FIREFIGHTERS are usually more associated with four wheels rather than two.

But Tony Collins and Keith Langley are swapping a red fire engine for two wheels as they attempt to cycle more than 100 kilometres for charity.

The duo are tackling the Loch Ness Etape next Sunday (April 28).

Tony, who is station commander and has responsibility for training personnel in East Lothian, Midlothian and the Borders, was looking forward to the event.

He said: “It’s an exciting and challenging thing to do.

“Both myself and Keith enjoy cycling as a hobby but have never done anything like this before.

“Our families think we are a bit mad but are hugely supportive of our efforts.

“In fact, it’s like role reversal as our wives are usually the ones taking on challenges like Tough Mudder, marathons and others!”

The duo are taking on the challenge in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service Family Support Trust.

The fire charity provides financial and other support to serving and retired Scottish Fire Service personnel, not just firefighters, and their families who may require assistance in their times of need.

Tony, of Aberlady, told the Courier that the pair signed up for the challenge to mark Keith, of Dunbar, reaching a particular milestone.

He said: “Keith has done a little bit of cycling before.

“It was his 50th birthday last September and I was looking around for inspiration of what to get him.

“I was looking at cycling events and I believe this one is one of the most scenic events to do.

“I have not done any events like this and thought it was something to make me, literally, get on my bike.”

More than 1,000 people are heading to the start line near Inverness Botanic Gardens with their bikes.

Cyclists then travel south down the western side of the River Ness before passing through Drumnadrochit and alongside Urquhart Castle before finally starting to return north at Fort Augustus.

The 106-kilometre event’s finish line is beside St Andrew’s Cathedral, Inverness and the banks of the River Ness.

Tony, 48, said: “Training has been going very good. We have been blessed with nice weather and locally we have got some great roads for cycling on round here.”

The duo, who are expecting to complete the hilly course in about five-and-a-half hours, set a fundraising target of £400 – which has already been surpassed.

They have been supported by fire service colleagues from throughout the country and already have collected more than £650, including Gift Aid.

Tony, who joined the fire service 26 years ago, added: “Both of us have had family and friends that have been helped by Macmillan Cancer Support as well as the Family Support Trust and felt this was a perfect way for us to give back to both charities.”

To support Tony and Keith, go to