29 towns and cities
On the 26th of March, I’m leaving my hometown of Livingston by bike to cycle all over Scotland for my first big challenge as The Tartan Explorer.
When I was first planning my global challenge, there was something that I had never thought about before and it was a massive realisation.
I’m incredibly proud of being Scottish, and I love everything about this beautiful wee country of ours.
But I realised that I’m actually quite a hypocrite, for someone who’s so passionate about Scotland I’ve hardly even seen any of it.
I spend most of my time in the central belt and I can never remember being further north than Dundee.
Pretty embarrassing for the laddie who now goes by the name of The Tartan Explorer…
So desperate to see more of my country and take my message all across Scotland, I decided that before setting off around the world as the Tartan Explorer, I was going to embark on a massive tour of Scotland before I left.
My main objective for this was to take my message to as many Scottish people as possible and get as much support for The Tartan Explorer movement before I headed off.
Then I found out that I was being criminally charged for dangerous driving and that I would be banned from driving.
To most people it would seem that my dream would be over at this point.
I mean how the hell would I travel the length and breadth of Scotland without a car, especially if I’m doing this as a solo trip.
Then that week I went to see Sir Chris Hoy speak in Edinburgh and felt that incredibly inspired by his story and what we had achieved.
Not one to ever let anything get in the way of my dreams, I decided to use that inspiration to cycle around Scotland. That way I could still complete my tour.
By cycling around Scotland I felt I was setting a bit of a precedent for myself and that I would have to cycle around the world too and that’s how The Tartan Explorer became a global cycling challenge.
So this all begins on Friday 25th March. I have a kick off event at Livingston Football Stadium and then I’ll be cycling to my first destination.
Over the 33 days between 25th March and 26th April I’ll be visiting 29 towns and cities across Scotland and speaking at 10 events.
For the Scottish challenge I’ve partnered with anti stigma charity See Me Scotland. Together with their team and their community champions across the country we’ve organised 10 mental health events where I will be sharing my story and talking about mental health and suicide prevention.
I’m incredibly grateful of the support I’ve received so far from SeeMe Scotland and especially their community champions who have done an incredible job organising our events in Livingston, Hawick, Dumfries, Glasgow, Foyers, Inverness, Tongue, Dundee and Edinburgh.
The challenge is to arrive back at Edinburgh Castle on 26th April at 11am. This will then mark the one-month countdown to the 26th of May where I will begin the world cycling challenge.
26th of May 2015 was the day I tried to end my life.
So it’s no coincidence that I’m leaving on the 26th May 2016.
My biggest objective with the Tartan Explorer is to inspire people suffering with mental health problems, so I want to show them how much life can improve in just a year with a bit of hard work and dedication.
Whilst visiting all of Scotland’s towns and cities the aim when not on the bike is to meet as many people as possible and have as many conversations about mental health as possible.
I’ll be visiting mental health charities, crisis centres, attending events and hopefully meeting as many people as possible and raising as much awareness possible about mental health and my global challenge.
The support I’ve had so far from the Scottish people has been out of this world. So I want to also use this opportunity to meet as many as these people as possible and personally thank them for making my dream possible.
For me this challenge is incredibly important. I’m viewing this as my big test. My chance to show the Scottish people how serious I am about cycling all around the world and that I’ve got what it takes to complete this challenge
Friday 25th of March is the day 1 of the next chapter of my life.
Thank you for following and supporting my journey so far. I can’t wait to share the next part with you.