Rugby professionals complete Caledonian Way challenge by finishing at Highland's Canal Park in Inverness
Get a digital copy of the Inverness Courier delivered straight to your inbox every week
Four former professional rugby players cycled the Caledonian Way last weekend to raise money for charity.
Ex-Glasgow Warriors Richie Vernon, Ruaridh Jackson and Ryan Grant were joined by former Edinburgh centre and Scotland 7s international Andrew Easson for the 234-mile journey from Campbeltown to Inverness, where the finish line was waiting for them at Highland Rugby Club’s home of Canal Park.
The cycle was raising money for the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation and Unite Against Cancer, with the total donated sitting at more than £8300 as the Inverness Courier went to print.
“We had a target of £5000, and the fact that we’ve gone over that by another few grand is absolutely fantastic,” Easson explained.
“We were just hoping to raise a bit of money for these two charities and organisations just to help out in any way we can, but the fact that we’ve raised over £8000 is brilliant.
“I’m so glad that everyone has been so generous and donated.
“Ruaridh is the ambassador for Unite Against Cancer, and obviously with the fantastic work that Doddie’s charity do and the link to rugby, we thought it was a good choice for us to do our bit to help out.”
The quartet completed the challenge in 34 hours, covering climbs elevating more than 5000m above sea level in total.
It took a physical toll on all of them, but it was worth it in the end.
“I’m still recovering now – my body took a bit of a beating on the hills – but it was awesome,” Easson added.
“The four of us had a cracking time, even though it was a pretty rough challenge.
“Some of the places that we saw on the way were just fantastic.
“There were some really testing times mentally going up some of these hills, but the relief and the buzz when we got across the finish line was awesome.
“We all crossed at the same time, which was great, the adrenaline was certainly going when we finished.”
Easson knew there would be climbs on the route.
He was not totally prepared for how tough the ascents would be to manage though.
“Some of the climbs were pretty mad. Certainly the one on day two, it had been flat the whole way and then we stopped in Fort Augustus for lunch.
“Richie said it was going to be a bit of a nasty climb, and we all thought it couldn’t be as bad as the day before, and it was definitely worse.”