A north-east cancer survivor who undertook a gruelling challenge in aid of Friends of Anchor has raised almost £3,000 for the charity.
Retired policeman Jim Mitchell, from the city’s Kittybrewster, took on the 116-mile adventure on July 31 to raise funds for the charity, which supports patients in the Anchor unit at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.
Jim hoped to complete the challenge in mid-June, but it was postponed due to lockdown.
The endurance test included just under 4,000ft of climbing, both on foot and by bicycle from the starting point.
Leaving from sea level at Duthie Park, Jim cycled the Old Deeside Railway right through to Loch Muick, where he climbed Lochnagar before retracing his steps back to Aberdeen.
The challenge comes after the 65-year-old survived two bouts of leukaemia in 2004 and 2007.
And so far he has raised almost £3,000 for Friends of Anchor, which supports cancer and haematology patients from Aberdeenshire, Orkney and Shetland at the Anchor unit.
Jim, who now works as a driver for the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service, said: “It was brilliant day. I had two of my old friends, David and Ian, join me too which was great for company.
“The whole challenge ended up being 113.7 miles. We started at 6:55am and we did it in 15 hours, 12 minutes.
“We came back in the dark just after 10pm.
“It was the biggest challenge I’ve ever done. You don’t go out on an event which takes 15 hours thinking it will be easy.
“I’ve been told by friends and relatives it’s actually bordering on madness.
“But it’s something I had my mind set on and I had done large parts of it in preparation.”
Jim completed his first munro at a young age, and his recent challenge marked the 108th time on top of Lochnagar.
2020 marks his 50th year of hill walking – and 60 years of cycling.
He also ran the London Marathon in 2005, raising £13,000 for Children with Leukaemia, now called Children with Cancer UK.
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He said: “I’ve kept notes since I was a child and I do Lochnagar as an annual pilgrimage. The challenge was my 108th time on top.
“I slept for 12 hours afterwards. I wasn’t sore though because I put in a lot of practice and had racked up about 2,000 miles on my bike in the previous 10 weeks, so it worked a treat.
“We had no hitches, incidents or accidents, and the important thing is that including Gift Aid, we have almost raised £3,000 for Friends of Anchor.
“It’s been an extremely difficult time for charities. They’ve missed out on events like Courage on the Catwalk which has meant they have lost out on vital funds.”
Jim is already planning his next challenge for 2021.
He added: “We’re already looking at doing a new adventure in June next year. We’re planning to go from Linn of Dee, through Feshiebridge and Dalwhinnie, to Blair Atholl then back up Glen Tilt.
“That’s 87 miles in total, so I’m planning to keep up my training.”
To donate to Jim’s challenge, visit https://bit.ly/3ey97T3
The fundraising page will remain live until August 30.