Corporate Ambassador, Mark Beaumont completes eighty-day challenge achieving two Guinness World Records titles

Ultra-endurance athlete shatters cycling world record by forty-three days

Mark Beaumont completes eighty-day challenge achieving two Guinness World Records titles

Ultra-endurance athlete  Mark Beaumont has set a new Guinness World Records title, taking one third off the current record (123 days) for the Fastest circumnavigation by bicycle, completing the challenge in just 80 days on the Artemis World Cycle.

Our Corporate Ambassador completed the 18,000-mile cycling challenge at Arc de Triomphe in Paris, where his journey began on July 2nd. Mark was also awarded the Guinness World Records title for Most Miles Cycled in a Month from Paris to Perth in Australia, verified at 7,031 miles (11,315km). Commenting on the achievement Beaumont said:

“This was a fantastic milestone to achieve during the challenge of getting around the world in eighty days I hope it is used as a marker for other cyclists to go and smash in the near future.”

Cycling for 16 hours per day (240 miles) Beaumont has travelled through 16 countries throughout his four-stage challenge. The first stage saw him travel through Europe to Russia and Mongolia, culminating in Beijing.

Beaumont’s second phase through Australia and New Zealand led him into stage three starting at Anchorage cycling through to Halifax, flying back over the pond to begin the final stage in Lisbon and back up to Paris.

Over the course of the 80 days, Beaumont has faced numerous physical and mental challenges, including a fall on day nine which could have ended the whole expedition. Pedalling through Australia and New Zealand during the winter season meant Beaumont was continually exposed to sub-zero temperatures, making time on the bike even more gruelling.

As Mark cycled through Canada and USA, he was faced with the prospect of weathering secondary storms of Hurricane Irma as he travelled east towards Halifax to complete stage three. But despite all of these trials, Beaumont completed the momentous challenge on schedule.

On completing the expedition, the double Guinness World Records title holder commented: “This has been, without doubt, the most punishing challenge I have ever put my body and mind through. The physical and mental stamina required for each day was a challenge in itself, but I had an amazing support team around me.

“The success of cycling around the world in 80 days shows that what seemed impossible is possible and has redefined the limits of endurance sport. Each stage brought different challenges including different climates, which I had to adjust to quickly. Stage one through Russia and Mongolia was unknown territory, so to complete this phase and come out with a second Guinness World Records title is a real achievement.

“I am very grateful for the support I’ve received from people all over the world, from fellow cyclists joining me on the road to messages and wishes online. The experience has been incredible, and I’m excited to share this journey for years to come.”

Craig Glenday, Editor-in-Chief at Guinness World Records added: “Mark has once again proved himself to be Officially Amazing! He’s added not one but two world-beating achievements to his existing record for Fastest bicycle journey from Cairo to Cape Town. Beating this iconic circumnavigation record places Mark into an elite category of multiple record holders and firmly establishes him as one of the most dedicated and determined Guinness World Records title holders.”

We are delighted for Mark – an inspiration to us all.  His physical and mental strength is outstanding and this is a superb example of great teamwork.  We are all looking forward to catching up with him when he’s back at Bruce Stevenson HQ. 

FareShare Corporate Challenge Days – Edinburgh

At the start of September, the team from our Edinburgh and Borders offices spent the day at the Fare Share Edinburgh depot.  FareShare is Bruce Stevenson’s chosen charity for 2017 and the idea was to spend the day helping them out with jobs that they often don’t get the chance to get round to.

Both days were action packed! Everyone mucked in by cleaning (fridges, bins, vans, distribution boxes), gardening & landscaping, sorting food deliveries, recycling tea bags and much more. Whilst there, our teams had the opportunity to learn about the challenges which FareShare faces when sourcing, organising and distributing food in Edinburgh. It was great to speak to the many volunteers who work within the depot, all of whom had stories to tell about how the organisation has helped them.

Currently, the Edinburgh depot is being expanded to include kitchens. These areas will be used to teach the basics of nutrition and cooking to those who have received food and want to learn how to prepare and cook it. FareShare highlighted that this project, amongst several others, is key to tackling hunger and food waste in the future.

Later in the month, staff from our Glasgow office will be taking volunteering at the FareShare depot in the West.

Gap Insurance – Are you covered?

September is one of the busiest months of the year for the UK motor industry with the launch of the new registration plate

Jackson Lee* has advised that in September 2016, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, 469,696 new cars were registered.  Similar numbers are expected this year with around 80% of new cars being purchased on finance.

What is GAP insurance and why do I need it??

