An East Devon adventurer is cycling and canoeing hundreds of miles from Edinburgh to Exmouth to raise funds for three charities.
Alistair Cope, has embarked on the epic solo, unsupported expedition and is covering the distance, 390 miles by bike and 300 miles by canoe – and 111 locks – in four weeks.
The 55-year-old is raising funds for brain injury charity Headway Devon and the Exeter Royal Academy for Deaf Education.
Blesma, which helps servicemen and women who have lost limbs or their eyesight, will receive 10 per cent of the funds.
Alistair, who runs adventure cycle tour company Velo Ventures, founded the Jurassic Classic and organises the Velo Vintage events, is no stranger to adventure – in 2010 he circumnavigated the British coastline, 6,600kms in 64-days, for the Tour of Britain.
The father-of-three from Seaton will tow his specially made flax covered canoe behind his bicycle until he finds water and then swap them over and put his bike into the canoe and paddle.
The majority of the water course will be on canals.
He has received support from Saddles and Paddles in Exeter and Bikelands in Exmouth.
And Pashley Cycles has sponsored Alistair by providing him with the traditional style bike and this will be auctioned off on Ebay for the cause.
“When I cycled from John O’Groats to Land’s End some years ago I noticed how much water there was and wanted to combine two things I love,” he said.
“I wanted to raise funds for local charities so decided to finish locally.”
Alistair has been inspired by all three charities he selected to raise money for.
Headway Devon provided much needed support to his sister who suffered a head injury she sadly didn’t recover from.
And on a visit to the deaf academy a while ago, Alistair said he was “very moved” by the work that goes on there.
The cyclist also wanted to support Blesma after guiding for the Soldier Ride.
“The ride involved 30 soldiers from the UK and America who had all lost limbs,” he explained. “It was the most moving ride I’ve ever been on. They were doing courageous stuff, it was amazing. I wanted to do anything I could to raise the profile of the charity.”
The route will take Alistair through Edinburgh, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, York, Doncaster, Nottingham, Birmingham, Stratford-upon-Avon, Gloucester and finally Exeter and Exmouth.
He is due to finish in Exmouth on Saturday, September 14, when Exmouth Town Council are supporting Alistair in staging a community celebration for his return.
“From York all the way to Gloucester it is possible to go by canal,” he continued.
“It will be absolutely amazing.
“I’m going to camp when I’m tired so where I stop isn’t determined completely. If I’m having a good day I’ll keep going and if I’m having a bad day, I’ll stop.”
For the last leg of his journey, from the canal basin in Exeter to Exmouth via Double Locks and Turf Locks and then a paddle across to Lympstone and onto Exmouth, people are invited to join him for all or part of it.
Details will be uploaded to the expedition website.
For more information and to donate visit, www.papete.co.uk.