Mark Beaumont, who earlier this year set a new world record for the quickest journey by bicycle from Cairo to Cape Town, has finished his latest adventure, and it’s one that’s closer to home – a journey of more than 500 miles in the Scottish Highlands, completed in less than 40 hours.
The adventurer, who comes from Glenalmond in Perthshire, is a former holder of the round-the-world record and has also ridden the lengths of the Andes, but his latest ride is the longest time he has ever spent in the saddle without a break.
He set off from Inverness Castle at 6am on Monday morning on the anti-clockwise North Coast 500 route, which took him through the spectacular scenery of Wester Ross, Sutherland, Caithness, Easter Ross and the Black Isle before finishing back in the Highland capital.
— North Coast 500 (@NorthCoast500) August 11, 2015
In all, Beaumont rode 516 miles in 37 hours 58 minutes, for an average speed of 13.6 miles an hour – an impressive enough achievement in the best of conditions, but as this tweet shows, Beaumont also had to cope with the worst that a Scottish summer could throw at him.
— Mark Canning (@mark_canning) August 10, 2015
Devised by VisitScotland and launched earlier this year, the North Coast 500 is pitched as the country’s answer to the iconic Route 66 in the US.
— Mark Beaumont (@MrMarkBeaumont) August 9, 2015
When it was unveiled in March, Mike Cantlay, chairman of VisitScotland, said: “From our enchanting wildlife and countless historic attractions, to magnificent mountains, dramatic lochs and sandy beaches, the Highlands is a true touring paradise.
“There really is nothing quite like the open road, and whether by car, motorbike or bicycle, this particular route really does take in some of the most picturesque parts of our beautiful country.
“People travel from all over the world for Route 66, and with our scenery, there’s no reason why the North Coast 500 can’t prove to be just as popular.
“You never know, at the end of the 500 miles, visitors might just be tempted explore 500 more.”
As for that record of 42 days set earlier this year for traversing the African continent from north to south, Beaumont’s efforts have already inspired a fresh attempt on it later this year.
In October, a seven man team including Tour of Wessex organiser Nick Bourne and Chris Froome’s mentor, the Kenyan rider David Kinjah, will aim to reduce it to 34 days – but they will have the advantage of riding it as a team time trial, whereas Beaumont rode solo and unsupported.
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.