David James, who has just retired as a senior IT project manager with Asda, is tackling Scotland’s ultimate road trip to raise money for Wellspring Therapy & Training, the Harrogate-based mental health charity.

Fifty-five-year-old David is embarking on the North Coast 500 on his trusted bike on Saturday July 13. He is hoping to complete the 516-mile route in five days.

He explained: “The reason for taking on this challenge is that I am retiring from my career with Asda in Leeds after a rewarding 38 years and a key factor that has supported my own mental health is that I have commuted into the office most days on my bike, a 26-mile round trip from Wetherby.

“The physical exercise and being out in the fresh air taking on all weathers helped me keep a positive attitude. I’d like to encourage others to cycle more, but conscious it’s not practical for everyone, or there may be events in people’s lives that impact their own mental health, and that’s why raising money for Wellspring will allow them to get the support they need.

“The biggest challenge for me on this trip is going to be the first day. It’s the longest out of the five days and the hardest. After 70 miles I have to tackle the UK’s toughest climb, Bealach-na-bar, over six miles with a gradient averaging seven per cent and peaking at over 20 per cent with an elevation gain of over 2,000 feet. On tired legs it’s going to be tough.”

David will be supported by his good friend Martin Ainsworth, who will be completing the North Coast 500 on his motorbike.

The North Coast 500 circular route is: Inverness, Torridon, Ullapool, Durness, Wick and back to Inverness. Bringing together a route of 516 miles of stunning coastal scenery, white sandy beaches, rugged mountains, remote fishing villages, hidden gems and a wealth of unforgettable experiences, it is is one of the world’s most beautiful road trips.

Nick Garrett, Interim CEO of Wellspring, commented: "What David is doing is incredibly tough. I also cycle to work but only travel two miles and I use an electric bike which I'm pretty sure David would say is cheating! When he's going up the hills, he'll know the whole Wellspring team are willing him on. Please sponsor him as we're seeing unprecedented levels of demand particularly from children with poor mental health."
Wellspring provides affordable short and long-term private counselling for the Harrogate and district community, relieving the huge burden on the NHS. The well-respected charity, which was founded by in 2003, is now facing unprecedented demand for its services.

What makes Wellspring’s work unique is that the charity offers affordable long-term, open-ended counselling where needed. This type of therapy is not currently widely available from the NHS. Most private counselling typically costs between £50 or more for each session, but many of Wellspring’s clients are unable to afford this.

Looking ahead, Wellspring hopes to be able to counsel 220 clients by the end of next year, building on the 170 now on the charity’s books.

If you would like to support David and Wellspring, David’s Just Giving Link is https://www.justgiving.com/page/david-james-nc500