A LOCHGELLY woman has cycled the Outer Hebrides to raise awareness for Parkinson’s.

Janet Kerr, 53, was diagnosed with the illness in 2016 and she is cycling her way through it, keeping healthy while she raises awareness and funds for the condition.

Speaking about her incredible journey, Janet told the Times: “Cycling, for me, has literally saved my life.

“I cycle with a limp and there is all sorts of pain, it is not easy at all but I don’t walk very well.

“I can’t walk distance without being in immense pain so cycling gives me freedom, independence, I get to travel fast and it just opened up my world.”

Cycling not only helps Janet physically, as it has benefits for her condition, but it also helps her mental health. She began exercising when she was diagnosed and heard that cycling was good for those with Parkinson’s.

Since she started peddling she hasn’t stopped, making her way through many milestones, including her 100-mile cycle, her journey through the NC500 in 2019 and now her trip through the Outer Hebrides with her friend, Isabel Reid, 62, for support.

Janet continued: “To have company this time was just such a joy. I don’t think I have laughed so much over a whole week as I did with Isabel. I couldn’t have picked a better cycling buddy.”

Not only was Isabel an amazing supporter throughout but those they met along the way stunned the pair with their amazing acts of kindness.

Many people offered to carry their bags ahead for them and one kind B&B owner gave them a discounted stay after hearing about their efforts. Isabel was blown away by the kindness.

"I had already experienced kindness like that when I did the NC500, I came across the best in people and we did on this trip as well.”

While filled with the laughs, the trip had its rough moments as well, struggling with extra baggage filled with camping supplies, sleep deprivation-induced hallucinations and gale force winds truly made the journey a challenge.

“The hard bit was going up over the Clisham, it’s a mountainous route, very steep and it was really gusty. We got to a point where we had to stop because when the lorries passed you, the backdraft was really scary!”

Despite having to get off her bike, Janet didn’t give up and made it up the incline.

The six-day challenge was difficult but Isabel and Janet powered through, cycling a total of 185 miles from Vatersay on Sunday, June 19, to the Butt of Lewis on June 24.

Raising a total of £2,000 and counting, through JustGiving donations and Gift Aid, the pair have smashed their initial £200 target and Janet said: “It was an absolutely amazing trip and it is one that will live with us forever.”