A cyclist really put his heart into a charity cycle from Land’s End to John o’ Groats - to the great concern of his coronary care specialist.
Earlier this month Grangemouth man Bill Buckie (51) took nine days to cover the 980 miles between the two landmarks - battling poor conditions and his own genetic heart problem - to raise over £2600 for the charity Action Medical Research, which strives to find cures for diseases affecting children.
He said: “I told the doctor I was cycling again and they said that’s good, just don’t do anything silly.”
Bill, a doctor of biology, did not think it was “silly” to cycle 120 miles per day in harsh conditions - despite the fact he had suffered a mild heart attack only a year before.
“I always wanted to cycle from Land’s End to John o’ Groats - if I didn’t think I could do it, then I wouldn’t even have attempted it. I have always kept myself fit. My partner Mary was very quiet about it, but she never told me not to do it.”
Bill almost threw in the towel on the fifth day as he pedalled through Cumbria - vomiting extensively after experiencing a bad reaction to the energy drinks he was consuming.
Then he gashed his ankle on the sharp gears of his trusty titanium bicycle and the wound became infected.
“A doctor was riding along with us and he gave me antibiotics, the leg swelled up quite badly and he was close to telling me to pack it in.”
However, Bill kept going into Scotland and powered home to the finish line.
“It felt fantastic to finish,” he said.
Bill, who runs Edinburgh-based firm Fios Genomics, suffered a major heart attack when he was 35 that left him clinging to life.
“It was a massive attack - they said to my wife at that time it was touch and go, but I would have a good chance if I made it through the night. I never had a by-pass, but I have now got six stents fitted to keep my arteries open.”
For the last 17 years Bill has been living as healthy a lifestyle as possible to combat the condition.
Granddaughter Elliot, about to celebrate her second birthday, is keeping him on his toes. One of her first phrases was “Papa’s bike”
Bill is now making plans to go on a 100-mile off-road cycle in Kingussie with pal Iain Mitchell of Grangemouth-based John Mitchell Haulage.
Visit www.action.org.uk/sponsor/billbuckie to donate to his Action Medical Research efforts.