Scottish midge threat to charity underwear cyclists

Chairty bike riders leave lots of skin exposed

by Tom Henry   July 15, 2009  

Midge (Scottish biting midge)

Erratic drivers and cramp may be the bane of a cyclist’s life on the road. But for friends Adam Dunn and Gavin Topley it’s the humble Scottish midge that could prove the biggest problem while in the saddle.

The two men are cycling from Lands End to John O’Groats in only their underwear to raise money for charity. And cycling into the Highlands later this week, having reached Dumfries and Galloway, will take them into prime midge territory.

The biting midge is notorious for spoiling holidays in Scotland and thrives in warm, damp conditions. Indeed the Scotish tourist industry is estimated to lose around £286m year because of the insect. Mr Topley  said: “We’ve no midge protection but we may have to get some if they get bad. “It might be a case of us cycling on and having to deal with it later.”

In fact it’s not just midge repellent that the pair, from Branksome, near Bournemouth, haven’t packed for the trip. They also took no money, food or clothes and are relying on the kindness of residents for free meals and accommodation. They only took water, ID, phones, a camera, and a map, and Mr Topley added: “The response as been really good so far and we have met some interesting people.”

They hope to raise £3,000 for ActionAid, one of the world’s largest development agencies helping more than 13 million of the world’s poorest people.