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Cycle ride raises £4700

Thursday, December 11th, 2008

So the final figure raised from this summer’s Land’s End to John O’ Groats cycle ride has reached just short of £5000.  This sum was handed over to the Pokot Rural Services Trust at a presentation held last night at West Buckland School in North Devon.  Attended by the school cyclist, their families and teachers and directors of Travel and Insure and Trade Aid UK, the money will go to fund the 24 hi-bred goats and associated husbandry training that the Pokot Trust have delivered to the remote area of Northern Kenya where they do their important work.  Those who followed the progress of the cyclists in July, through the Travel and Insure Blog reports at the time, may recall the incident in Bridgewater, which could have de-railed the charity ride, when bikes were stolen but then recovered through the efforts of the local police.  Not only did this allow the riders to complete the ride but the Bridgewater Police Force also donated £100 to the sponsorship appeal and were present at last night’s ceremony to hand their cheque to the Pokot Directors.  This is just one of the many examples of generosity that the cycle team witnessed throughout their 12 day ride, all of which contributed to the very worthwhile cause that these 14 to 17 year old riders and staff supported in the Summer of 2008.  This article is brought to you by Travelandinsure.com – specialist in ethical travel insurance.

Journey’s end

Monday, July 21st, 2008

The final report has been received from the Land’s End to John o’ Groats cycle team who have posted the following: “After a fairly gruelling final 75 miles on Day 16 of our Land’ End to John o’ Groats, the team supported by two Travelandinsure directors crossed the finish line at 6.15pm on Sunday 20th July.  Not content with just the rain that has followed our progress right from the start, the elements decided to throw in a 30 mph headwind for good measure.  Departing from the tiny village of Altnahara, near Lairg, the route took us north along deserted minor roads to reach the Atlantic ocean at Bettyhill.  Then east along Scotland’s northernmost coastline through Thurso to John o’ Groats.  A journey of 960 miles since setting out on Saturday 5 July was never going to be a straight forward affair though we did not expect the weather to be so set against us but it as been worth all the effort. Some family members had travelled all the way to be there at the finish and to host an unexpected evening party which we all so appreciated.”  The team have now set off by minibus to return to Devon and for our staff members to return to Chichester.  What has been overwhelming is the way the general public have rallied to the cause.  Not only have people been really interested in the cycle feat itself but have been so generous in their support.  A mid way stop over in Carlisle for a quiet meal in Franco’s Ristorante resulted in a spontaneous donations to the Pokot Trust Project.  We could not ask for more.  This article is brought to you by travelandinsure.com – specialist in ethical travel insurance.

One day to go

Saturday, July 19th, 2008

The latest report from our cyclists has them at Lairg after two more days of cycling north from Fort William.  The route through the Highlands along the length of Loch Ness was spectacular despite the continuing drizzle – where has this summer gone?  But this could not dampen spirits as the cycle team followed the Caledonian Canal and along the banks of the longest loch in Scotland.  No sighting of Nessie but a brief stop at the Glengarry Castle Hotel for coffee showed how generous people can be with well wishes for the young team members and some unexpected donations.   This has been typical all along the ride but each time it happens, it still comes as delightful surprise and we are truly bowled over by it.  On to Evanton, near Dingwall, a distance of 75 miles for the overnight stop to be met by some of the families of the West Buckland students who have come up to spur on the team and be at John O’Groats at the end.  Then today, Saturday 19th, leaving Evanton in heavy showers and strong winds, the landscape began to change and start to become more remote as another 65 miles was completed to Altnahara, returning to Lairg to camp overnight.  And then there is tomorrow with the final push to the summit.  This article is brought to you by travelandinsure.com – specialist in ethical travel insurance.

Glencoe and beyond

Thursday, July 17th, 2008

The cycle team arrived at Fort William on 17th July. Setting a good pace after leaving Cumnock on Tuesday 15th, Glasgow was by-passed using recognised cycle routes and disused railway lines to cross the Clyde at Erskine Bridge and then on to Ardlui on Loch Lomond, a distance of 85 miles.  A change of plan saw the team completing this but then taking a well deserved rest day in Glasgow.  Back on the road today, and leaving Glasgow behind, Glencoe beckoned and this was reached by midday and then on to Fort William, another good ride of over 70 miles.  Glencoe was magnificent and the sight of two Golden eagles soaring above capped a glorious ride.  And how interesting the people are who you meet, such as Ewan McLeod, dressed in kilt at Glencoe who after, regaling us on the massacre, insisted in donating towards the Pokot Project. What a gent!. Three days to go with our arrival at John O’Groats still on time for Sunday.  This article is brought to you by travelandinsure.com – specialist in ethical travel insurance.

Land’s End to John O’Groats – Day 9 and 10

Monday, July 14th, 2008

What a difference a day makes or, put another way, when the sun shines out comes the smiles.  Sunday 13th July or Day 9 into the Lands End to John O’Groats ride was the best of the trip so far for outstanding scenery in Cumbria as we left Kirkby Lonsdale and passed through the historic towns of Sedburgh, Kirkby Stephen, Appleby-in-Westmorland and Brampton, the team covered 93 miles on a day difficult to better.  A brief stop at Pendragon Castle for the students from West Buckland School to scale the ruins was followed by a lavish picnic  on the pavement of Appleby. This was rounded off by a brief glimpse of Hadrian’s Wall as the team approached their overnight stop at Carlisle.  Drizzle on Monday 14th, Day 10, as the team set off again could not dampen spirits after the day before.  They crossed the border into Scotland by mid-morning, another major milestone and reached Sanquhar in Dumfries and Galloway, a distance of 65 miles.  Tomorrow’s task is to navigate through Glasgow to camp on the banks of Loch Lomond with a well earned rest day the following day.  We have been bowled over by all the heartfelt good wishes on our journey.  Too numerous to mention, we are enormously grateful for the comments of support received such as the one that reached us today – “Good luck and all best wishes to the kids (and accompanying adults!) on this great ride! We were at the camp site in Kirkby Lonsdale when these weary young adults rolled in, representing a fantastic cross section of teenagers today and presenting a face of which we as a group were very proud to see. You all deserve the credit which will surely come your way and the cause for which you are riding is fantastic. We will follow this ride until the end in just over a week’s time, and would like to say to all those who group the youth of today as one under achieving body, please look at these kids and be inspired. The best of life and luck to you all.”  This article is brought to you by travelandinsure.com – specialist in ethical travel insurance.

