Emotional arrival at Murrayfield for Buckie pals who cycled 400 miles from John o' Groats in memory of their friend
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A GROUP of seven men from Buckie have smashed the target they set for a marathon cycle run in memory of a childhood friend who took his own life ten years ago.
Ian Johnston, Jamie Ritchie, Calum Smith, Donald Mckay, Stuart Campbell, Kristopher Shearer and Alexander Innes hoped to raise £2000 for the men's mental health charity Brothers in Arms by cycling from Scotland's most northerly point John o' Groats to Murrayfield but the total is close to £10,000 and still climbing.
The group were cycling in memory of Greg Smith their pal at Buckie High School where he was head boy and a fellow member of Buckie Boys Brigade.
Greg's brother Calum was one of the cyclists and ahead of the cycle run, his sister Ailie completed a half marathon for the cause.
The cycle route was chosen to culminate at Murrayfield where Greg played rugby at a high level for Murrayfield Wanderers.
The cycle run set off from John o Groats on September 1 but work commitments meant that some of the lads could only cycle part of the way.
Five of the seven proudly cycled into Murrayfield on Saturday, September 4 and Ian Johnston who co-ordinated the plans said it was an emotional experience.
He said: "It was a relief to have completed but there was also a bit of disbelief that we had achieved what we set out to do. There only was us and two others in the stadium so it was quite surreal."
The route was planned using the Huli app to avoid traffic and Mr Johnston said the route took them through some remote and rugged but spectacular countryside.
After a day of cold and mist, the first night's stop was in Dornoch. Day two took them to Grantown on Spey and from there they cycled to Pitlochry before the finale to Murrayfield.
Mr Johnston said: "There was a real buzz on the last day as the Forth Road Bridge came into view then we crossed it and made our way into Murrayfield where friends and family were waiting for us with banners.
"There was just a surge of satisfaction as we are all different abilities for cycling but all of us got through it."
Regency Cars provided a back up vehicle which was packed with spares and even a spare bike but in the whole 400 miles, only one chain link was required.
Mr Johnston said: "We have such good memories of Greg so while we are very much aware of his absence, being together helps."
Anyone who would like to contribute in support of the cyclists should go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ride400-brothers-in-arms which remains open.