If your vehicle is stolen or written off due to an accident it is likely that your motor insurer will only pay the current market value for your vehicle.  This amount could be less than what you originally paid for your vehicle or even less than what you still owe on finance.  With 70% of consumers leasing and financing vehicles this is a financial risk many consumers face.  Universal GAP insurance is designed to protect you against this financial shortfall.

My motor insurance policy offers a new replacement vehicle whilst in its first year of registration. You may not be eligible for a new replacement vehicle if:

  • Your vehicle is pre-registered, i.e. new to you but has already been registered to the dealer to reduce VAT
  • Your vehicle has exceeded a certain mileage
  • You are not the owner/registered keeper of the vehicle. Consider lease agreements.
  • If current production is no longer available. Often insurers will then revert to the market value which will be significantly lower than their obligation under replacement vehicle cover.

Why should I buy GAP cover from a broker?

  • You are charged 12% insurance premium tax (IPT) opposed to 20% through a motor dealer
  • No need to cancel your GAP policy if you change your vehicle and you can change your vehicle as many times as you wish
  • In the event of a claim, Jackson Lee will assist you with verifying the value of your motor insurers claim settlement
  • No more paying for cover you don’t use. The product is annually renewable should you choose, eradicating the need to pay a lump sum upfront for a 3 year policy and runs in line with your current motor insurance
  • You are covered no matter how and when the vehicle is purchased. Motor dealers will only sell GAP at the point of sale and customers generally cannot return several months later to purchase GAP.
  • You are covered for the £250 excess in the event of a fault claim
  • Competitive pricing across all car makes, models and derivatives – available for new or used vehicles.
  • Just 3 policy exclusions and only 2 ½ pages of policy wording

You can now purchase GAP insurance for your vehicles from us at Bruce Stevenson.  Please contact your account handler or call us on 0131 553 2293 | email [email protected].

Underwritten by Jackson Lee Underwriting who have been accredited as the BIBA Approved Scheme provider for GAP since 2012.


Hat-trick of new product launches will be the toast of Spirit of Speyside: Distilled

A mini-festival celebrating Speyside’s food and drink will play host to a hat-trick of new product launches, underlining the innovation and ingenuity of the region’s producers. Visitors to Spirit of Speyside: Distilled, sponsored by Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers, will be among the first to sample two new gins and a collaboration between a small craft brewery and one of the world’s best-selling single malts.

Tickets for Spirit of Speyside: Distilled, which will be set up in Elgin Town Hall on Friday 1st and Saturday 2nd September, have been selling at a brisk pace. Over 30 exhibitors showcasing spirits, beer and food will be attending, along with food and drink venues serving their own special cocktails and Speyside snacks.

Whisky insurance

Avva Scottish Gin will be taking the wraps off its new limited edition expression, which has been created to celebrate Spirit of Speyside: Distilled. The locally produced gin, which is also bottled in Elgin, will be available to buy in very small quantities. Distiller Jill Brown, who launched the Avva brand last year, will also be telling the story of her products at one of the festival masterclasses.

Husband and wife team Sylvi and Bob Duncan will be giving the gin-loving public a chance to taste Duncan’s Gin – a product so new that their own grown-up children have not even had the chance to sample it yet.

The couple have put the Speyside region at the very heart of their product – it contains Highland juniper and five other local botanicals which they foraged. The result is a gin which, they say, reflects the very essence and flavours of the Speyside landscape through its freshness and simplicity.

Spirit of Speyside: Distilled will also be used as a platform to showcase a new experimental IPA – an incredible collaboration between the Speyside Craft Brewery and Glenfiddich Distillery, which is one of the top-selling malts in the world.

Glenfiddich IPA Finish is being launched later this autumn, but those who go along to the festival will have an exclusive opportunity to taste it before it goes to market.

Spirit of Speyside: Distilled is a sister event of the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, which has been running for almost 20 years. Organisers see it as an opportunity to highlight the region’s world-class food and drink producers, in addition to whisky distillers.

Event chairman James Campbell says, “We are honoured that we will have three different product launches taking place over the two days of Spirit of Speyside: Distilled. I think this underlines that the producers already see this event as a very important one in terms of the profile it brings, which is very encouraging given that this is only its second year.

“The producers are genuinely interested to learn what Spirit of Speyside: Distilled visitors have to say about their products. Many of them are very passionate and knowledgeable about food and drink, while others simply enjoy it for what it is – either way they are the people who go out and buy these products so it’s important to get feedback from them.

“Tickets have been selling online very quickly in these last few days leading up to the event, but we will be holding some tickets back to sell on the door. We don’t want anyone to miss out on this fantastic opportunity to sample Speyside’s food and drink and to meet the people at the very heart of the industry.”

