A GROUP of West Dunbartonshire firefighters have conquered the 96-mile West Highland Way, cycling their way across the demanding route in two days to raise thousands for charity.

The team of 12, consisting of firefighters from Dumbarton, Clydebank and Helensburgh fire stations, set off the infamous stretch from Milngavie on April 27 and reached Fort William the following evening.

Tackling steep climbs, tough terrain and obstacles – including Highland cows – the squad powered through, and all made it over the finish line together.

And what’s more, they’ve smashed their target of raising £1,000 for the Robin House children’s hospice in Balloch – almost doubling that figure.

Dumbarton firefighter Scott Hannah, who was part of the team and had been taking on the trail for the first time, told the Reporter: “It was really challenging and the group worked well together and managed to cross the finish line together.

“It was great, the weather was fantastic - we had one bit of rain and hail with about seven miles to go.

“Throughout the journey we had three punctures and one broken spoke which is quite incredible.

“We had great support along the way from our colleague William Wilson, who drove the support van, meeting us at pre-arranged destinations where we would refuel and hydrate before setting off again.

“We finished the first day around 7pm, so that was 12 hours as we set off from Milngavie at 7am, and on the second day we arrived in Fort William at 6pm.”

Scott says completing the challenge was a great feeling for the team.

But the difficulties of cycling across such a landscape, which took them through country parks, mountains and moorlands, certainly meant they had to give it their all.

“Overall it was a great sense of achievement, but it was very testing at times with the rough terrain,” Scott added.

“We even encountered and had to negotiate our way round the odd highland cow along the way.

“We’re a bit sore. I thought I was fine but hadn’t foreseen how much on-and-off the bike there would be. The terrain is terrible, absolutely shocking for bikes.”

“On the first day you’d get two minutes down the road and have to be on and off the bike.”

But much to the team’s delight, there were apparently “no midges to be had anywhere,” after they had heard tales of the notorious nippy creatures’ presence along the route in the run up to the challenge.

And undeterred by aching limbs, rough routes and Highland cows, the team are apparently already gearing up for giving the trail another go.

Scott said: “We’re already talking about doing it again, but next time getting to do it over three days as two days really was a push.”