RECORD BREAKER Mark Beaumont will attempt to cycle Scotland’s answer to Route 66 – in just 48 hours without stopping.
The Perthshire cyclist, who once pedalled round the world in 194 days, plans to complete the North Coast 500 with no breaks or pit-stops.
Starting on Monday, he will have to cover more than 10 miles an hour to complete the gruelling 500-mile stretch of coastline.
The circular route, which begins in Inverness, was recently dubbed Scotland’s answer to Route 66 – one of America’s most famous highways.
It was named among the top six coastal road trips in the world, and boasts stunning views of fairytale castles, mountain ranges and beaches.
Mr Beaumont, who recently broke the record for cycling the 6,718 miles from one end of Africa to the other, said he looks forward to cycling in one of his “favourite areas”.
The 32-year-old said: “When I first heard of the north Coast 500 I immediately started thinking about racing the route – having cycled all over the world, I still believe Scotland has some of the best cycling.
“My favourite area, outside of my familiar Perthshire training grounds, is Scotland’s north coast.
“It is easy to forget just how much beautiful coastline there is and the length of those tough but stunning roads in the far north.”
He added: “Under 48 hours is the plan – so watch closely and we’ll see how tough it is.”
The route runs from Inverness to the Kyle of Lochalsh on the West Coast, along the north coast to John O’Groats before heading back down the east coast to complete the loop.
At a leisurely pace it would take roughly five days to complete on a bicycle, though it also targets car and motorbike enthusiasts as well as walkers.
Unmissable sights along the road include mountain ranges, Ben Hope and Suilven, the fairytale grand castle, Dunrobin, the Ardvreck castle ruins and the breathtaking Achmelvich and Dornoch beaches.
The route was only launched two months ago and was the brainchild of the North Highland Initiative, set up by Prince Charles to showcase the area.
Travel Magazine placed the route in fifth place in a list of ‘six of the best’ road trips on the planet.
Top was Cape Overberg in South Africa, followed by the Amalfi Coast in Italy and The Atlantic Road in Norway. The Pacific Coast Highway in America and the Coral Coast in Australia made up the list.
Mr Beaumont first made fame for an 18,000 mile round-the-world bike race, where he smashed the previous World Record by a staggering 82 days.
He followed this with a 13,000 mile ride down the length of the Rockies and Andes, climbing the highest mountains in Alaska and Argentina.
Off the bike, he has ocean rowed through the high Arctic and survived after capsizing whilst rowing the Atlantic.
Mr Beaumont has filmed a series of successful BBC documentaries, which include presenting the build-up to the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games as the Queen’s Baton relay made its way around 70 nations and territories.
He is also a dedicated charity fundraiser – at the age of 12 he raised £3,000 by cycling across Scotland and recently raised over £100,000 by running and swimming across the country.
A spokeswoman for the North Highland Initiative said: “We are delighted that Mark Beaumont has chosen the North Coast 500 as his newest challenge.
“As a man who is world-famous for tackling incredible and extremely difficult routes, it is an honour that he would like to tackle our very own North Coast 500.
“Having recently been recognised as one of the top five coastal routes in the world, we also have the opportunity, with Mark’s help, to make this also one of the most desirable cycling routes in the world.”