Distilled is sponsored by Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers and will run for four different sessions, one from 1-5pm and one from 6-10pm on Friday and Saturday. Tickets are priced at £20 which includes entry, six vouchers for tasting samples of gin, whisky or beer, a lanyard and a Glencairn crystal nosing and tasting glass.

For more information and to book tickets in advance, visit Distilled is active on social media at on Twitter and Instagram @distilledscot. Follow the festival at #distilled17

Farming Insights – Harvest

It is safe to say it’s been a challenging season.  The mild winter resulted in little frost to kill off any malingering weeds and bugs. This was followed by a fantastically warm and dry spring and talk of an early harvest. However the 6 week drought impacted on the spring sown crops as well as the straw required for autumn livestock bedding.

As we headed into Agricultural Show season we faced rain and thunder storms. There was rain on St Swithin’s Day and true to form so far we have had the 40 days of rain that this predicts.

There is a saying that “Harvest will be when Harvest is”. The theory is that Mother Nature knows when we should be harvesting our crops for the autumn. In the 10 years I have been directly involved with day to day farming, the date that we start our spring crop harvest each year, has only varied by 7 -10 days – albeit that the silage crop start and finish date has fluctuated more with the changing weather and resultant grass quality and quantity.

Crops this year are, so far, looking reasonable. Those who were early with their sowing do not appear universally to have secured a premium yield, as the dry spell in the early spring resulted in slow germination in some locations – especially in sandy soils. Those who were later in sowing their crops appear to have attained higher yield and straw length than was previously predicted.

By the end of July AHDB reports that 50% of Winter Barley had been harvested alongside 27% of Winter Oil Seed Rape in Scotland. They further report that *“The better yields [9.5 t/ha] are tending to come from heavier soil types, whilst on lighter land, yields as low as 5.5 t/ha have been reported for the more water stressed crops”.

The AHDB Supply and Demand report ** noted at the end of July that the UK is forecast to be a net importer of wheat in 2016/17 and enters the new marketing season with a relatively lower level of stocks. They also forecast that Barley exports set to fall by 50% year on year, to the lowest level since 2012/13.  In addition the increase in Biofuel demand has increased the consumption of domestic maize this season.

However the annual steady increase in the demand for milling oats has continued.

What does this mean to the individual farmer? The lower stock of wheat being retained from last year means there may be a higher demand for purchase of wheat. This could affect the trading price in a positive direction, for those not already in contract. Those who are in contract, may see more leniency in terms of acceptability limits if the market price rises higher than the contracted premium per tonne.

Malting Barley export reductions possibly reflect the increased domestic demand for brewing and distilling and the call for “Scottish” ingredients for their geographically sensitive products.



The continued interest in renewable energy in the form of Anaerobic Digesters and Biomass/Biogas plants is resulting in higher use of maize and silage, rather than it being used in food production.

The Milling Oats Market seems still buoyant.  There are several types of interested purchasers for various manufacturing products and thus most quality standards of oats are being sold or contracted for purchase later in the season.

And once harvest is complete, the rush is on to prepare the land ready for the next crops to be sown – and so the cycle continues.


ADHB (Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board)

Platinum Sponsors of Spirit of Speyside: Distilled


Leading insurance brokers confirmed as headline sponsor for Spirit of Speyside: Distilled

One of Scotland’s largest insurance brokers Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers is getting into the spirit of Speyside as the headline sponsor of Spirit of Speyside: Distilled – an innovative event bringing together a blend of the region’s best food and drink producers next month.

Niche producers such as Simpson’s Ice Cream, Berry Good Gin, rum distillers Beach Craft Spirits, Spey Valley Brewery and chocolates from Favour-it Flavours will set up alongside globally renowned brands including Baxters, The Glenlivet, Walkers Shortbread and The Macallan for the two-day event.

Spirit of Speyside: Distilled, which is staged in Elgin Town Hall on September 1 and 2, is an off-shoot of the popular annual Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival. Now in its second year, Distilled, sponsored once again by Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers, aims to showcase the region as a true foodie paradise offering so much more than whisky.

Bruce Stevenson is Scotland’s second largest insurance broker with offices in Glasgow, Edinburgh, the North East and Scottish Borders.  The Firm, which opened in 1981, provides first class insurance broking and specialist risk management services for both private clients as well as businesses.

Graeme Dempster, Account Executive from Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers, said: “The Spirit of Speyside; Distilled event is a great fit for our brand. The food and drink sector is specialist when it comes to its insurance requirements and one which we actively support, in particular distilleries, manufacture and production, with policies offering tailored protection and enhanced cover. Last year was a superb event with a plethora of visitors and producers represented.  This year’s event looks set to be even bigger than before with new exhibitors as well as all those companies who attended last year.”

