Mark Beaumont’s love of cycling started young. The long-distance cyclist, ultra-endurance adventurer and record breaker has travelled the world, but continues to be inspired by his home.
Starting out in Argyll, Mark Beaumont then moved to a farm in Perthshire at a young age and was home schooled in his early years. Free to roam the countryside, it was here that he first got a taste for adventure.
Aged 12, and inspired by tales of cyclists riding from Scotland’s John o’Groats to Lands’ End in England, Mark embarked on his first challenge and cycled 145 miles across Scotland, from Dundee to Oban. Firmly bitten by the adventure bug, he went on to cycle the British end-to-end route at age 15, and grew up to break many World Records in feats of astonishing endurance.
In 2008 he cycled around the world in 194 days, breaking the previous record by 81 days, and then in 2010 he travelled 13,080 miles from Anchorage in Alaska to Argentina. Five years later he rode the length of Africa solo, breaking the previous World Record by a margin of 18 days. All the while, Scotland was his base and his training ground as he always remembered how he got started.
"My first memories are on a farm in the Argyll peninsula, which overlooked the island of Gigha, where my father was the dairyman. But when I was still young we moved to rural Perthshire, where I grew up on a farm near Bridge of Cally – it was a wonderful wilderness and I grew up skiing nearby at Glenshee, mountain biking in Blackcraig forest and riding ponies on the tracks of the farm".
Always looking for a new challenge, he was also part of a team that rowed across the Canadian Arctic and attempted a team row over the Atlantic. However, after every challenge, Mark always inevitably returned home to Scotland to plan his next adventure.
In 2017 Mark Beaumont took on a familiar challenge – he wanted to reclaim his record for cycling around the world, aiming at the iconic target of ‘Around the World in 80 Days’ – Mark ended up beating the previous record by nearly 40% and in doing so averaging 240 miles a day.
This journey took over two years in the planning and with the backing of a professional performance and logistics team and building on Mark’s two decades of experience, he managed to claim the ‘Everest’ of ultra-endurance prizes – Around the World in 80 Days. Mark needed to cycle over 18,000 miles to complete The Artemis World Cycle. In preparation, he completed a 3000 mile route around the coastline of Britain prior to the challenge, and then completed a final training ride across Scotland.
This 16-hour final ride before taking on the World took him from coast to coast, starting in Argyll and finishing in Aberdeen, a distance of 240 miles – the same length he needed to achieve each single day during the World ride.
"Argyll has been overlooked as a wilderness destination… Argyll and the West Coast Isles have amazing landscapes and sports – and people have been missing one of Scotland’s best adventure playgrounds".
During Mark’s race around the planet, he suffered three crashes, one which required emergency dental treatment and fractured his left elbow, however Mark persevered and, smashed the circumnavigation World Record in a time of 78 days, 14 hours and 40 minutes! A few days later he was given a hero’s welcome as he landed at Edinburgh airport and spoke about how wonderful it was to be home, the country which had inspired him to take on the World.
Learn more about Mark Beaumont’s Guinness World Record Breaking challenge.
Mark’s passion for cycling has taken him through some of Scotland’s most beautiful scenery. Always up for a challenge, he has previously cycled the North Coast 500 route in the north Highlands in under 38 hours. Although going at some speed, he had time to take in the stunning coastline as he passed Torridon, Ullapool and Lochinver, and also ascended 2,053 ft up Bealach na Bà, which is often named as the UK’s best cycling climb.
He’s also a fan of the Hebridean Way, which is a spectacular 185-mile route that spans 10 islands in the Outer Hebrides. Being Mark Beaumont, he completed the route in just 24 hours, but a more leisurely pace might allow you to take in more of these wild islands on the edge of the Atlantic.
Argyll, too, is particularly favoured by Mark. In 2016 he took on a 12-day challenge throughout Argyll, experiencing all the exhilarating adventure sports that the area could offer him. He undertook cycling, kayaking, sailing, open swimming, quad biking, off-road motorbiking and horse riding before running up 22 peaks over 300 ft on the Isle of Colonsay. Quite a feat.