Scotland in sight for our cycle team

Sunday, July 13th, 2008

Day 9 and Scotland is in sight at last! The Land’s End to John O’Groats Cycle ride in support of the Pokot Rural Trust is approaching half way.  We have received another update from the team.  Since leaving Stroud on Day 6, the team headed north following the course of the River Severn completing 68  miles to Bridgnorth in Shropshire.  A detour to the night’s stopover at the Youth Hostel at Ratlinghope restored the morale of the team after what felt like continuous rain since leaving Land’s End on the 5th July.  The support minibus was beginning to resemble something akin to a mobile laundry and steam room.  Then onto Warrington for Day 7 which proved a fast day through the rolling landscape of Shropshire and then Cheshire.  Navigating through the industrial landscape and motorways proved tricky and finding the camp site flooded after a deluge of rain earlier in the week was less than desirable. Day 8 continued northwards through Blackburn and then into the beautiful Forest of Bowland and down into the idyllic Kirkby Lonsdale for for the overnight stopover. The team set of on Day 9 ready to cross Hadrian’s Wall and reach Gretna by the end of the day.  Crossing into Scotland will mark the point where we have less miles to go than have been covered. Onwards and upwards as they say.

Land’s End to John O’Groats update

Wednesday, July 9th, 2008

We have been following with great interest the progress of the Land’s End to John O’Groats sponsored cycle ride which set off on Saturday 5th July.  Two directors from Traveandinsure are accompanying three staff and eight students, aged from 14 to 18 years, from West Buckland School, North Devon as they try to complete the 930 mile trip by 21st July.  The proceeds raised will be given to Pokot Rural Services, again based in North Devon, who are in the process of introducing high quality, disease resistant goats into the Pokot region of Kenya.  But what of their progress to date?  Well it has not been without some trials and tribulations according to the first report we have received.  Met with the full force of an Atlantic gale at the start at Land’s End, they set off completing the 60 miles to St Austell, their overnight stop, in very miserable conditions.  Undeterred, the second day was little better with atrocious weather as they traversed Dartmoor to stop at Moretonhampstead.  News of the trip reached the media and enroute to Bridgwater on Day Three, they we were met by a film crew from TV Southwest and a short piece about the group should be shown on that channel later this week.  Then in the early hours on 8th July, at the campsite at Bridgwater, two local youths on a destructive spree resulting in several cars broken into and a school vandalised, smashed the rear window of the cycle ride minibus and stole three of the group’s bikes.  As they were doing this, the group were threatened by one of the youths brandishing a crowbar before running off.  Police were called and the description given of one of the assailants resulted in two arrests and the bikes being recovered in the space of a couple of hours.  Well done to the local Bridgwater police force for such a rapid result.  Again a huge media interest gathered pace with the story mainlining on Orchard FM, Lantern FM and the 6pm Drive Time Show on local South West Radio.  If anything, this has strengthened the spirit within the group and, in high spirits, the cyclists have pressed on and reached Stroud.  With a rest day planned for 9th July, the group will set off for Ironbridge on the next leg northwards on 10th July.  This article is brought to you by Travelandinsure.com, specialist in Ethical Travel Insurance.

Travel and Insure to sponsor cycle ride

Friday, July 4th, 2008

Over the next couple of weeks, two of our directors will be trading suits for lycra to ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats.  And, no it’s not a mid-life crisis but will be in support of one of the aid projects with which Travelandinsure has been involved over the last twelve months.  During this time, we have made donations to help buy hi-bred goats for breeding in Kenya through the Pokot Rural Service Project, a small organisation administered here in the UK.  The goats are bred by Farm Africa in their goat programme in Tanzania and then purchased by the Pokot Project.  These goats are of a high genetic source which will increase the health and productivity of local stocks and provide the owners with a good form of revenue. The farmers undergo a training period and are carefully selected to receive these goats and then, as the breeding cycle begins, the farmer gives back to the aid programme a quota, thereby enabling the scheme to develop its own self sustainability.  The plan is to continue training with members of women’s groups in the West Pokot community in North West Kenya.  In general, these people have not suffered directly from the riots which occurred in neighbouring districts in 2007 but they will nevertheless be greatly affected by its knock-on effects, as so many already live close to the breadline.  A second project is planned to start training another group in goat husbandry, thereby expanding the benefits of the Dairy Goat Improvement Programme. Not only does the scheme demonstrate the relevance and benefits of organic, rotational crop production but it also encourages small farmers away from the expensive, input dependant monoculture of maize that prevails in the area.  If you are interested to know more about our aid project activity, then do visit our Aid page on the Travelandinsure website.  Should you wish to follow the progress of the cycling team, then they will be posting regular updates on our website and, if you would like to sponsor our two intrepid cyclists, then you can do so easily on-line at www.justgiving.com/travelandinsure.