St Neots to Scotland in a 1,000-mile charity challenge

EMBARKING on a 1,000-mile journey to Scotland and back would be arduous enough on any other weekend.

But on a bank holiday weekend and using a collection of cars that have seen better days can mean only one thing – a charity run.

That’s what happened on Friday (August 26), when eight friends from St Neots buckled-up for a 984-mile adventure to Scotland’s capital and back in aid of Cancer Research.

Ryan’s Rat Rally involved four pairs of drivers navigating four cars, costing only �100 each, along a specially- chosen route, and stopping at checkpoints to gather photographic evidence.

The eight friends, aged between 24 and 28, were inspired to make the trip after losing various friends and family to cancer.

Kevin Boulton, 52, from Southoe, whose son Eric was in one of the teams, told The Hunts Post: “I designed the route for the boys and wanted to make it as challenging as possible.

“There was no sat-nav, only a road map, and at each checkpoint they had to find a street name or a pub or a landmark and take a photograph.”

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The four teams set off from the Market Square at 8am on Friday morning and headed for the Cock Hotel in Telford. The rest of the journey took them through Liverpool, St Helens, up to Lake Windermere, across the Pennines and on to the finishing post in Edinburgh.

They made the return journey down the east of England, passing through towns including Ashington in Northumberland, Scarborough and Skegness.

Apart from a few scares – including the prospect of running out of fuel in the middle of nowhere – the Ford Escort Mk III, Mazda 323, Nissan Micra and Mk III Vauxhall Astra all battled it to Edinburgh and back without a hitch.

Scot Aprigliano, who joined his two brothers Ryan and Jamie on the rally, said: “I’m shattered but it was great – definitely too much fun not to do again.”

Each team swapped drivers at various stages of the challenge, but survived on only three hours sleep during the 34 hours it took to complete the journey.

After receiving a hero’s welcome at St Neots Sunfest on Saturday afternoon when they arrived back, the friends said said it was definitely an adventure they would repeat.

“I’ve already started looking at a route for next year,” said Mr Boulton, “and we hope to get even more people involved.”

The eight drivers have raised �3,220 for Cancer Research, with donations still being collected.

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