Man, 74, raises more than £40,000 for charity after cycling across the US

George Russell, who is originally from Edinburgh, pedalled his way from California to Florida in aid of the National Trust for Scotland.

George Russell with his wife Mary
George Russell with his wife Mary

An Edinburgh expat has finished his cycle across the US, raising more than £40,000 for charity.

George Russell, 74, who is originally from Morningside, finished his 3,000-mile coast-to-coast journey in under 50 days.

The Colorado resident has raised the cash for the National Trust for Scotland (NTS).

George Russell
George Russell at the completion of his US coast-to-coast journey (NTS/PA)

Completing the journey one day ahead of his target time, Mr Russell arrived in St Augustine, Florida, on Wednesday, after setting off from San Diego, California, on August 27.

He faced a number of challenging terrains and steep inclines on his journey – as well as a few hurricane warnings.

But he tackled it head-on with help from his wife Mary, who drove a support vehicle along side him.

Mr Russell chose to raise money for NTS due his personal connection with the charity – his grandfather was the first secretary and treasurer and was key in negotiating the purchase of Glencoe for the nation.

His father also worked for the trust for many years and was a council member emeritus.

Mr Russell also served on the trust’s council.

His journey was planned in response to the emergency appeal from NTS after a drop in income due to Covid-19 and the subsequent lockdown.

Mr Russell 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 totally eye-opening and a liberating journey, and I never lost sight of the reason for it all.”

He added: “I was constantly reminded of Scotland and trust-owned places like Glencoe 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 National Trust for Scotland, 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.”

The fundraising page is still live and donations can be made at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/george-russellcycleacrossusafornts.

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