For more information and to support Glenalmond’s #Challenge175 visit HERE.