The Butt to Barra charity cyclists are battling the odds today (Thursday July 11th) on the second and longest day of their top-to-bottom challenge.

Thirty cyclists left the Butt of Lewis lighthouse yesterday morning, with cloudy conditions failing to dampen spirits for day one. Led off by Hector Mackay, the posse stopped for a break at Barvas filling station and Alistair Glover of Bespoke Bicycles helped make some minor adjustments before setting off again for Stornoway at lunchtime.

Cyclist number 31 was held back by delayed flights, but determined to do the distance, James headed straight for Ness and set off by himself. Meanwhile the main group had been welcomed and fed by members of Kinloch Historical Society at Balallan and were ready to tackle a very wet and misty Clisham.

Alistair Glover told “Unfortunately this is where the weather turned to drizzle and the wind picked up a little – typically into the face. But despite this unwelcome turn in the weather, everyone soldiered on and made it safely to the Tarbert Community Centre for dinner, showers and much-needed sleep. James turned up not long after the group, having made terrific progress, soggy and tired but still with a smile on his face.

“Hector had a mechanical issue with his bike that very nearly spelled the end of his trip, but luckily Bespoke was on hand and managed to get him rolling again good as new.”

The group passed through west Harris this morning (Thursday) and will lunch in Leverburgh, hoping to catch a Sound of Harris ferry that’s today delayed by poor visibility. They’ll get further refreshments in Lochmaddy before the final leg of today’s stage down to Balivanich.

As they pedal, the group fundraising page at JustGiving is now approaching three times the target sum of £5,000, standing at over £14,500 at 12 noon. Some cyclists have their own pages and others are using paper forms to collect donations, which will be added to money collected on the route and turned into the total for Crossroads Lewis, the Hebridean Men’s Cancer Group and Bethesda Hospice.

Picture shows 30 riders ready to roll at the event start yesterday morning.