New film shows round-world cyclist Mark Beaumont tackling ‘hard’ council boundaries ride challenge

Round-the-world cyclist Mark Beaumont found himself tackling some surprisingly challenging smaller orbits after being inspired to ride round four Scottish council boundaries by the Covid lockdowns, a new film about the experience highlights.

The 18-minute video by fellow pan-global rider and film-maker Markus Stitz follows Edinburgh-based Beaumont as they track the borders of Clackmannanshire (49 miles), East Lothian (105), Falkirk (83) and Glasgow (74).

The Explore Your Boundaries project followed an initial circumnavigation of Edinburgh to encourage people to explore their surroundings by bike.

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The first three of the boundaries were completed between June and September last year, followed by Glasgow in November to coincide with the COP26 climate change summit.

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Beaumont, who holds the record for fastest cycle round the planet in 78 days in 2017, said some of the council boundaries had proved surprisingly tough, as spectacular drone footage in the film shows.

He said: “The Clackmannanshire Explore Your Boundaries is one of the shortest ones you could do in Scotland, but don't let that fool you.

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"It's quite hard.

"The Ochil Hills are beautiful as a range of hills, because they've got such drop offs on both sides.

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Mark Beaumont in the Ochil Hills during the Clackmannanshire boundary ride. Picture: Markus Stitz

"You drop down to the valley on the north and you've got Gleneagles and Auchterarder.

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"You drop down to the valley on the south and you've got the Firth of Forth.

"And because there are these significant hills with very wide flat valleys in between, the views from the top are extraordinary.

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"But they're hard-won.”

The Glasgow, Falkirk, Clackmannanshire and East Lothian boundaries tackled in the Explore Your Boundaries project. Picture: Markus Stitz
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Beaumont said the project had involved routes he would otherwise have never considered.

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He said: “Scotland was, over the centuries, defined into its modern council boundaries.

"It's for so many different reasons, sometimes it is geography.

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Mark Beaumont said some of the spectacular views were "hard won". Picture: Markus Stitz

"But often it seems utterly arbitrary why the boundary, the border of one council, is where it is.”

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The pair have also mapped 19 other local authority boundaries “to encourage people to stay active, whether cycling or walking, and to inspire adventures that start and finish at their front door.”

Stitz said: “The idea of ‘Explore Your Boundaries’ was born in the second lockdown of 2020 when we jointly turned a limitation – having to start any exercise within or close to the boundary of our local council area of Edinburgh – into an opportunity."

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