[gallery ID=66]

Island weatherman Eddie Graham set out on a 500-mile cycling challenge from the Butt of Lewis on Wednesday July 4th, and is now looking back at the venture and hoping to raise awareness of the BEAT (Beating Eating Disorders) charity still more.

A well-known weather commentator and Lews Castle College lecturer with a huge student following at the University of the Highlands and Islands, he says: “Anorexia and related eating disorders are powerful, insidious and highly destructive illnesses, with death rates equivalent with those of childhood cancers.

"A worryingly high and increasing number of teenage girls and boys are affected by them, among them a member of our own family.

“Medical resources are generally very limited (or indeed entirely lacking) in ways to treat and tackle these illnesses. Improved awareness and medical resources are necessary to beat these illnesses.”

Looking back today (Tuesday August 21) he says: “I just want to finally thank you all again for your support during my #eddy500 cycle challenge this summer.

“Altogether I have raised some £2,000 for the BEAT (Beating Eating Disorders) charity. Every single penny raised goes to them.

“Of course, the cycling may be over for the moment, but the journey doesn't end here, as I hope my challenge will have gone some way towards supporting families with some-one suffering from an eating disorder. But even more important than the money, is the raising of awareness of these severe and life-threatening illnesses. 

“A reminder for those of you based in the UK, the BEAT helpline telephone number is: 0808 801 0677.

He explains: ”I did the 500 miles in 11 different stages, starting by cycling the full chain of the Outer Hebrides of Scotland from north to south, from the Butt of Lewis to the Isle of Barra. The weather was glorious and dry.

“I also made it my challenge to visit every populated Hebridean island, but realising that I had missed Great Bernera, I cycled there on 12 July, in yet more fine weather.

“From the 23-27 July, the family joined me as we cycled the Great Glen of Scotland together, from Fort Augustus to Fort William, alongside the beautiful Caledonian Canal.

“Again, the weather was stunningly warm, and we plunged into every loch en route, sometimes twice in a single day!

“However, on the night of 27/28 July, the weather finally broke with a violent electrical storm, and we got soaked to the skin in a massive cloudburst while cycling the beautiful, lonely parallel roads of Glenroy.

“On 30 July, I had another enjoyable run on the bike from Laggan, Glen Cluney, all the way to Inverness Raigmore, on the cycle track.

“Then it was back to Ullapool and Stornoway, where the children and family needed me.

“The worst and most challenging run was on the final day return from Stornoway to Scalpay (my final populated island).

“I waited impatiently to get going on Saturday 4 August, starting at 5:30am at the crack of dawn. However, battling against a strong cold wind and miserable skies, by 8am I had journeyed only 25 miles.

“Like Toad, I hid temporarily under a bridge to escape the worst of the weather, falling asleep for 30mins, only to awake shivering and wishing for my warm bed!

“Returning over the Clisham, the mountain gods seemed to release all of their otherworldly demons at me - with torrential sheets of soaking rain, and I was nearly blown off my bicycle.

“But I got back safely to Stornoway that night... with 519 miles complete... and I had a long, long and very hot soak in the bath.”

Any late donations are still very gratefully accepted here, thank you!