Fraser’s finally over the line

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CHARITY champ Fraser Kennedy was exhausted after finishing his 1,000-mile bike ride the length of Britain – but his elation turned into his “worst day ever” after he wasn’t allowed on the train home.

The Ashbrooke dad, 38, finished his mammoth challenge in John O’Groats six days after setting out from Land’s End in Cornwall.

Fraser, who is raising money for the Grace House Appeal, says he was “shattered” after completing the ride.

But it wasn’t the end of his ordeal – he wasn’t allowed on two Scotrail trains because conductors said the people he was travelling with didn’t have reservations to take their bikes on.

It meant that the performance sport manager, who works at Newcastle University and also coaches Sunderland Rugby Football Club, had to eventually hire a van in Inverness to get back home.

“It all went well, but it wasn’t a particularly-enjoyable experience,” said Fraser, who had never ridden a bike on a road until he started training in April.

“They chucked me off the train because they said I didn’t have a reservation for my bike.

“Eventually, I got a bus which cost me £20, then I missed the connection from Inverness to Edinburgh.

“Then when I went to get on the next train they said ‘you are not getting on’.”

A spokeswoman for ScotRail said: “We have received correspondence from Mr Kennedy and, as is right and proper, will respond directly to the customer.”

“Our cycle reservation policy is clearly outlined on our website.

“Customers wishing to travel to and from Inverness, Wick and Thurso must be in possession of a valid cycle reservation and join at their booked station.”

The delay was less than ideal for Fraser, with his 14-month old son Finlay receiving treatment in hospital at the time.

He cited his little boy’s health problems with pneumonia and bronchitis as one of the inspirations for deciding to do the bike ride.

Fraser added: “My little boy was in the hospital getting checked up, but they said they only take two bikes on at a time.

“It was pretty shameless.

“I managed to find the only company in Inverness who could do a van hire so I had to pay for that.

“It was the worst day ever.”

Despite the struggle, Fraser said he was relieved when he and the other four people who made up his support team got to the finish line.

“It was a hellish experience but looking back now it was good that I finished and I have raised £2,500 for charity,” he said.

“My physical state hasn’t been good, as you can imagine after doing 160 miles a day.

“There were a couple of times where we thought ‘we can’t do this any more’.”

Another worthy cause also set to benefit from Fraser’s trek is the Charlie Crowe Appeal, an Alzheimer’s charity based in Newcastle General Hospital.

Twitter: @davidallison88