Kevin's 10,000ft for Hugh

Kevin Masson August 18th, 2021 This event has closed


Next week, I will be embarking on a fairly brutal cycling challenge on the Applecross peninsula.  I intend to complete a 10,000ft cycle ascent in one day (that's about equivalent to 13 ascents of the Devils Elbow - for the locals familiar with that road).  I'm not doing it in Braemar though, I’ll do it on Britain’s most brutal road climb, the famous Bealach na Ba mountain pass.  The pass rises from near sea level (around 15ft) at the Applecross Inn, 9km east to the summit at 2,054ft (626m), before descending steeply, almost to sea level again on the east side at Tornapress.  The pass is the steepest ascent of any road climb in the UK and reaches 20% at the steepest gradient.  To achieve 10,000ft I will need to ascend the pass 5 times (three times from the west and twice from the east). 

I’m a recreational cyclist, I enjoy it, I carry a good level of fitness and I enjoy climbs, but this will definitely be the most challenging cycle I will have ever have attempted.  So why am I doing it you may ask?   

 I’m embarking on this challenge to raise money for charity – “The Grand Appeal” to be specific.  Earlier this year, the three-year-old son of one of my closest friends, was diagnosed with Leukaemia.  Hugh, Jamie’s son is a wee trooper and a young lad who’s really going through the mill with a very intensive and physically challenging bout of chemotherapy.  Not only is Hugh facing one of the biggest challenges of his young life, but his parents are too.  Jamie and Katy are currently enduring mental and physical fatigue, staying strong for Hugh and all the whilst caring for Angus, Hugh’s older brother, as though everything was normal. 

 The Grand Appeal is the Official Bristol Children’s Hospital Charity, who are committed to saving lives and supporting families at the Children’s hospital, which Hugh attends.  The charity funds essential equipment for the hospital, medical research, family accommodation, music/play/art therapy for patients and enhancements to the Hospital, so that it is a comforting and stimulating environment for the kids there.  Hugh and his family have benefitted massively from the amazing causes that this charity supports, from having family accommodation at the hospital to be with Hugh during his various treatments, to having dedicated play supervisors who help keep Hugh entertained during long and very tiring treatment sessions in the hospital.   This is all over and above the tremendous support from the NHS teams working round the clock to treat his condition and get him back to his cheery, happy self. 

 I would be very grateful if you could support me on this challenge and raising money for The Grand Appeal.  By sending funds directly back to a fantastic charity whom are supporting a loving young family, this is my opportunity to do something small for some very deserving people.  Any donation no matter how small is gratefully received.  I’m also happy to take donations retrospectively based on feet climbed or ascents of the hill as at this time I can’t be sure my legs will hold up!  In true Kev form, I’ve done no training or preparation for this other than my usual recreational cycling :-/

 The ride will be completed at some point next week based on the weather forecast and best time to avoid the busy daytime traffic.  I’ll post updates on my Instagram profile once I embark on the ride… 

 More about Hugh: 

Hugh Spiers was diagnosed with T-Cell Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia during May 2021.  This is a rare and aggressive form of Leukaemia that affects T-Lymphocytes (or T-Cells) which normally fight infection in the body.  The condition leads to a build-up of Leukaemia Cells in the bone marrow, which means there is not enough space to make up the usual numbers of healthy white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets that his body needs.   Treatment involves intense chemotherapy to get rid of as many Leukaemia cells as quickly as possible, so the bone marrow can work as normal again.  

Hugh was admitted to intensive care at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children, before moving to a dedicated ward (Starlight Ward) where he was looked after 24/7 before being discharged.    Hugh has since undergone two blocks of intensive chemotherapy as an outpatient and has responded well to initial treatment.  Hugh has at least 6 months of intense chemotherapy, followed by 18 months of ‘maintenance’ therapy until such time as he goes into complete remission.  All of this treatment and care is being provided by the expert teams of NHS Consultants, Doctors and Nurses who specialise in paediatric cancer treatment at the Bristol Children’s Hospital.  They have so far provided lifesaving treatment for Hugh, as well as essential support for Hugh’s parents Katy and Jamie, plus his big brother Angus.


Kevin Masson

August 17th, 2021
Completed the ride today! Thanks so much for the support. I completed 6 crossings (ascent+descents) of the Bealach na Ba, racking up over 12,000ft of ascent, 70miles/111km in 6.5hrs of ride time. Weather started great then ended up terrible, but it’s done. Well done fundraisers!!

Kevin Masson

August 16th, 2021
Today is the day 16.8.21. Plan to head off on the first climb just before lunch.