Ayrshire Alps Challenge
One of Ayr Rotary Club’s major fundraising event was the Ayrshire Alps Challenge held on Saturday 24th June in partnership with Malawi Fruits, a Scottish charity which provides start up finance, training and support to agricultural enterprises; encouraging smallholding farmers to see their farms as businesses. Fundamentally, it enables the transition from subsistence crops to cash crops by providing support, training, irrigation and a market, therefore farmers have a guaranteed income. By supporting sustainable businesses this reduces poverty and so gives access to better health, education, stability and hope in northern Malawi.
The event base was at Turnberry airfield, with feed stations in Straiton and Barr, offering soup, filled rolls, tea coffee and home baking all supplied by Rotarian spouses and partners. A network of signed hill climbs, stylishly mapped and promoted, forms the basis of this event. Riders who pre-registered, started to arrive at Turnberry early and set off between 8am and 10am. This exciting new sportive was launched with great success in 2022, offering a choice of the long 80 mile route with 2170m climb, a medium 62 mile route or the shorter 48 mile course with 1300m climb. Stiff climbs and sweeping descents over spectacular hills, including the iconic Nic o’Balloch, are guaranteed as are the really quiet roads.
Of the163 registered entries, over 150 arrived on a beautiful summer’s morning. For this second event within 10 months, Ayr Rotary Club were delighted to raise £5527 of which 50% goes to Malawi Fruits charity with the balance going the Ayr Rotary Club’s benevolent fund. An excellent result. It is therefore proposed to repeat the event in 2024 when the entries target will be 200, to hopefully raise, £6000 to £7000.
The Ayrshire Alps is a concept with the aim of enriching the cycling experience in the South Carrick area through partnership working with community, tourism, local authority and enterprise. The aim is to create Scotland’s first road cycling park, similar in ambition to the off-road trail centres found across Southern Scotland.
Organiser, Bob Cherry, also a keen cyclist and President of Ayr Rotary Club, received numerous complimentary reviews from the majority of entrants and volunteers on the smooth running and success of the event.