Two of Grampian Police's most senior officers are preparing to saddle up and take on 30 of the UK's most challenging hills next week to raise money for urological charity UCAN - while also attempting a new world record.
Assistant Chief Constable Colin Menzies and Chief Superintendent Ewan Stewart have set themselves the daunting 30³ Challenge to celebrate 30 years of service with the force.
The pair are set to scale a height of more than 30,000 feet, the same as Mount Everest, as they cycle up the 30 most difficult and iconic hills on the UK mainland.
The cyclists set off Monday (May 14) and have given themselves just five days to complete the challenge, from Somerset to Applecross, which was inspired by a book by Simon Warren listing the 100 most difficult cycling routes in the country.
Undeterred, Mr Menzies and Mr Stewart picked the top 30, including the Lecht and Bealach-na-Ba on the West Coast, which is the UK's biggest road climb and is considered to be so tough it is off the scale!
All proceeds from the challenge will go to the Diced Cap Charitable Trust, which has nominated UCAN as its charity of the year for 2012.
The Trust chose UCAN after being impressed by the potential of its current campaign, to raise £2.5million to fund the purchase of a Robotically-Assisted (keyhole) Surgical System and two integrated operating theatres for Aberdeen Royal Infirmary (ARI), which will benefit all patients in the north of Scotland who require general, gynaecological or urological surgery in the future.
The intrepid duo have been training hard for the challenge ahead, including clocking up more than 80 miles on static bikes at the recent Diced Cap Spring Ball at the Marcliffe Hotel.
Mr Menzies, who is a trustee of the Diced Cap Charitable Trust, said: "We have been training hard and are ready and looking forward to the challenge ahead. We know it will be a tough few days but when the going gets tough we will remember that we are raising money for a much-deserved good cause here in the North-east.
Mr Stewart added: "As well as achieving our own personal targets, we hope the 30³ challenge will raise as much as possible for UCAN, which will use the money for Scotland's robotic-assisted surgical equipment at ARI.
"The remit of the Diced Cap Charitable Trust is to improve the health and wellbeing of the people who live in the force area across the North-east, so many patients across different areas of surgery would benefit from this very latest equipment and we are pleased to be supporting the campaign."
UCAN's £2.5million fundraising campaign aims to create a theatre suite at ARI with two integrated operating theatres which will have the capacity for robotically assisted surgery.
The robotic surgical system is controlled by the surgeon and allows very intricate and complex procedures to be carried out while still allowing minimally invasive (keyhole) techniques to be used.
This system will offer numerous benefits to patients requiring surgery in terms of success of the operation, reduction in complications, shorter recovery time, shorter hospital stay, reduction in the need for blood transfusions and a faster return to normal activity and work.
The robotically-assisted surgical system will cost £1.5million and the suite of two operating theatres will cost £1million, which cannot be funded by current NHS budgets.
Fiona JD Pearson, UCAN's fundraising manager, said: "We would like to thank Colin and Ewan for choosing to support UCAN's latest fundraising campaign and wish them lots of luck as they set off on their amazing challenge.
"As they clock up the miles, they can rest assured that every penny they raise will go towards our £2.5million campaign to fund a Robotically-Assisted Surgical System and operating theatre suite for ARI, which will potentially benefit every person in the North of Scotland who requires a specialised operation in the future."
The aim of the Trust is to improve the health and wellbeing of people connected with the Grampian Police force area, reducing social exclusion and encouraging good citizenship through empowerment.
Run by volunteer police officers and support staff from Grampian Police, along with a number of retired officers and associates, the Trust operates separately from the police force. More than £1million has been raised for charity since it was formed in 1990.
· There is still time to donate to the 30³ Challenge Fund, just text "DCAP01" to 70070 from your mobile phone with your chosen amount, or visit www.justgiving.com/30-30-30Challenge
· For more information on UCAN and how to donate, visit www.ucanfundraise.org.uk or call Fiona JD Pearson on 01224 559312 or email