Dis­abil­ity writer sets out on a cy­cling mis­sion

Campbeltown Courier - - NEWS - Han­nah O’Han­lon ed­i­tor@camp­bel­town­courier.co.uk

A man who re­fuses to be held back by his dis­abil­ity has set off from Camp­bel­town on a 237-mile cy­cling voy­age. Dis­abil­ity sports and travel writer David Reilly, who was born with cere­bral palsy, left Camp­bel­town on Mon­day morn­ing to con­quer the Cale­do­nia Way, an iconic cy­cling route through Ar­gyll and into the High­lands, end­ing in In­ver­ness. David hopes the 10-day jour­ney will raise aware­ness of ac­ces­si­bil­ity along the Na­tional Cy­cle Net­work (NCN), pro­mot­ing the Cale­do­nia Way, which is route 78, as an all-abil­i­ties route. He told the Courier that de­spite his dis­abil­ity, which af­fects his co­or­di­na­tion and bal­ance, he tries to pro­mote ac­cess and par­tic­i­pa­tion in out­door sports for ev­ery­one, and he does that by tak­ing part him­self. He will com­plete the ride with sup­port from the char­ity that co­or­di­nates the NCN, Sus­trans Scot­land, which aims to make it eas­ier for ev­ery­one to walk and cy­cle in Scot­land.

Ac­com­pany

He set off from out­side Camp­bel­town’s ferry ter­mi­nal with Mike Den­ni­son, mar­ket­ing and tourism de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer at Sus­trans, who will ac­com­pany him the whole way, and Laura White, vol­un­teer co­or­di­na­tor at Sus­trans, who will com­plete the first half of the jour­ney to Oban. David said: ‘I ap­proached Sus­trans about a year and a half ago as I wanted to cy­cle the Cale­do­nia Way - it took a while to get or­gan­ised but here we are. ‘As a dis­abil­ity sports writer, I work to im­prove op­por­tu­ni­ties for dis­abled peo­ple to take part and par­tic­i­pate in out­door sports. ‘The Cale­do­nia Way is an iconic route through the heart of some of Scot­land’s most spec­tac­u­lar scenery and I’m re­ally look­ing for­ward to rid­ing it. ‘I don’t un­der­es­ti­mate the chal­lenge, how­ever; 237 miles lie be­tween Camp­bel­town and In­ver­ness which is a re­ally big push for me but I re­ally look for­ward to com­plet­ing the pro­ject.’ Tom Bishop, Sus­trans’ head of net­work de­vel­op­ment in Scot­land, said: ‘We are re­ally ex­cited that David is to set out and ride the length of the iconic Cale­do­nia Way. ‘As a lead­ing dis­abil­ity writer, David’s unique ex­pe­ri­ence of cy­cling the Cale­do­nia Way, and the con­ver­sa­tions we hope it will in­spire, will help us to un­der­stand what is re­quired to make all of our NCN routes ac­ces­si­ble and in­clu­sive to all.’ Keep track of David’s progress by fol­low­ing him on Twit­ter (@david_ven­tures) or vis­it­ing his web­site (www. david­ven­tures.co.uk).

David Reilly, cen­tre, in Camp­bel­town at the start of his jour­ney, with Mike Den­ni­son, left, and Laura White, right.

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