Edinburgh man finishes US coast to coast cycle in under 50 days to raise thousands for National Trust for Scotland

A Scottish expat living in Colorado has just completed a cycle across the United States of more than 3000 miles and raised a massive £39,000 so far for conservation charity, the National Trust for Scotland.
George with his wife Mary who cycled from San Diego in California to St Augustine in Florida to raise fundsGeorge with his wife Mary who cycled from San Diego in California to St Augustine in Florida to raise funds
George with his wife Mary who cycled from San Diego in California to St Augustine in Florida to raise funds

George Russell, 74, who is originally from Morningside in Edinburgh completed his coast to coast journey one day ahead of his target time.

He arrived in St Augustine in Florida yesterday (October 14), just 49 days after setting off from San Diego in California.

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From the Pacific coast to the Atlantic, George overcame challenging terrains and steep inclines as well as strong winds and even hurricane warnings - but took everything in his stride and had continued support from his wife Mary who drove a support vehicle with him.

With strong ties to Scotland and to the Trust, it was a very personal journey for the cyclist whose grandfather was the charity’s first Secretary and Treasurer and was key in negotiating the purchase of Glencoe for the charity to protect.

His father also worked for the NTS for many years and was a Council Member Emeritus. George himself served on the its Council.

George’s support for the charity was in response to an emergency appeal that was launched by the NTS to protect Scotland’s national and natural treasures after lockdown measures due to the coronavirus crisis put the charity into an extremely challenging financial period.

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He said: “I can’t quite believe I’ve finished – and that I only had to repair two flat tyres on the way. There were so many moments where we had to rethink our route after seeing poor weather forecasts, but more often than not the sun shone for us and it has been an amazing experience.

“Crossing eight US states on two wheels has been a totally eye-opening and a liberating journey and I never lost sight of the reason for it all. I was constantly reminded of Scotland and Trust-owned places like Glen Coe and Ben Lawers when I was on the mountain paths and I’m proud that I’ve achieved this - not only for myself, but for my father and grandfather and everyone in Scotland that cherishes it’s heritage.

“The messages of support that I received along the way were what really kept me going and I’d like to thanks everyone that reached out and made a donation.”

Sir Mark Jones, Chairman of the NTS, said: “We are in awe of George’s incredible achievement and his dedication to our charity. Our profound thanks and admiration go out to him as he completes this epic journey. We know that he’s received so many messages of support and we’ve been cheering him on since the day he set off, from the other side of the Atlantic.”

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George’s fundraising pages are still live and donations can be made at the Just Giving page.

For those residing in the USA wishing to support George and the Trust, you can visit the Fundly website to make a tax deductible gift.

Weekly updates from George’s journey can be seen on the National Trust for Scotland website.

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