Combine Challenge makes it to Lands End and tops £36,000

A team of farmers from the North West has become the first to drive a combine harvester from John O’Groats to Land’s End – and has raised thousands of pounds for charity in the process.

Merseyside grower Olly Harrison and his farming pals John Branson, James Baldini and Martin Williams completed the 955-mile journey in his Claas Lexion 8700 combine, arriving at Land’s End shortly before 9am on Thursday 8 June.

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The journey avoiding motorways took 49.5 engine hours and the combine used 1,593 litres of renewable hydrotreated vegetable oil as fuel.

In doing so, the Combine Challenge has so far raised more than £35,000 for two charities – mental health charity Mind, and Children with Cancer UK.


Mr Harrison said the team was motivated to do something big to raise awareness of mental health issues in agriculture and wider society after all four drivers lost close friends to suicide.

Their mantra is to encourage people to #answerasapercent when asked how they are doing, rather than just saying, “I’m fine”.

During the gruelling four-day challenge, Mr Harrison admitted to feeling “only 60%” at times due to tiredness brought on by lack of sleep. But he told Farmers Weekly that finishing the epic journey had left him feeling 100%.

“It’s been an unbelievable experience,” he said. “Many thousands of farmers and people came out to cheer us on the way.

“Some of the reaction and support we have received has been incredible.”

Asked what he had learned from the event, Mr Harrison joked: “That there are more traffic lights in a five-mile stretch in Preston than in the first couple of hundred miles of the journey through northern Scotland.”

He added: “The experience has brought people together and got more people talking about their mental health, which is our goal.

 “We have even had support from Chris Peckham who has endorsed our efforts on Twitter.”

Olly thanked all the farming companies and people who had kindly donated funds, as well as Claas UK for endorsing the challenge.

To donate, visit the Combine Challenge JustGiving page