A RETIRED project manager is hitting the road for a marathon charity cycling challenge.
Bob Murdoch will set off from his Barnard Castle home on May 11 and plans to cycle to all four corners of the UK, covering some 2,500 miles.
He will first head south to Dover, then west to Land's End, north to Durness and east to John o'Groats.
The 58-year-old granddad has also scheduled in a visit back to Barnard Castle mid-way through the challenge to attend a friend's wedding at the beginning of June.
Mr Murdoch, a member of Teesdale Cycle Racing Club, is undertaking the marathon solo with no support team and plans to either camp when the weather is good or stay in hostels and B&Bs.
He is raising money for the children's heart unit at the Freeman Hospital, in Newcastle.
Mr Murdoch has never forgotten the efforts of medical staff at the hospital who treated his son, Adam, three decades ago when he was born with a congenital heart condition.
Adam, now 30, had to undergo three major heart operations – the first when he was just hours old – and still goes back to the Freeman Hospital for a yearly check-up.
Although he is nowadays a keen cyclist, Mr Murdoch said he was a late starter.
“I didn't get a bike until a I was 40 – but then went back to playing football. “I am normally more of a racer, doing time trials in the summer, and cycle cross in the winter.”
Mr Murdoch, who worked at Glaxo for 35 years, said he hopes to average about 70 miles a day, completing the challenge in about five weeks.
He is no stranger to long-distance bike riding – in 2009, he pedalled from Land's End to John o'Groats.
But as he is tackling this latest marathon unaided, he must also carry about 15kg of luggage on his mountain bike.
To date, Mr Murdoch has raised more than £1,100 and hopes to top £1,500 once he has completed the challenge.
Donations can be made online at www.justgiving.com/robert-murdoch.