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Protest at John O'Groats over lack of respect from Deloitte organisers and cyclists

By Jean Gunn

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ORGANISERS of the annual Deloitte cycle ride have apologised for the lack of respect shown at John O'Groats during the completion of previous events.

The apology follows the recent decision by two local busniesses – Stacks Coffee House and Bistro, and Flavours, the ice cream and confectionery shop – to close their doors this weekend when the event is due to finish at the end-of-the-road site in protest at Deloitte's previous use of the facilities.

Complaints were made about the "consistently aggressive and rude attitude" of management and security staff, as well as litter left behind every year by some of those involved in the 980-mile charity cycle challenge which is due to conclude in John O'Groats on Sunday.

More than 1000 cyclists set off from Land's End on Saturday, September 7, on the Deloitte Ride Across Britain cycling challenge.

The end-to-end route is made up of nine stages over as many days and sees cyclists ride over 100 miles each day.

Deloitte Ride Across Britain cyclists celebrate after one of the events.
Deloitte Ride Across Britain cyclists celebrate after one of the events.

Karen Hannaford, head of event organiser Threshold Event Operations, said: "Threshold apologises profusely and we are ensuring all riders and crew members are briefed thoroughly about not leaving litter, and being respectful to the local area and community."

Threshold has contacted Stacks and will speak to Teresa Wymer, one of the owners, after this year's event is finished so that she can talk through the issues and work on a solution for next year.

Ms Hannaford said: "Although we will still be using the car park for coaches, we will try to move the bike packing and bike packing vehicles round the back. However, we cannot promise this at this stage. We have also offered to pay for all use of the car park."

In a post on Facebook, Stacks owners Teresa and Rebecca Wymer have put up a notice about their protest and planned closure – in unison with Flavours – and the reasons behind it.

They stated: "The charity aspect of this event is admirable, however the general lack of respect towards our little town and its community during finishing day has forced us to take action.

"After years of feeding this back to Deloitte it has fallen on deaf ears."

As well as the "consistently aggressive and rude attitude of management and security staff" and littering, the business owners point out that the complete takeover of the car park blocks access for "loyal locals" and visitors.

They also state: "Three years running event partakers have used local businesses as bus waiting rooms. We wouldn’t mind this, of course, if they were to put back into our economy.

"However, here at Stacks we have seen time and time again, cyclists buying one bottle of water between several customers and then taking out their own snacks and food to eat – using our supplies and space. Obviously, this does not apply to all, but unfortunately in our case the majority."

They conclude: "This has all been relayed to Deloitte every year we have been trading – yet no change has come about. Therefore, we will be shut on September 15.

"We wish them the very best of luck with their cycle and live in hope that Deloitte decide to change their attitude."

On Sunday the cyclists will set off on the last leg of their journey which will take them from the Kyle of Sutherland up to Lairg, through Strathnaver and on to Bettyhill and Thurso as they make their way to John O'Groats.

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