Nine members of 207 Field Hospital – both regular and Territorial Army – are cycling 900 miles from Edinburgh Castle to Manchester, via Newcastle, York, Sheffield, Birmingham, London, Bristol, Cardiff, Shrewsbury and Liverpool – the HQ locations of the UK TA Field Hospitals.
We hope to keep you updated on our progress as we visit all the TA Field Hospitals around the UK, taking it in turns to update this blog. (SSgt Matt Spruce)
28 April 2012
8pm: Well, the final day has arrive and we had to just cover 84 miles. Our journey began at 0600 heading out of 202 Fd Hosp Shrewsbury Detachment, and towards 208 Fd Hosp.
Thankfully the drizzle that was happening at 0500 had passed over us and gave us some hope of dry weather for the trip, which, after the day before, was needed in all fairness. We made good time to our first stop just north of Whitchurch, at that time in the morning a service station was our only option.
After a short break we headed off to Ellesmere Port TAC part of 208 Fd Hosp and we made good time covering the distance in about 1.5 hrs, which for day 9 is no mean feat. After a lunch stop at Ellesmere Port TAC we just had a short 33 miles to cover to get back to RHQ.
With vim and vigour the team set off to our final destination and home. Our route made a slight detour to visit the Spread Eagled pub in Lymm, as they have been a great support to the team and after-event. After our short visit to Lymm the team scythed their way through Manchester to RHQ where the cyclists were meet by their families, which was really good for them.
I would just like to thank you for your continued support following the blog. Your comments and support have been instrumental in the success of the event. Thank you.
27 April 2012
8pm: Hi everyone. Today’s journey would take us from Cardiff to Shrewsbury a mere 110 miles. The day began as it finished RAINING!
We left a soggy Cardiff at 0630 and made our up to Newport then towards Abergavenny. The journey was a tough slog as the weather was against us but we cracked on.
Dave Morgan had a great day with his unique way of helping the team find shelter and managed to get us a free brew at Big Trev’s roadside cafe.
After our brew stop we headed off again this time through Hereford and towards Leominster which rolling hills either side and the ever increasing threat of having to go up one or two but fortunately being in the valley it wasn’t too bad by the standard of the other hills we have encountered.
It was still raining as we continued on towards our final destination Shrewsbury and Copthorne Bks were we greeted by 202 Fd Hosp who hosted us earlier in the week.
Morale is still high if not even more so, as we have now finished the penultimate day and looking forward the last and the finish.
26 April 2012
8pm: After being kindly hosted by 243 Fd Hosp we prepared to so make our way to 203 Fd Hosp in Cardiff.
Once we regrouped, we headed down the A48 to Newport, and went through the Docks and cycled our way into Cardiff. On arrival at Cardiff the team headed off to a Spa to get some pampering in before the leg up to Shrewsbury – up and down hills all day which will be fun.
Stevie Whitt had another morale-boosting day, after dropping his noble steed, and then needed to pump his tyres up. I think he had switched off a little bit, as he started pumping up Matt’s tyres! The funny thing is their bikes look completely different.
Tomorrow we are being joined by a couple of members of 203 Fd Hosp for a measly 106 miles. The penultimate day tomorrow, everyone is looking forward to completing the challenge and having a few drinks on Saturday.
Thanks for your continued support
24 April 2012
8.30pm: After a good night’s sleep at 202 Fd Hosp Birmingham, who were good hosts, we departed towards 256 Fd Hosp in London, which would take us through some beautiful countryside and old historic towns and villages.
We made some good time out of Birmingham which was awesome but as usual SSgt Jamie ‘Hill Finder’ Hartley struck again as the team had to negotiate a 16º hill. It was noticed that a sign right next to the start of the hill said ‘Cyclists are advised to Dismount and push your bikes up the hill’, but on the team unique style decided to ignore the sign and cruised up the hill,which made myself and SSgt Paul Melia giggle.
Stevie Whitt displayed another quality day, showing us his inability to drink soup by spilling it down his brand new jacket and thinking brioche was bread and dipping it in his soup! Awww bless him – the ladies are trying to add some culture to this loveable northern lad. A high-point of the leg was the chance for Karen McKinnie to meet up with Daddy Mac just outside Oxford, which gave the whole team a boost. During the leg we were helped out by the Thames Valley Police, who let us use their police station to get out of the cold, and use their amenities.
Overall a very successful leg and now waiting for the CO to join us on the London to Bristol leg, which is a mere 113 miles. Bring it on! Thanks for reading guys, your support means a lot to the team.
23 April 2012
Hello folks. We finished leg four and arrived safely at 202 Fd Hosp in Birmingham after another 85 miles. This takes our tally to 370 joyous miles.
We set off at 0630 from Sheffield and our warm-up consisted of a nice big hill, followed by more big hills until we reached the edge of the city. This was a rare treat for our already burning thighs, not! We have all come to an agreement that although Sheffield makes great steel, the next time we visit, it shall be via some sort of engine powered vehicle.
Once we finally left ‘Sheffield upon Kilimanjaro’ we were greeted with some beautiful scenery and nice rolling countryside. This included the Peak District, Chatsworth Estate and the Derbyshire Dales. Although there was no sign of Frank Gallagher we did see a large herd of deer which was pleasing to the eye. Big hills, two punctures and aching joints did not manage to put a dent in the morale armour of the team. We are all still in high spirits and are making good progress on the routes.
