Long time supporter Veronica is currently cycling all the way from Land’s end in Cornwall to John O’Groats at the top of Scotland! She is taking on his immense journey to raise money for Open Arms Malawi, something she is very passionate about, and therefore would greatly appreciate any support and donations.
Veronica spoke to us about her challenge to give you an idea of what she has taken on and what has been her inspiration.
What does the cycling challenge you are taking on involve and when will it take place?
I am cycling 990 miles (more if I take a wrong turning!) from Land’s End to John O’Groats starting on 2 June and finishing on 15 June.
What made you decide to take on such a long-distance cycle ride?
To test myself doing something different from my usual climbing Scotland’s 382 big mountains (Munros) and to raise money for a cause I have seen and feel passionate about.
What kind of fundraising will you do?
Many of my friends and family know of my love of Malawi and the passion I have to support the people on the ground who are trying to improve the quality of life of Malawians'.
They also appreciate that this cycling challenge is something very different from my normal activities and that it will be a challenge that I am not going to find easy to achieve.
I therefore had no qualms about asking them to support me. I let everyone know what I was doing through word of mouth and on social media.
What kind of training have you had to do for the cycling challenge and how has it gone?
Training has been patchy. It started by sitting on an exercise bike in my living room while watching Scotland play rugby on the television.
More recently, I have been cycling several times round Arthur’s Seat (an extinct volcano) in Edinburgh.
Each circuit is 5km and about 500 feet of climb. At the start of May I did a four day cycle from Carlisle to Glasgow – much of it into a strong northerly headwind. Hoping for a supporting wind in June!
What are you most looking forward to about the challenge?
Finishing! Before that, the chance to see the country close up rather than from a car on the motorway whilst travelling to visit the many members of my family who live in England (I'm one of nine!). Also experiencing the UK’s many beautiful areas including cycling beside many of the Munros I have climbed once we get to Scotland.
Is there anything about the journey you are not looking forward to?
The hills of Cornwall (over 4000 feet!) and many (unmentionable) parts of my body hurting.
What made you decide to fundraise for Open Arms Malawi?
I first visited Open Arms in 2016. I was deeply touched by the background stories of the babies and children being looked after.
In particular, I remember a six week old baby who had been named Moses as he had been found abandoned by the banks of the river. The ‘Mums’ do a fantastic job looking after children such as Moses and I want to support their amazing work.
My interest in going to Malawi was raised through reports of visits to the country from the pupils of the school my three boys attended (George Watson’s College).
The positive impact on those pupils making the trips (some changing career choices) made me want to know more. One of the outcomes of my first visit with other mums from the school was the setting up of the Watson’s Malawi Partnership to broaden support for Open Arms and other inspirational people/ charities doing amazing things in Malawi.
I have been back to Malawi and Open Arms twice and look forward to many more visits.
Good luck Veronica!
We are extremely grateful to Veronica for taking on this incredible cycle ride. Although it will be a difficult journey, fundraising like this makes such a difference to the lives of the babies and children in our care. You can donate to this challenge here.
If you are interested in taking on a fundraising challenge, however big or small, have a look at our website or contact us to find out how you can get involved!