Cycle 600 miles during a heat wave? It's no big deal for Bill

PUBLISHED: 12:00 27 July 2019 | UPDATED: 15:19 27 July 2019

Bill Mackie during his 6,600-mile ride from Santander to Gibraltar. Picture: Bill Mackie

Bill Mackie during his 6,600-mile ride from Santander to Gibraltar. Picture: Bill Mackie

Archant

An Exmouth pensioner has completed his latest long-distance cycle challenge, this time in aid of the town's sea scouts.

Bill Mackie, 77, of Ellwood Road, wanted to put newly-installed stents in his heart to the test and chose a 660-mile ride from Santander in northern Spain to Gibraltar.

He finished the mammoth trek in 20 days and so far has raised £265 towards the Exmouth Sea Scouts fundraising campaign.

Former Royal Marine Bill said the ride was 'no big deal' compared to his time in the armed forces.

He said: "I've lived in the desert in near 50 degrees, I've spent months in the jungle in near 100 percent humidity, I've fallen off mountains, been concussed eight times, so really an 1,000-odd kilometre cycle is no big deal."

Bill was originally expecting to cycle all the way back to Santander as well but a heat wave in Spain meant it look him longer than expected to reach Gibraltar.

In the early stages of his ride, between Santander and Palencia, he required the help of a decorator in a van when Bill was experiencing problems getting up a steep hill.

After that, he continued his journey through Salamanca, Bejar, Plasencia, Tarrejon el Rubio, Merida, Huelva and Seville before eventually reaching Gibraltar.

This is not first time Bill has attempted to put complicated heart operations to the test.

In 2017 - a year after being diagnosed with heart problems - he took on a 400-mile ride from Roscoff to Paris in aid of the Rotary Club of Exmouth.

Previous to that, he had cycled to the Pyrenees Mountains.

The Exmouth Sea Scouts are in the middle of a £110,000 fundraising campaign to help bring modern services like electricity, water and telecoms to their hut at the Imperial Recreation Ground.

Longer term, the sea scouts want to raise £600,000 for a new facility.

As of July 1, they have raised more than £47,000.

Bill has known group leader Dave Radford most of his life and has helped the scouts out with canoeing in the past.

Anyone wanting to donate to the Exmouth Sea Scouts can click here

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