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Easter Ross cycle tribute couple 'burst' after NC500 battering from Storm Agnes – but they've already done daughter Rivy proud

By Erin Miller

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The group in high spirits ahead of day 5.
The group in high spirits ahead of day 5.

AN Easter Ross couple attempting an NC500 tribute cycle inspired by their daughter have been left feeling "burst" after being forced to change their plans following a battering by Storm Agnes.

Remarkably, though, they have raised over £7500 – three-quarters of their total.

Kildary couple Sheena Sinclair and Dave Hennessy were joined by three friends – Caroline Reid, Shaun Bremner and Greg Wilmot.

They set out on an NC500 attempt in memory of their daughter ‘Rivy’ Sinclair at the start of the week.

The group are raising money for Children’s Hospices Across Scotland (CHAS), a charity that provided Rivy's family a lifeline after the devastating loss of their young daughter.

The team set out on Monday morning from the Highland capital making strong progress in their first few days.The team and their supporters have been providing regular updates of their progress on both their facebook page and youtube channel.

The couple knew that the NC500 cycle would be a huge challenge as they are not experienced cyclists.

They wanted to do something to 'push them outside their comfort zone' – and the extremities of the weather have done just that.

On Wednesday, the Met Office issued a yellow weather warning saying that Storm Agnes - the first named storm of the season - would bring strong wind and rain across Scotland.

The adverse conditions have limited the overall progress of the group as they were forced to make difficult decisions to ultimately prioritise their safety on the challenge.

'Rivy' Sinclair.
'Rivy' Sinclair.

The team sought refuge in the Ullapool Fire Station on the night of the storm and were extremely grateful to the local fire brigade for letting them stay there and keep their bikes indoors overnight.

Over the last few days the team has been ‘battered’ by extreme weather conditions as the storm.

A deflated Caroline Reid posted to the group's Facebook page on Thursday evening: “I’m not even posting a selfie or a group photo.

“We are burst. We are evaluating the storm.

“We have very little to eat as everywhere shut before we got here.

“Poor support crew are camping in the hoolie...

"Not enough charging stuff, not enough heat.

“Not my usual post, but morale is let’s say...woeful.”

Last night, she gave an update on the team’s progress as they had just made it over the Kylesku Bridge.

Sheena and Dave with friends Caroline Reid, Shaun Bremner and Greg Wilmot.
Sheena and Dave with friends Caroline Reid, Shaun Bremner and Greg Wilmot.

“So we have discussed the logistics and with Storm Agnes still loitering about we have made a decision to play safe and change the direction we are going in.We also know that we are going to be behind about a day's worth of miles due to the storm.

“Yes it’s a diversion off the ‘route’. Are we too bothered, sort of, but, we want to finish as the team that started and with the support we have joining us on the weekend, and we want to finish on Sunday."

Caroline said that the team would return to the route at a later date and stressed the importance of the safety of team members when making the decision.

She said: “We will come back and finish the official one, and as a team when it’s safer to do so.”

For now, the current plan for today will be to make it from Scourie to Laxford Bridge and finish up for the day in Lairg.

Proud mum Debbie Sinclair reported that the team have set off today looking "a lot fresher after a night's sleep and food".

Caroline shared an update a short time ago to say: "It's a beautiful day, a tad windy. It has actually been really nice today, we are enjoying our little cycle."

Tomorrow they will set off from Lairg, Rogart, the Mound, Embo, Dornoch, Bonar Bridge, Ardgay, Tain and Kildary.

The group have made it an incredible £7690 past the three-quarter mark of their £10,000 target. Donations can be made on their gofundme page.

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