Chris Hyde with the bike on which he will ride 500 km off-road across Scotland to raise money for the charity supporting the cancer unit that saved his son's life. Photo: Chris Hyde.

Aquaculture tech guru hitting new heights for cancer unit charity

Developing ever more sophisticated equipment for the aquaculture industry might sometimes be an uphill struggle, but tech guru Chris Hyde has given himself a mountain of a different kind to climb next week.

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Hyde, the chief technology officer for marine and aquaculture supplier OTAQ, which makes the SealFence predator deterrent, is one of four mountain biking enthusiasts cycling off-road across nearly 500 km of tracks and paths in Scotland on a journey that involves around 6,000 metres (20,000 feet) of climbing. That’s the equivalent of cycling two-thirds of the way up Everest or four and half times up Ben Nevis.

All four men are raising money for different causes, and in Hyde’s case he’s hoping to earn at least £1,500 for a charity that supports the Aberdeen ANCHOR cancer unit that saved the life of his son Matthew in 2016 after the then 17-year-old was found to have a tumour in his chest.

“I am doing this in aid of Friends of ANCHOR (FoA), a charity that provides patient wellbeing services to people being treated for cancer in the north-east of Scotland. They also fund a great deal of research at Aberdeen University which has benefited people worldwide,” Hyde said.

“This superb charity is close to my heart as my son’s life was saved when he was successfully treated at the Aberdeen ANCHOR unit. Both my son and my family have benefited from the research work that they support, and I am very keen to see that good work continue. FoA benefit from being very generously supported by the Balmoral Group meaning that every penny raised goes directly to the cause.”

The mountain bikers are pedalling from Scotland’s most westerly lighthouse at Ardnamurchan to its most easterly at Boddam near Peterhead in a challenge that will take them six days to complete, assuming all goes as hoped. “We’ve planned the route, but we haven’t ridden all of it, so we may come across some locked gates, boggy ground or closed paths that we’re not expecting,” Hyde told Fish Farming Expert.

He added that although the cyclists had started training for the ride in March, “it will be very significant challenge in terms of duration, distance and ascent”.

Matthew Hyde, now a healthy 23-year-old, is also making a contribution to FoA by doing a sponsored sky dive on Sunday.

Anyone wanting to sponsor Chris Hyde’s ride can do so here.