A ST Matthew's Academy teacher has completed his gruelling charity cycle.

Steven Charters, who lives in Stewarton, took 17 hours to conquer the 96-mile route through the West Highland Way in just one day.

Though it was all worthwhile as he raised over £1,000 for charity in the process.

However, the biology teacher from the Saltcoats school admitted "never again" will he be taking on such a challenge.

After setting off from Milngavie at 6am, the 36-year-old made it to the finish line in Fort William in darkness at 11pm.

He completed the mammoth task in an effort to raise funds for the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (SCIAF), accumulating £1,300 in donations so far.

SCIAF helps people in the world’s poorest places to lift themselves out of poverty, work together to protect our common home, and help people recover from disaster.

It is a charity of which Steven is well aware - particularly as pupils from St Matthew's Academy often fundraise for the organisation.

And Steven said it was it was the support of the charity, and his friends and family, which saw him through to the finish line.

He commented: “Never again. It was without doubt the hardest challenge I have ever done.

"I think I overestimated my fitness and underestimated how hard the course was to do on a bike. 

“The wind and rain didn’t help - it felt like it rained the entire day and that added to the challenge.  

“But the amazing support I’ve received and the faith people put in me and SCIAF carried me through somehow. Knowing that so many people were behind me made me go on.

"It’s been family, friends, colleagues, pupils but also complete strangers too and that’s what made me slog on, hill by hill."

Steven was greeted by his pregnant wife Joanne, their two sons Robbie and Niall as well as his own dad at the finishing line - where he was overcome with emotion.

He continued: "It was really emotional. I had no idea they were coming along.

"Dad had supported me along the route and we met up at various checkpoints to eat bananas, drink Lucozade and fix punctures - even he didn’t know Joanne and the boys were coming along.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: Steven's dad supported him along the way.Steven's dad supported him along the way. (Image: SCIAF)

“Another highlight was at Tyndrum, where friends surprised me by turning up to cheer me on – everyone has been so lovely.”

Adding to Steven's delight was seeing that he had smashed his fundraising goal out of the park, with donations still open.

He said: “I had hoped to raise £960, which is a tenner for every one of the 96 miles, but we’ve smashed that.

"I am so delighted to be able to have raised that amount for SCIAF. I’ve been aware of SCIAF’s work for many years, and St Matthew’s pupils do a lot of fundraising for them.

"SCIAF does great work around the world, and they support the same values as I do, looking out for everyone in the community. 

“Thank you so much to everyone who got behind me. Every pound raised will bring us one step closer to transforming lives and creating a brighter future for those who need to most.”

If you would like to support Steven in his fundraiser, his JustGiving page is still open: tinyurl.com/StevenCharters.