Lonach welcome for UK cyclists

The pop-up campsite for the cyclists at Bellabeg Park
The pop-up campsite for the cyclists at Bellabeg Park

Hundreds of cyclists making their way from Land’s End to John o’Groats arrived in Strathdon last Friday and received a rousing welcome thanks to the organisers the Lonach Highland Gathering and Games.

The Lonach Highland and Friendly Society, which arranges the annual Gathering, lined up a traditional Highland reception for the cyclists, who had completed an arduous seventh day of their 980-mile, nine-day ride.

Cyclists watch members of the Lonach Pipe Band

Cyclists watch members of the Lonach Pipe Band

The 900-strong group, including support crew, were taking part in the Deloitte Ride Across Britain and stayed overnight in a pop-up campsite at Bellabeg Park, venue for last month’s games.

Ensuring the cyclists’ visit to Strathdon was a memorable one, the society arranged for the Lonach Pipe Band and members of the Lonach Highlanders to greet the visitors.

Adding to the community welcome that was specially laid on, dancers from the Lonach Society School of Dancing entertained the cyclists with a display of Highland dancing, while members of the Lonach Hall committee ran a pop-up bar.

A sea of tents and a number of large marquees were put up overnight in the park.

Jennifer Stewart, the society’s secretary and chief executive, said: “In recognition of the effort the cyclists made to get to Strathdon, the Lonach Highland and Friendly Society wanted to make it a memorable visit for them.”

The cycling event supports several charities, including principal charity partner The Prince’s Trust.