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Spring 2016

Pedalling Patagonia and Beyond


Morgan Bywater is, currently, on the trip of a lifetime, cycling from the southern tip of South America following the Andes Trail, which runs along the west coast to Colombia, a distance of 8,000 miles.

Morgan, 23, was born and bred in Barrow, attended Hall Orchard Primary School, Humphrey Perkins High School and Rawlins Community College. Whilst at Leeds University he joined the Army Reserves and became friendly with Henry Jeffers and Nathan Bell. Morgan Bywater recently passed out from Sandhurst Military Academy and is a commissioned officer. Henry Jeffers is serving with the 4th Battalion Parachute Regiment and Nathan Bell is an army physical training instructor. The three of them decided to do a charity cycling tour, completely self-funded and almost unsupported, to raise money for ‘Help for Heroes’. The only support they are getting is from family and friends. (A French man, cycling to Chile, fell in with them so in many of the facebook photographs there are four young men smiling at the camera.)

Arriving in Ushuaia in Patagonia, after a journey of 20 hours, their baggage and bicycles were missing. When they did arrive, one bicycle was minus a saddle. A similar replacement is not easy to find at the southern tip of South America! But they did. The challenge would see the team travel through six countries: Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia and encounter mountains, deserts and jungles in all manner of arduous conditions. In October, spring in the Southern Hemisphere, they found snow on their tents each morning. The roads were very rough, food was bought en route, and water, 3 litres, carried on the bikes. When wet and cold they found the people of Chile very hospitable.

They made a special detour to Punta Arenas, Chile’s port for Antarctic exploration, although it added miles to their route. Firstly it was to avoid strong head winds and secondly to meet Henry Worsley who was beginning his solo attempt to follow the 1915 route of Sir Ernest Shackleton across the Antarctic Continent. (Sadly he died in January: only 30 miles short of completing his challenge.) He gave a donation to their charity and the team felt it was a great privilege to have met him.

At the time of going to press, the team have reached Peru having crossed large salt flats in Bolivia and are now having to deal with high altitude. The team will split in Lima with Morgan doing a seven day course in Spanish and then cycling on his own to Bogota as he has to be back in England in May. You can follow their progress through their facebook page < www.facebook.com/PedallingPatagoniaandBeyond > and their website PedallingPatagonia.com To donate to ‘Help for Heroes’ go to www.justgiving.com/South America . They aim to raise £10,000. So far they have raised £3,000. We wish them good luck.

Ann Higgins