A TEAM of Helensburgh and Lomond cyclists who took the long way north to John O'Groats have raised almost £10,000 for charity.

Ian Chambers cycled from Lands End in memory of his son Ben, who died at six months old 25 years ago.

He had spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a rare genetic neuromuscular condition that causes progressive muscle weakness as muscles waste away.

The cyclists have far surpassed their original target and are still welcoming donations.

Ian, who was in the navy at HMNB Clyde, was joined by friends Paul Appelquist and Neil Stevenson on the route that added a 300-mile detour up the west coast to take in their home comunities of Cardross (Neil), Garelochhead (Paul), and Helensburgh (Ian).

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Speaking after they finished the journey, Ian said: "Our unconventional route took us from Helensburgh across to Oban and then up the west coast, including summiting the 650m Bealach Na Ba near Applecross, and then across the top of Scotland to JOG.

"In all, an epic 1,190 miles and 68,000 ft of climbing (the usual route is about 890 miles); our last day was over 122 miles and 8,500 feet. "Neil reflected on it as being a truly epic adventure, blessed with fabulous weather - no rain - and no punctures.

"Paul added that they were long days in the saddle, but they all enjoyed every minute of the ride with the highlights being the run into Cardross/Helensburgh/Garelochhead and the Bealach summit."

The three men thanked Helensburgh Cycles for their support, as well as support drivers Matt Applequist, Chris Randall and Chris Clift, without whom the adventure wouldn’t have worked.

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Ian added: "Thank you to all the people who followed our progress and kept sending messages of encouragement.

"And a massive thanks to everyone who has donated to SMA UK. The total at present is almost £10,000. We are blown away by people’s generosity and cannot thank people enough."

Donations can still be made at the JustGiving page.