Two Scottish brothers will set off this week on a 3,635-mile journey to the Hajj pilgrimage by bike.

The journey of Abdul Rahman, 34 and Reehan Ali, 29 from Bonnyrigg, Midlothian, will take them through 13 countries including Netherlands, Germany, Bulgaria, Turkey and Lebanon. They intend to arrive in Mecca, Saudi Arabia on June 1.

They were inspired to take on this challenge after learning about a group of cyclists who embarked on a similar journey from London in 2019.

They are due to depart on Monday (April 1).

Abdul said: “What inspired me to take on this journey, was when around five years ago I had seen a group of lads from London who had embarked on their pilgrimage to Hajj by cycle.

"This really got me thinking what an awesome way to go to Hajj, it also had me questioning whether I had the ability to do that too. That thought set us up to start planning a similar journey for Hajj.

"As our Hajj plans were developing, we were witnessing the horrors unfolding in Gaza, with the daily news of how the Palestinians were suffering as a result of the daily attacks on Gaza.

"Since we had volunteered with World Care Foundation and were aware of the great work they were doing, we decided to use our journey to fundraise for the people of Gaza through World Care Foundation."

Having agreed to take on the challenge, both brothers set about on a fitness regime to get into shape for their journey of a lifetime. 

As they began their preparations, war broke out in Gaza. Both siblings approached Edinburgh-based charity World Care Foundation, and agreed to use their cycle challenge to raise funds for those impacted by the conflict.   

The cyclists will be departing on their journey from Bonnyrigg Mosque and will be publicising the challenge through their social media channels with regular updates of their journey.

Reehan added: "Having sat down to plan the trip, we decided that we would make this journey as unforgettable as the Hajj itself would be. Journeying by bike to Hajj would make us even more appreciative of reaching the Holy Land.

"We also felt that traveling by bike would also make the journey feel much closer to the traditional way of travel that people would use in the past when going to perform Hajj.

"We wanted to experience the days when people travelled either on horseback or camelback or travelling in caravans, before the advent of flight made the journey much easier."

The Hajj pilgrimage is the fifth pillar of Islam, and Muslims who can afford to do so and are physically capable are required to undertake the journey to Mecca at least once in their life.

For more about the cyclists and the challenge you can click here