Brothers burn up charity ride on funky mopeds

Murray and Alan Picken at John o’ Groats.

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By Colin Smeeton

Brothers Murray and Alan Picken of Kilmory have completed their epic fundraiser, riding 1,118 miles around Scotland and raising £6,000 for Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance (SCAA).

The two adventurers, riding on 50cc mopeds, rode the NC 500 – a 516-mile scenic route around the north coast of Scotland – and an additional 500 miles getting there and back, while also taking in some of the west coast sights along the way.


Setting off from Lochranza, the brothers rode their mopeds, which travel at speeds under 40 mph, to Oban and then on to Barra and Harris.

The route then continued to Skye, Ullapool, Dunnet Head and John o’ Groats before the pair made their way to Inverness and back to Oban.

Riding on vehicles entirely unsuitable for the long distance challenge, there were naturally a few breakdowns along the way.

Starting on the very first day of the trip, Murray’s moped broke down before making it off the island at Lochranza – this was the first of three breakdowns which were hastily repaired along the way.


Alan’s moped also struggled to accomplish the task set out for it but after a breakdown and some minor repairs in Inverness it was ready to continue.

Alan’s moped fared reasonably better than Murray’s though, as while returning home via Oban, Murray lost his back wheel and had to be rescued by the Police and AA.

Speaking about the charity which is dear to his heart, Murray told the Banner: ‘It’s a terrific service to the whole of Scotland and we met quite a few people on the road that have used the SCAA.

‘They were very impressed with the amount that we had raised for them so to have already raised more than six times our original target shows just how much it means to everyone’.

Now safely back and enjoying the comforts of home, Alan added: ‘We are truly amazed to raise more than £6,000 for such a worthwhile cause and couldn’t have done it without all the support we received from Arran folk and people we met on the journey.’

The SCAA is a national charity which assists the Scottish Ambulance Service with emergency medical services through the provision of helicopter-based air ambulances.

It receives no statutory government funding and relies solely on donations from the public to fuel its life-saving flights.