Cumbria Crack

1000 mile unicycle challenge to support vulnerable children

Jonathan Whalley on the electric unicycle
Jonathan Whalley on the electric unicycle

[A] charity director travelling 1000 miles across the UK on an electric unicycle stopped for a quick ‘brake’ at Barnardo’s children’s centre in Carlisle on Friday (5 May 2017), before continuing on his epic journey to raise vital funds for vulnerable children.

Jonathan Whalley from the UK’s largest children’s charity Barnardo’s, has taken in sights including the Brecon Beacons, the Peak District and the Dublin birthplace of Dr Thomas John Barnardo. His adventure, which started on 27 April, has seen him travel through all five nations of the UK and Ireland over 12 days.

Jonathan Whalley meeting staff at Shadygrove Lane children’s centre in Carlisle on his journey
Jonathan Whalley meeting staff at Shadygrove Lane children’s centre in Carlisle on his journey

After travelling down through Scotland on Thursday 4 May, Jonathan unicycled into Carlisle on Friday morning where he made a pit stop to meet with Barnardo’s staff at Shadygrove Lane children’s centre, Carlisle, to find out more about the work they do.

After his visit, Jonathan then headed down to Ullswater, through Ambleside and took the western route along the length of Lake Windermere, before going on to Newby Bridge, Sedgwick and then down to Milnthorpe, Beetham and the day’s final destination of Silverdale.

Barnardo’s South East and Anglia Regional Director Jonathan Whalley said: “I am really excited to be doing something that has never been done before while supporting vulnerable children and young people.

“I have done lots of training and while it may look easy – it certainly isn’t. I have had lots of falls and bumps while practicing but I don’t think anything will quite prepare me for the real thing. It will be like running back to back marathons for 13 days!!”

The challenge will entail 10-14 hours of standing up and riding each day averaging around 100 miles. There are no planned rest days and the 20Kg weight he will be carrying is equivalent to that of Royal Marines in training. He will also have to navigate in remote areas travelling on minor and unclassified roads.

Mr Whalley is undertaking the challenge to raise funds as well as to highlight the breadth and variety of Barnardo’s work across the UK. Barnardo’s services include supporting young people who are at risk of sexual exploitation, children’s centres, short breaks for children with disabilities and employment and training services.

Jonathan will be joined on his journey by Ian Sampson from Speedy Feet UK who have supplied the electric unicycle.

To support Jonathan on his journey please visit:

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