To celebrate his 60th birthday this May, Wilf Hyslop is taking on the ultimate physical challenge - the Highland Trail 550 - to raise money for the brain injury charity Headway.
The trail is 560 miles of hardcore mountain biking with over 16,000m of climbing with no support, no accommodation and carrying all the food and water you will need over the journey, which takes an average of eight days! Last year the challenge was taken by 36 cyclists and only 13 completed it, so the Highland Trail 550 is obviously not for the feint-hearted.
“Over the past few years I have got into the adventure racing circuit (running, cycling and kayaking),” said Wilf, who is groundsman at the Hirsel estate, Coldstream. “I did the Scottish coast to coast 105 mile adventure race down the Great Glen and while I was going through the internet looking for races I came across the Highland Trail 550.
“The trail was set up as a training run for the Colorado endurance race but they realised it was quite hard and about three or four years ago the Highland Trail 550 was born.”
There’s no entry fee, prize money, or fanfare when you reach the end - just the personal satisfaction of having completed this self-timed Individual Time Trial (ITT) challenge according to the trail’s eight rules.
The ideal time for cycling the Highland Trail 550 is May and June and Wilf is setting off on May 9, two days after his 60th birthday.
Training is on schedule, says Wilf, who completed a 50 mile mountain bike route last Sunday which included a 680m climb, and not only is he looking forward to the challenge, he’s looking at what he can do next!
Wilf chose to raise money for Headway after his son Alan underwent brain surgery two years ago after a bleed to the brain caused epilepsy.
Headway works to improve life after brain injury by providing support, services and information to brain injury survivors, their families and carers, and Wilf said: “While we were waiting for Alan to undergo five or six hours of surgery at the RVI in Newcastle I read the literature about Headway.
“We didn’t need them, Alan has made a full recovery and is clear of epilepsy, but we might have done.”
To support Wilf go to Facebook page 550@60 and follow the link to: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/WilfHyslop