Dairy farmer cycles Tour de France for RSPB

MILK FOR LIFE: Peter Bate and Peter Lemmey celebrating completing the ride in the centre of Paris

MILK FOR LIFE: Peter Bate and Peter Lemmey celebrating completing the ride in the centre of Paris

First published in News Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Photograph of the Author by

An organic dairy farmer in his 50s has just achieved an ambition of a lifetime – and cycled the Tour de France.

Peter Lemmey, 51, from Corscombe, and his brother Martin Bate, 52, took on the 2,181 miles of the Tour de France – one day ahead of the professional riders.

They did the course in three weeks and Peter has raised nearly £4,000 for the RSPB’s Give Nature a Home campaign.

Peter said: “It was the experience of a lifetime and I loved it. It was hard but I knew it was going to be but it’s been an ambition of mine for years so I was fairly driven.

“It just fills you with awe and admiration for the guys who race. We were reasonable athletes and it was all we could do to finish within the daylight hours and these guys are doing it in six hours.

“When you see it on the telly you have no real comprehension of how hard it is.

“Our longest climb was 34 kilometres and we ended up at 8,500 feet above the snow line. You only dare look at your front wheel, you don’t dare look up because you’d just see the road disappearing into the sky.”

Peter chose the RSPB because of his love of birds and now he’s planted 12 acres of cider trees on his Liberty Farm in Halstock, which will be used as a demonstration of the RSPB’s ten-point Give Nature a Home campaign.

He’s already raised thousands but won’t quit until he’s reached his £10,000 target. Donations can still be made on his justgiving page and his tour blog is on the libertyfarm.co.uk website.

Peter got sponsorship from the Organic Milk Suppliers Co-op and he and Martin made a point of drinking a pint of milk after each stage.

Peter said: “There’s really good scientific evidence from Lough-bourough University of how good milk is for you. They gave athletes isotonic drinks, water or milk after exercise.

“Believe it or not milk was the best for you.”

The duo also got support from the cricket team at The Fox Inn at Corscombe, who helped with the back-up team.

He said deciding to go just before the official race was a double blessing – from the route marking and the crowds.

“On the major stages people who want to support the tour have to get there at least 24 hours before to get a pitch.

“So the mountains are absolutely covered in camper vans, tents, people having parties and when you are grovelling up the mountains and it is really tough every ten yards there is someone else cheering you on, which was fantastic.

“If we’d done it a week before and there were just a few sheep and cows up there it wouldn’t have been quite the same.”

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