Tuesday, January 17, 2017


Muriel Thomson

She is one of the best female amateur and professional golfers to come out of Scotland at large and the North-east in particular, but Aberdeen-based Muriel Thomson has not hit a ball since she retired as Portlethen Golf Club professional in 2015.

Cycling is the name of her game these days. Last year she made it on two wheels, on her own, from Land's End to John O'Groats and next month she is off on an epic cycle trip from Bangkok, Thailand to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) in Vietnam.

Miss Thomson, born one of triplets, has also been raising funds for an orphanage in India at Chennai (formerly Madras) for over a decade.

"I'm joining a group from Explore UK of about 12 people for the Bangkok-Thailand cycling trip from February 18 to March 4. 'm going to the orphanage for one month, then joining the trip before returning to the orphanage for 10 days before coming home," said Muriel who deserves some sort of gong for her charity work.

"The St Joseph Centre is in the south of India. I first visited it in 2006 and have been raising funds for the last 11 years. It's been an awesome experience to have been able to go back there each year; to have seen the children grow up and to have seen how their health, welfare and education has benefited from the project has been amazing.

"It's not really an epic cycle that I'm doing in the Far East. It's merely a cycle/sightseeing trip from Bangkok to Saigon taking in Thailand/Cambodia and Vietnam. We are only cycling around 40 miles a day as we are sightseeing as well as driving part of the way."

Muriel does not miss the game of golf which was central to her sporting instincts for so many years.

"I haven't hit a golf shot since I retired on December 31, 2015 and at the moment I don't think I will play again. I don't want to go out and not play to a decent standard and that would mean I'd have to the range to hit balls – a thing I have done all my life but no longer have a desire to do. It's very difficult to go from playing golf for so many years with always a goal of some sort in mind to then just playing for fun."

Muriel rates her Land's End to John O'Groats solo cycle as one of the best things she has ever done."

"I spent around a year planning a route for the 1,200 miles (total ascent 66,281ft) which woould take me along quiet back roads, canal paths and cycle tracks in order to avoid the busy roads and I also wanted to zig zag my way a little to enable me to catch up with some old friends along the way and see some sights I'd wanted to visit in the UK.

"I never planned it as merely a cycle so I took my time did it over about three weeks, averaging 55-60 miles a day carrying my own gear. It was a fabulous experience, the good, the bad and the ugly bits too. It was one of the best things I've done in life – a great sense of achievement when I reached the end to have planned it on my own and completed it on my own too."