A 74-year-old Scot has cycled over 3000 miles across the United States to raise money for the National Trust for Scotland (NTS).
George Russell, who now lives in Colorado, set off from San Diego in California and arrived in St Augustine in Florida just 49 days later.
The ex-pat’s coast to coast bike journey has so far raised £39,000 for NTS.
Mr Russell’s cycle saw him face challenging terrains including hurricane warnings, but he had continued support from his wife Mary, who drove a support vehicle with him along the way.
Originally from Edinburgh, the 74-year-old still has strong ties to Scotland and to NTS. His grandfather was the charity’s first secretary and treasurer and was key in negotiating the purchase of Glencoe for the charity to protect.
His father also worked for the Trust for many years and was a Council Member Emeritus. George also served on the Trust’s Council.
Mr Russell’s support for the charity was in response to an emergency appeal, after the coronavirus pandemic placed the charity in an extremely challenging financial period.
He said: “I can’t quite believe I’ve finished – and that I only had to repair two flat tyres on the way!
“There were so many moments where we had to rethink our route after seeing poor weather forecasts, but more often than not the sun shone for us and it has been an amazing experience.
“Crossing eight US states on two wheels has been a totally eye-opening and a liberating journey and I never lost sight of the reason for it all.
“I was constantly reminded of Scotland and Trust-owned places like Glencoe and Ben Lawers when I was on the mountain paths and I’m proud that I’ve achieved this – not only for myself, but for my father and grandfather and everyone in Scotland that cherishes it’s heritage.
“The messages of support that I received along the way were what really kept me going and I’d like to thanks everyone that reached out and made a donation.”
Sir Mark Jones, Chairman of the National Trust for Scotland, said: “We are in awe of George’s incredible achievement and his dedication to our charity.
“Our profound thanks and admiration go out to him as he completes this epic journey. We know that he’s received so many messages of support and we’ve been cheering him on since the day he set off, from the other side of the Atlantic.”
George’s fundraising pages are still live and donations can be made here.
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