Former Young Farmer Pete Matheson travelled 8,000 miles around Europe in a vintage Massey Ferguson to raise money for two charities.
Retired policeman Peter, 51, set off with “Annie”, the 1974 Massey Ferguson 135, “Michelle” the 28ft caravan and Amber the faithful Labrador on Saturday 9 August.
He travelled from John o’Groats to Lands End via Essex, then to Denmark, Sweden and Norway before heading home via Finland, Germany and the Netherlands and returning to Essex, Lands End and John o’Groats. Covering 8,000 miles at 10mph took 24 weeks in total.
The journey was in aid of two charities – UNICEF and the Tom Bowdidge Foundation. The latter is a charitable trust that was set up in February 2014 after Tom passed away following a battle with cancer. Tom’s parents are friends of Peter’s from their days in Young Farmers together when they were members of Colchester YFC in Essex. “I have a son who is blessed with good health. I can’t imagine what my friends have and are still going through,” said Peter.
The ride was not without a few speed bumps of sorts along the way. Peter had 14 punctures in total and when he called in to see AGCO in Coventry, the head gasket on the tractor blew “on their doorstep,” said Peter. “They were magnificent. They took it straight in and repaired it. They’ve been wonderful the whole way through, like so many, sponsoring me and supporting me.”
While snow, ice and gales were part of the challenge, Peter said his low point was when temperatures plummeted to -20C and he got slight frostbite on his toes. “There was nothing I couldn’t handle though, and that’s when you know you’ve done the right thing,” he said. “The support I have had the whole way through has been quite astounding and very humbling, which helped when I went through some pretty isolated places and didn’t meet people every day.”
Peter’s favourite place along his route was northern Norway, where he said the people were incredibly friendly and welcoming.
Once he has regrouped, he plans to drive back to visit friends he made there, but in his Land Rover. He has already planned his next trip, however, and will be heading off on an Irish tractor bumble in June this year.
You can visit www.tractorbumble.com if you would like to make a donation in support of Peter’s expedition.
Or visit his Facebook page here: www.facebook.com/tractorbumble2014