Junior doctors Kirsty and Callum Leese had planned to trek through Nepal and tackle the highest peaks in Europe for their honeymoon but their plans changed due to COVID-19. They decided to spend their honeymoon in the UK and raise money for our charity by running the West Highland Way, cycling the North Coast 500 and kayaking the Great Glen Way, linking together some of the best-known routes in Scotland.
The couple’s route covered 154km through Lock Lomond, Black Mount, Ronnoch Moor and the Devil’s Staircase. Due to a hip injury, Kirsty joined Callum on a mountain bike, riding over rocky terrain in the every-changing conditions.
Callum said: “With the running done I was happy to get on the bike; although I wasn’t ready for the pace that Kirsty was to set!”
At the start of their cycling route they faced 30mph head winds and 3,000m ascents. They rode through Durness, along the north and east coast before finishing with some well-deserved fish and chips by the seaside.
After completing their cycle, they jumped straight into their kayaking along the mouth of Loch Ness, encountering battering winds and rocky waves. They made their way through Loch Lochy and on to the finish at Fort William.
Callum added: “It was nine and a half days of gruesome but captivating endurance. The bruises took a while to settle, but the psychological motivation of raising money for a wonderful cause kept us going.”