MORE than £5,000 has been raised for charity after a bold bagpiper completed a cycle challenge across Loch Long.

Roddy Garden, from Cove, took his specially adapted bike on the water on Saturday, September 28 to raise funds for Children’s Hospices Across Scotland (CHAS) and Robin House in Balloch.

The 51-year-old, who works in the film and TV industry and is a member of the Helensburgh Clan Colquhoun Pipe Band, played his bagpipes while pedalling across the loch and managed to reach the shoreline at Cove Sailing Club after an hour and 40 minutes.

Roddy said the conditions proved to be slightly more testing than he had anticipated, but a little bit of Dutch courage saw him through.

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He told the Advertiser: “It wasn’t quite as plain sailing as I thought it would be.

“I was a bit on edge at the start of the day when I was getting things together, but I rallied the troops, and one of my mates had a bottle of whisky, so he told me to take a wee nip of that and it did the trick. It calmed me down.

“About halfway across the tide had turned and was trying to take me down the Clyde; things got a bit tough.

“I had to take a few breaks and chill out from the piping. I’d forgotten my flask of tea, but still had the whisky, which didn’t quench my thirst, but it did help.”

Roddy was greeted by a crowd of spectators as he drifted in towards the rocks at the end of his journey, while fellow Clan Colquhoun band members piped him onto solid land.

And as he recovered from his latest escapade, he said it was well worth the effort.

“I was fighting the current”, he said, “and the whisky.”

“The weather was good, we couldn’t really have been luckier, and the wind was pushing me on.

“I’ve raised over £5,000 so far and still got a lot to gather in yet. I’m hoping to get around £6,000.

“A couple of CHAS representatives were there and they were over the moon, they were really nice and supportive.

“I’m always up for a challenge and I enjoyed it.

“Failure is not an option in my book and there were too many people to let down, so it was never in doubt.”

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Kay Walker, volunteer at Robin House, said: “Obviously an event not to be missed, myself and some family members spent a fantastic few hours with Roddy’s lovely family, bagpipe playing friends and an army of supporters, all cheering him over to the finish point.

"It was a phenomenal effort as the tide was certainly not helping him. What an absolutely amazing character he is, his only concern was finishing the challenge and collecting as much money as possible for Robin House.”

Roddy thanked his son Dylan who was skipper of the safety boat, Frazer Smith for taking photos and videos on the day, Dougie McKnight who was the deck hand on the boat, John and Harvey for piping him ashore, Cove Sailing Club for opening up and letting those involved stay warm with teas and coffees, the MoD police, Café at Kilcreggan and everybody who turned up to support.

You can donate to Roddy’s fund-raising appeal by going to and searching for Roddy Garden.