AN EDEN builder cycled virtually non-stop from Land’s End to John O’Groats in 54 hours to celebrate a milestone birthday.

Dad-of-three Pete Brittleton toasted his 50th by battling heavy rain, headwinds, fatigue and sleep deprivation during his 844-mile journey the length of mainland Great Britain.

Pete, a keen mountaineer, told the Gazette that although he cycles a lot he “didn’t really train” for the epic End to End ride.

Even so, he averaged 19 to 20mph on his Wilier road bike, only slowing to 14mph for the last 20 miles to John O'Groats.

Thanks to well-wishers, by the time he reached the northerly Scottish coastal village he had raised £1,300 for the cancer foundation set up by the late England football manager, Sir Bobby Robson.

Pete's brother Paul drove the support van and supplied feed stops for the 54-hour ride - two tins of baked beans, two Pot Noodles, high-energy sports gels and drinks, and white coffee.

The brothers had set off from Cornwall at 6.30pm on Wednesday, July 18, and crested Shap Summit, their halfway point, the following evening. Heavy rain set in as they reached Gretna.

“It didn’t really stop until about an hour before John O’Groats,” said Pete. “I felt pretty good, actually, till about the last 20 miles when it was hillier than I thought it would have been.”

Pete reached the top of Scotland in darkness at 12.30am on Friday, July 20, where he celebrated with a couple of bottles of beer.

Waiting for him in Kirkby Stephen were children Indy, nine, and six-year-old twins Skyla and Willow, and wife Adele. "I think she thought I was a bit mad, but she was quite proud," said Pete, who enjoyed "a hot bath and a big kip" once home.

Although saddle-sore, he was back on the bike in three days, and has his next challenge in his sights - an ascent of K2, the world's second highest mountain, in 2019. His 2016 attempt was brought to an abrupt close following an avalanche at Camp 3.

Reflecting on his epic bike ride, Pete said: "If I was to do anything different I’d probably train for it!" He also expressed his thanks to Staveley cycle store Wheelbase for donating a Garmin GPS device and clothing.