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Q&A with Mechanical Engineering Assessor, Dave Evans

NSCG's Mechanical Engineering Assessor Dave Evans recently completed the incredible Lands' End to John O'Groats route by bike. He completed the route totally unsupported, all to raise as much money as possible for charity. We caught up with him after his journey to find out more about the experience. 

What inspired you to take on the Lands’ End to John O’Groats route?

It has been on my bucket list for a long time and on reaching 60 I thought it was about time I hit the hills!

Can you tell us a little more about the charities you have been raising money for?

St Luke’s Cheshire Hospice is the main Hospice for mid & south Cheshire, and it is where my mum was taken care of at the end of her life.

Lower Moss Wood is an animal wildlife hospital & education centre. They take in sick and injured wildlife and nurture it back to health, they then release them back into the wild. They also invite school groups for trips to educate them about the great outdoors and the UK’s wonderful wildlife.

How much have you now raised for the charities?

Including Gift Aid, we are now looking at approximately £1550 for each charity.

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What was the hardest part about the journey?

The mental challenge in regards to getting up at 6am each day and having breakfast whilst packing up camp, all whilst knowing that you had another long day ahead- whatever the weather. It was sometimes up to 9 hours of cycling before reaching that day’s destination, and some days were particularly brutal in terms of the amount of climbing I had to do with a 32KG bike in tow.

What was your favourite part?

Reaching the Scottish Border was a massive milestone for me as it was a big mental breakthrough to actually have cleared England and Wales. Of course the pinnacle was reaching the signpost at John O’Groats, all of the emotion of the journey was released at that moment and I had the realisation that I actually did it. There was a part of Scotland on the last day where I went over remote moorland and didn’t see a single soul for miles, no houses or anything, just the sound of the wind and the birds, which was lovely.

What 3 bits of advice would you give to someone taking on the Lands’ End to John O’Groats journey?

If you are strong enough it can be done, the physical side of it is only about 40%, the rest is in the head. Also you need to pack as light as you can. The most useful thing I took was a pack of clothes pegs to hang clothes on the tent to dry!

What were you listening to, to keep you going?

Some days I listened to nothing all day and just took in the scenery, others I alternated between Virgin Radio (where I got a shout out on day 4) and also the different downloads I had on Spotify depending on the mood of the hour, the last day was mainly Pink Floyd!

What home comfort did you miss the most whilst you were away?

My little Cat Senna sitting on my knee in the evenings!

What is your favourite thing about working at NSCG?

The people are very friendly and very supportive.