Woman faces massive seven month cycle to help her mental health and support local charity that supports sexual assault victims

Pamela Irving and Becky Dingwall.
Pamela Irving and Becky Dingwall.

Becky Dingwall is celebrating her 30th birthday in a slightly untraditional way, by cycling around the UK and British Isles.

After reading about another cyclists epic journey from Oregon to Patagonia, she was inspired. However, covid halted any major plans to travel abroad so she decided to tackle the UK instead.

The local Inverness is hoping that the epic journey, which she estimates to take between six and seven months, will help to improve her mental health.

“I have really bad mental health right now. My confidence deteriorated a lot and I’ve never done anything solo before.

“Mental health is the main prize for me with this challenge. I just feel like I need it.”

However, she dreads the wind and bad weather, but says that is not her biggest challenge.

“The biggest challenge for me, and the main reason I am doing this, is to take that step of overcoming my anxiety and depression, by taking that step into the unknown, on my own, despite the fear I feel for it.

“I believe I need to do this for me to overcome a lot mentally. That is without a doubt my biggest challenge and the reason I push myself to do this.”

Ms Dingwall will undertake the cycle alone, beginning on April 16 after completing the West Highland Way and Great Glen Way two weeks beforehand.

She is using a GT Bicycles gravel bike, kindly donated by Monster Bike, to help her on the way.

Covering an eye watering distance of 15,000km, she will stop to incorporate hill walks on the days when she does not cycle.

Ms Dingwall continued: “There are places I really want to see like the Outer Hebrides. I’ve always wanted to go to the islands.

“I do a lot of hiking and long distance walks so I will be incorporating those sort of things in the tour as well.

“I’m planning the three peaks and walking the Isle of Arran as well.

“The route is one I have made myself with a mixture of coastline and inland, but the goal is to cover at least a minimum of 15,000km between Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.”

To prepare for the intensive challenge, Ms Dingwall is being trained by coach at Gym300 Pamela Irving.

Together they are doing a weekly training session, as Ms Dingwall also follows a personal plan including a mixture of cycling, weight training and cardio.

She added: “Pamela has been fantastic. She has done it all for free which is incredible of her. I’m just so grateful for all her help.

“I train almost every day. It’s a mixture of everything – football, running, cycling and weights.

“I’m not really built for weight training but there are a lot of muscle groups that will be used more on the bike to strengthen myself up.”

Mentally however, Ms Dingwall is aware that it will be a strain on certain days: “It’s one of these things that I don’t think you can train as much as physically.

“I’ve heard from people who’ve done similar things that the training happens on the bike on the tour.

“One day you can be on top of the world and the next you want to give up and go home.

“Every day is going to be different.”

She decided to raise money through the trip for RASASH, a sexual assault support center in Inverness.

“I want to help raise awareness for them because not enough people know about them.”

Manager at the charity, Romy Rehfeld, said: “We are incredibly grateful that Becky has chosen to fundraise on behalf of RASASH.

“Sexual violence is still a major problem in society and sadly the Highlands are no exception. Every donation will help make a difference in the lives of those who have experienced sexual abuse, with money going towards the cost of emotional and practical support.

“All of us at RASASH will be cheering Becky on as she undertakes her incredible cycling challenge.”

You can keep up to date with Becky’s efforts on her Instagram page, @beckydingwall_adventures.

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