Highlands & Islands

End to End news coverage 'a slog'

Enders in superhero costumes
Image caption Ten friends will attempt the challenge in costume

Generating media interest in John O'Groats to Land's End charity attempts is getting tougher, according to those taking part and reporting on the bids.

Veteran far north journalist Noel Donaldson said people were having to come up with increasingly novel ways of completing the route.

A team who will cycle dressed as superheroes said getting national media attention had been "a slog".

It has been estimated that up to 6,000 people tackle the route each year.

Many do it to raise money for charity.

The End to End Club said such efforts in the past 12 months had raised about £2m for good causes.

The club also reported increasing numbers of people either walking, or cycling, and a slight decrease in those using motorised transport as a possible result of high fuel prices.

Mr Donaldson has covered hundreds of attempts.

He said: "The problem is that unless you can come up with a really off-beat or courageous method - one chap did it on two artificial legs - you don't tend to get the sort of publicity you are expecting.

"Don't get me wrong, many of the attempts are for deserving charities which must have benefited by many thousands of pounds in sponsorship."

Mr Donaldson said technology had changed the way challenges were publicised.

Many of the fundraisers have their own websites, or use social networking sites to give updates on their progress.

Jeff Burnett and nine friends, all from Fetcham, Surrey, will cycle the route dressed as superheroes in memory of his son, who died of leukaemia last year.

The team said it had been easy attracting local media attention and they have also delivered pamphlets on their charity ride to shops, GP surgeries and mother and toddler groups and launched a website.

But Mr Burnett's wife Kate said: "In terms of more widespread coverage it's been very difficult and a bit of a slog.

"I feel like for the last six months we have been constantly chasing people and asking people to get back to us."

The huge numbers of people attempting the trek is a major factor in making attracting media coverage harder.

The End to End Club, run by company Heritage GB, estimated between 4,000 and 6,000 people tackle the route every year.

Club chairman Dudley Westgate said wackier means of travel included motorised bar stools, skateboards and mobility scooters.

He said: "In terms of increases and decreases in numbers each year we have seen a marginal decrease in four-wheeled vehicles, but a big increase in cyclists and an even larger increase in walkers."

The club holds an annual awards ceremony.

Last year's winners in the walking category were a young couple who reached Land's End on 28 December after trekking during one of the worst winters on record.

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