The Whisky Ventures Ride in Aid of Scottish Charities The Whisky Ventures Ride: In Aid of Scottish Charities

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The Whisky Ventures Ride

Originally from the Yorkshire Dales, Robert Richardson has now settled just outside of Edinburgh in Scotland and works as an outdoor instructor, educator and guide. His passion for the great outdoors, desire to support charities close to his heart, and an enthusiasm for the whisky industry culminated in his recent project - The Whisky Ventures Ride.

Starting on the 12th May 2022 at the most southerly distillery in Scotland, Bladnoch, Robert undertook the challenge of cycling approximately 2300 miles over 7 weeks, visiting every operating single malt whisky distillery in Scotland, finishing at the most northerly distillery in the country, Saxa Vord, on the northern side of Unst in Shetland.

 

Working as an outdoor instructor and guide, I am regularly travelling and taking clients on adventures, but every few years I challenge myself to a larger event. I have done expeditions to various countries around the world and taken on races at home up to Half-Ironman distance triathlons. With lockdown slowing everything down I got very itchy feet stuck at home, so I started to look for a challenge I could complete closer to home once things started to open-up again.

 

Between my love of cycling, and a dram, I came up with the idea of the Whisky Ventures Ride.

 

Robert Richardson

 

Cyling the length of the country, and visiting each of the 140+ distilleries along the way, resulted in some interesting routes and many challenges along the way. Throughout the entire ride, GPS tracking technology was utilised allowing supporters to follow Robert's journey and to ride alongside him if they wished. Various social media channels were also updated regularly with information and pictures of the journey. You can view daily updates from the challenge on The Whisky Ventures Instagram.

 

I am a regular cyclist, so already had a fairly good baseline fitness, but I did have to up the training a little, especially with the day-to-day nature of the Whisky Ventures Ride.

 

More than anything, it was the weather that was the biggest challenge, particularly the wind. The first half of summer was fairly cool and dry, but very windy, and it always seemed to be in my face. Over the 49 days of riding, I only had a tailwind for around 6 days. The hardest section was my journey from Speyside across to Skye, nearly 200 miles into 30-40mph headwinds. Skye was also very bad for close passes from drivers, making the ride quite perilous at that point.

 

Robert Richardson

The Whisky Ventures Ride Distillery Map. [Source: Whisky Ventures]

 

If you are interested in viewing the full route taken over the 7 week challenge, this can now be found on Komoot.

 

The Generous Spirit of an Industry

Alongside the physical challenge of the cycle, the ultimate goal was to raise as much money as possible for charity, via a fundraising page and generous bottle donations from distilleries along the way. The experience highlighted the generous spirit of the Scotch whisky industry and the many people that Richard met along the way. 

 

The whole industry has been amazingly generous, be it with bottles for the auction or in person when I visited their distilleries.

 

Lindores Abbey, Ardbeg, Arbikie, Glenfiddich, Harris, and Wolfburn distilleries really stand out in my memory as ones who went above and beyond, sorting me out with accommodation and some truly amazing tasting experiences. Many distilleries also granted me incredible access to their sites, often closed to the public, and provided great behind the scenes tours; you see a really different side to the distilleries when you can stay beyond the normal public tours.

 

 

Robert Richardson

 

 

The Whisky Ventures Charity Auction

During the 2000+ mile journey through Scotland, Robert gathered over 80 bottles of whisky which were kindly donated by distilleries in support of the fundraising campaign. Robert received the bottles with a view to auctioning them once the challenge was complete in order to raise money for two Scottish charities close to his heart.

 

Working as an instructor with several local authorities, I have worked with young people from all manner of backgrounds and seen some of the amazing work Cash for Kids has done. Given the cost-of-living crisis,  I think charities and projects like Cash for Kids will become more important than ever and in need of our support.

 

With regards to Scotland's Charity Air Ambulance (SCAA), I have previously been involved in an air ambulance rescue in Yorkshire and massively respect the work all the charity air ambulances do. Now working across Scotland on all manner of adventures, I always have a slight feeling I may need them one day, so want to support their work.

 

 

Robert Richardson

 

Highlights from the generous donations include distillery exclusives, signed bottlings of your favourite core releases, now sold out single cask editions, and a 1 of 1 2009 vintage Glenfarclas, bottled exclusively for The Whisky Ventures Ride charity auction.

Charity Auction Highlight, 1 of 1 2009 Vintage Glenfarclas. [Source: Whisky Auctioneer]

 

Whisky Auctioneer is delighted to have partnered with Robert and The Whisky Ventures Ride to exclusively auction the 80+ bottles that have been donated. The bottles will be featured in our September Auction, running from 30 September - 10 October 2022. All of the proceeds from this, including Whisky Auctioneer’s buyer’s commission, will go to support Scotland's Charity Air Ambulance and the Scottish regions of Cash for Kids

If you would like to make a donation directly to The Whisky Ventures, please do so here.