UAE’s ambassador to UK finishes first leg of epic British bike tour

Mansoor Abulhoul was praised for his innovative approach to diplomacy

The UAE’s ambassador to the UK has completed the first leg of an epic cycling trip across the length of Britain, from the far north of Scotland to the south-western reaches of England.

Mansoor Abulhoul, who in July became the UAE’s ambassador to London, travelled 270 kilometres from John O’Groats through the rugged Scottish Highlands to the city of Inverness in three days.

Mr Abulhoul met local people on the way to learn more about the UK and its links with Abu Dhabi at the start of his posting.

The ambassador, whose mother is from the UK and father is from Dubai, kept social media followers up to date with his journey and was praised by past and present diplomats for his innovative approach.

Just before taking off from John O’Groats, he tweeted: “Me and my trusty bike, now on our way. Wonderful to be back in stunning Scottish countryside that I knew as a teenager.

"I am aiming for Inverness then back to London for meetings - and then returning as soon as I can.”

On Emirati Women’s Day, August 28, he met John O’Groats' first female firefighter and cycled through the remote but beautiful Loch Fleet, a nature reserve.

Outside The Pier Cafe in Lairg he was greeted by ducks who appeared to be after the potatoes on which Mr Abulhoul snacks during his ride.

“I’ve finally reached Inverness. Really beautiful city," he tweeted.

"It was the third day riding. Really relieved to have arrived in one piece and had loads of fun along the way.

"I met some fabulous people and the Highlands really is a beautiful place.”

Mr Abulhoul was blessed with good weather along the way, apart from a strong headwind and rain on his final day.

“Really enjoying the sights of Inverness and glad to have completed the first leg of my tour around the UK," he said.

"It’s inspired me. I’m going to get to Land's End and meet lots of people and see lots of great places.

Tom Fletcher, the UK’s former ambassador to Lebanon, praised Mr Abulhoul.

“This is great," Mr Fletcher said. "A new ambassador cycling length of country as a way to meet people and understand how the UK works.

"Diplomacy has to do more to get outside embassies and ministries and connect."