As per usual the day didn’t manage to sneak by without a few minor morale boosters. SSgt Jamie ‘why is my bike still in the wrapper’ Hartley managed to provide us with some pre-route PT by introducing us to a nice ‘oops I did it again’ wrong turn up a large hill.
Sgt Stevie Whittingham showed us his caring side by stopping in the road to help a frog on to the grass verge as he didn’t want the support vehicle to squash it. Further to this he sped up a hill to capture a dog that had escaped its owner. Aww! So ladies this single guy has caring side…
22 April 2012
10.15pm: Hi, the team have successfully completed the third leg from York to Sheffield, which was 63 miles.
We set off early, at 0645 and speeded our way along the A19 towards Selby and Doncaster then through Rotherham and finally to 212 Fd Hosp.
Today has mainly gone without a hitch, despite a miscommunication from the CO that saw us head towards Glossop, which would have been fine except it was in the wrong direction and up the biggest hill in Sheffield!
Stevie Whitt has had a quiet day which has surprised us all, well, apart from when he got a leg massage he screamed like a girl, which amused us all.
Dave “Duracell Bunny” Bowers didn’t seem phased by any of today, even doing extra distance picking up the odd hat and water bottles that came loose along the route.
Mark Cecil, John “Inappropriate” Cave and Dave Morgan had a fantastic day squaring our admin away but in doing so Dave Morgan broke his phone, went to church and got a collection for the team, which was brilliant.
The event is going good so far, with the team showing the nation what can be achieved with hard work and determination. To a man the cyclists have performed well and have but only 700 miles to push………piece of cake!
Thanks for your support guys.
21 April 2012
9.30pm: After nice short day, only 93 miles – making a total of 211 miles in 2 days,the team have safely arrived in York.
After leaving Hartlepool we made our way through the North Yorkshire Moors, which seemed like cycling to the moon! The hills did not deter Sgt Dave “Duracell bunny” Bowers, who on a downward stretch tried to break the land speed record on 2 wheels, hitting speeds in excess of 55km per hour. Sgt Steve Whittingham used vanity as his motivation. When struggling up a particularly steep climb, he made the decision to get off and push his bike, this was until he saw SSgt Dave Morgan with a camera, then he instantly jumped back on his bike and powered up the hill making sure there was no evidence of weakness!
The Commanding Officer is joining the team tonight in preparation for tomorrow’s leg which should be about 65 miles but with creative map reading, might be a smidgin longer!
9am: Well we finally finished the epic first leg which eventually came to 128 miles, after which we were hosted by 201 Fd Hospital in Newcastle.
Another early start up at 0500 to leave at 0630. We set off to escape Newcastle’s ring road and are heading towards Hartlepool. With us is Stevie Whitt (pictured with his son), a local lad, who is going to meet up with his family at the quay.
20 April 2012
1pm: Today we set off at 0630 from Edinburgh after being kindly hosted by the psi and psao. The weather started off overcast and chilly but that soon changed to rain, and as all good rain showers Karen McKinnie got a puncture an hour in, which amused us all. We have be averaging about 13 mph and still going maybe slightly slower up some interesting hills, with a slight detour to see a lighthouse. Overall we are in good spirits and loving the fact it has stopped raining.
19 April 2012
10am: Stevie Whitt nearly got us lost leaving our TAC enroute to Edinburgh but least it’s not raining!
7.30am: We are all greatly humbled by the support we have received and would like to give something back in the form of this cycyling event. Today we will be setting off from Edinburgh Castle, with support crew in tow. We aim to complete the journey in nine days and in the process raise funds for three very worthwhile causes. The nine of us are going to be doing the route together and not in relay. On our return to Manchester we will be holding a special function with a Charity Auction at the TA Centre in Stretford.
(SSgt Matt Spruce)
About 207 Field Hospital
207 Field Hospital is a Territorial Army Field Hospital whose members have recently returned from Afghanistan. The Unit has been established in Manchester for more than 100 years and has provided substantial medical support in many theatres, including the Boer War, the Great War, World War II, and more recent conflicts such as the Gulf War, Northern Ireland, the former Republic Yugoslavia, Bosnia and Kosovo. The unit has most recently deployed to Afghanistan where it ran the field hospital in Camp Bastion, considered to be the busiest trauma hospital in the world.
Learn more about the role of 207 Field Hospital here: http://www.army.mod.uk/army-medical-services/11030.aspx
The main aim of this endurance cycling event is recruitment and retention to promote the Army Medical Services – both Regular and Territorial Army, and units within 2 Medical Brigade – as well as emphasising teamwork, physical fitness and endurance. It is also the perfect opportunity for a bit of fundraising for 3 worthy charities – Army Benevolent Fund and local charities: Broughton House, a home for ex-service personnel, located in Salford, and Life for a Life Memorial Forest.
Donations can be made here: http://www.justgiving.com/eagles-ride2012
The team: SSgt Spruce, Pte Bates, Sgt Whittingham, Pte Pullin, Col Trow, Sgt Bowers, Cpl Street, Cpl McKinnie and Lt Peart
Thanks for the support so far, please donate on justgiving.com