Sport Relief: Blizzards, ice and sub-zero temperatures as stars head off from John O'Groats

Celebrities complete grueling first 24 hours of £1 million charity ride

by Simon_MacMichael   March 2, 2010  

Sport Relief David Walliams

David Walliams’ team of celebrities are 24 hours into their Sport Relief John O’Groats to Land’s End ride which aims to raise £1 million for the charity, and with high winds, icy roads, a blizzard and temperatures well below freezing as the riders head towards Glasgow, they must be wondering just what they’ve got themselves into.

The day got off to a bad start for poor Miranda Hart, who suffered a clipless moment even before the group had moved off to ride the first hour together. It’s happened to all of us, although typically, the worst that’s likely to happen is that your tumble might have been watched by some passing schoolkids, much to their delight.

So just imagine how much worse the embarrassment must be when it’s caught by a phalanx of press photographers, with a TV film crew getting in your face to capture it on film as well. Then, add to that the fact that most of your riding companions for the next few days are professional comedians – you have to feel for her.

Travelling north to south, the celebs are of course riding against the prevailing wind, and there was another inauspicious omen at the start when a particularly strong gust blew the start sign over, but undeterred, the group headed off to begin their 1,000-mile journey.

Following the opening hour, Walliams took up the challenge by himself, with his co-riders taking shelter in the accompanying bus while awaiting their own turns in the relay, and each will have a story to tell.

In Fearne Cotton’s case, that would revolve around her riding through a snowstorm and having to stop to fix a puncture to boot, while Patrick Kielty could point towards his “mangled” bike after coming off, although he completed his stint and a subsequent one during the night that took him through Glencoe with his water bottle freezing as the thermometer hit 15 below.

Walliams, meanwhile, had to swerve to avoid a stag in the middle of the road, while during a “brutal, brutal” night, Davina McCall undertook her two-hour turn with the temperature never getting above minus ten Centigrade, so cold that it forced one of the experienced outriders to abandon after he stopped being able to feel his tongue.

If it’s any conslation to the riders, it looks like it’s going to be another lovely early spring day down south, which is where they’re headed – but that is likely to be cold comfort right now as they head along the west coast towards England.

You can follow the riders’ progress on the GPS tracker on the Sport Relief website, where you can also make a donation, while regular updates are being provided on the Sport Relief Twitter feed.

9 user comments

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Hang on - have I missed something - are they taking it in turns? Now thats not really an achievement is it. Thinking

jobysp's picture

posted by jobysp [145 posts]
2nd March 2010 - 10:44

1 Like

Were we a bit harsh with the comments about this on a previous thread?

Looks like they dug in overnight in some pretty bloody cold temperatures. Its easy for us who put the miles in regular to mock and pull it apart. They have changed my opinion anyway and got a donation out of a cynical miserable bugger.

Chapeau guys and girls.

demoff's picture

posted by demoff [344 posts]
2nd March 2010 - 10:58

1 Like

"Davina McCall undertook her two-hour turn with the temperature never getting above minus ten Centigrade, so cold that it forced one of the experienced outriders to abandon after he stopped being able to feel his tongue."


posted by VecchioJo [800 posts]
2nd March 2010 - 13:18


Heh! I hadn't thought about it being interpreted in more than one way Wink

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [9243 posts]
2nd March 2010 - 14:25


I think it's a pretty impressive achievement...

and let's not forget it's for charity...

unlike the link on biking2work which earns jobysp money every time one of his visitors gives to Cancer Research UK. Surprise

Go celebs!

posted by Roadkill [43 posts]
2nd March 2010 - 19:50

1 Like

Cycling in minus temperatures is pretty unpleasant but -10!! Brrr. Hats off.

Sanyi's picture

posted by Sanyi [15 posts]
3rd March 2010 - 0:35


Roadkill - doesn't earn me any money - all money is donated back to the charity.

I also donate some of my wage every month to Cancer Research, and I also do a little bit of work for RNIB and raise money through cycling events.

But thanks for looking Wink

jobysp's picture

posted by jobysp [145 posts]
3rd March 2010 - 13:51


Nice one jobysp, you're clearly more charitable than your post might suggest Wink

Not sure why you'd get a charity to give you money for you to give it to charity though. Assume that you realise that even though you give it back the affiliate network don't so it costs the charity a fair bit of money in the long run...

posted by Roadkill [43 posts]
3rd March 2010 - 16:49

1 Like

Yes I suppose you are right in that sense and never thought of it that way - LOL! Big Grin

I'll replace it later.

jobysp's picture

posted by jobysp [145 posts]
3rd March 2010 - 17:10