Sophie's cycle starts


Everything stops for tea, even on a Diamond Challenge cycle ride. The Countess of Wessex refuels on her bike marathon for the Duke of Edinburgh Award
(photo Royal Family Twitter)

One day down, six to go. The Countess of Wessex has begun her epic cycle ride from Edinburgh to London and packed plenty into the beginning of a trip that will take her 436 miles to complete. Sophie smiled through the pain, dodged the rain and even found time for cake as she started her Diamond Challenge to celebrate sixty years of the Duke of Edinburgh Award.






The Countess of Wessex announced in May that she would be taking on this pretty tough challenge to help mark the DofE Award's big birthday.  Her route will take her from Holyroodhouse in the Scottish capital to Buckingham Palace in London - she is set to arrive on Sunday.







Sophie got a send off from the man who started the Duke of Edinburgh Award - her father-in-law, Prince Philip. Along with her husband. the Earl of Wessex, he was on hand to cheer Sophie and her team mates as they began their big cycle.




The Diamond Challenge has been running throughout this celebratory year and encourages people to do something that really stretches them. Announcing her cycle ride, the Countess of Wessex said she was excited and nervous but hoped she would help raise awareness of the Duke of Edinburgh scheme, adding it often didn't get the recognition it deserved.




There's little chance of it being ignored over the coming week as Sophie and her team mates, who have been in training for five months, make their way through Scotland and England. Sophie received numerous good luck messages before starting her challenge which today took her into Northumberland as she covered over 70 miles on day one.




One day down, six to go but Sophie has started in style and won a lot more fans into the bargain. The Countess of Wessex has this Diamond Challenge in the bag.

You can catch up with all of the Countess of Wessex's cycle ride on the special page here and read about the Duke of Edinburgh Diamond Challenge here.

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