Highlands & Islands

Four complete 500-mile challenge in Nessie pedalo

A team of four have completed a challenge to clock up 500 miles (800km) in a Loch Ness Monster-shaped pedalo.

Londoners Natasha and Nico Kirby along with Sholto Morgan, from Aberdeenshire, and Ed Foster, from Fife, set out to circumnavigate the northern coast of Scotland.

However, they were forced to change their plans because of bad weather caused by remnants of Hurricane Bertha.

They have raised £75,000 so far from the venture for Cancer Research UK and Parkinson's UK.

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The team commissioned ship science engineering students at the University of Southampton to build their unusual vessel.

It took a team of six masters students seven months to build the pedalo as part of a group project.

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Originally, the team of four had planned to use lochs, canals and firths to pedal around Scotland's northern coast. They had proposed starting and finishing in Inverness

But they soon encountered delays caused by a broken drive shaft and then bad weather.

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The four did manage to clock up 250 miles, first by going up the west coast as far as Gairloch before switching to the east coast where they got to Brora and Helmsdale.

But they were by now falling far behind their schedule, and they had to complete their challenge before they were due back at work.

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By the time they had reached the half way stage they only had six days left to tackle the other 250 miles.

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They decided to clock up those remaining miles by pedalling up and down Loch Ness, rather than battling huge swells at sea.

Eventually, after 22 days, they completed 501 miles. The extra mile was done in honour of nurses and patients.

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During the challenge, the team did a total of 4.6 million rotations of the pedals, ate 256 flapjacks or energy bars and burnt a total of 302,000 calories.

In an earlier separate attempt, Mr Kirby and Mr Morgan seta new time for the fastest 100m sprint in a two-person pedalo.

Their time of one minute 36.94 seconds, recorded at the Caley Marina in Inverness using the Nessie pedalo, beat the previous time set two years ago.

That record of one minute 58.62 seconds was achieved by cricketers Andrew Flintoff and Steve Harmison.

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