Festival chairman James Campbell highlighted that the fact that Distilled blends together household names with small one-man operations proved to be a real talking point at last year’s inaugural event, and organisers are delighted to introduce new exhibitors this year.  He said: “It is only when so many food and drink producers are gathered together under one roof that people really begin to realise how many fantastic companies we have operating right here on our own doorstep.

“The feedback we got from visitors last year was that they really enjoyed being able to wander around, sampling cocktails, gin, whisky and beer and getting a taste of the food that has also put Speyside on the map.

“And, of course, it is a great opportunity for them to come face to face with the people who are critical to our food and drink industry – the master distillers, distillery managers and innovators – which is also a hallmark of the main Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival.”

Bruce Stevenson Sponsorship Spirit of Speyside

As well as producers, visitors to the event will be able to enjoy the products served up by some of Speyside’s best bars and eateries. The Copper Dog – part of the Craigellachie Hotel – will be re-created in the hall’s Supper Room and will have cocktails flowing, live music and food.  The Station Hotel, Rothes, will have a team of mixologists on hand to pour its signature range of whisky and gin cocktails – including the specially created ‘Distilled’ in honour of the event – while Elgin-based bar The Drouthy Cobbler will be giving visitors a taste of what it provides along with some Speyside-themed street food.

And – showing that Speyside is not all about hills and glens – the team at Harbour Lights in the coastal town of Lossiemouth will be showing off local seafood by serving up smoked salmon canapes and other treats.

In addition to the wide number of exhibitors, there is a programme of masterclasses giving visitors the chance to enjoy rare and cask strength drams, learn how to pair food, and discover more about Speyside’s other drinks producers. Tickets for masterclasses must be bought in addition to entry tickets.

Distilled will run for four different sessions, one from 1-5pm and one from 6-10pm on each day. Tickets are priced at £20 which includes entry, six vouchers for tasting samples of gin, whisky or beer, a lanyard and a Glencairn crystal nosing and tasting glass.

All whisky, gin, beer and foods on offer will have a Speyside provenance and there will be the chance to purchase products from stand holders. Festival merchandise will also be available to buy.

For more information and to book tickets, visit Distilled is active on social media at on Twitter and Instagram @distilledscot. Follow the festival at #distilled17 or visit

Corporate Ambassador Mark Beaumont reaches half way stage of Artemis World Cycle

British cyclist on course for eighty day world record

Ultra-endurance athlete on track to reach half way stage of Artemis World Cycle

Tuesday 8thAugust. Our Corporate Ambassador, Mark Beaumont is on track to complete the first nine thousand miles of his world record breaking attempt to cycle around the globe in eighty days on schedule.

Following his departure from Paris in July, the cyclist has spent 16 hours each day on the bike (cycling 240 miles) and has travelled through more than ten countries to reach the half way stage of his 18,000-mile challenge during which he has consumed over 300,000 calories for energy.

Beaumont cycled from Paris through Germany, Poland, Russia and Mongolia (over 6,500 miles) to complete stage one in Beijing.  He is currently over 2,000 miles into his second stage through Australia which will also take him the length of New Zealand to finish stage two in Auckland.

Mark has faced tough challenges throughout, falling from his bike on day nine which almost ended the expedition. Beaumont hit a pot-hole and fell over his handlebars resulting in the loss of a quarter of one tooth as well as obtaining an injury to his left elbow. Commenting on the fall, Mark said: “I thought I had lost my front teeth, and done a lot more damage than I had.

“I didn’t know how serious it was for the first couple of minutes. It was sensitive, and would have got worse so we had to put a temporary filling on it. The fall could have ended the whole expedition, so I got away lucky.”

Despite the incident, Beaumont carried on cycling, battling head winds and hill climbs to complete 230 miles from New Annino to Lavrovka. A Chinese border delay in the final phase of stage one saw Beaumont and his team catch their flight to Perth with seconds to spare, and a speedy start to the second leg with Mark on his bike within 30 minutes of touching down in Australia.

Beaumont continued: “It’s a huge relief and achievement to be at the half way point. The impact of riding 240 miles per day is a test of physical and mental strength. Weather conditions and logistics are also daily challenges, as well as coping with continually changing time zones.

“I’m having to draw on all of my experience as an endurance athlete, but through all of the trials, I am loving every minute of it. It’s been an amazing experience cycling through the first ten countries and being exposed to different cultures. I am especially pleased about completing stage one, as it was unknown territory, and I’m enjoying being back on familiar roads through Australia.”

After completing stage two, Beaumont will fly to Anchorage and cycle to Halifax for stage three, beginning the final leg in Lisbon and is anticipated to be back in Paris by Thursday 21st September.

The Artemis World Cycle has partnered with Twinkl to create lesson plans and educational material for primary schools across the globe.  Mark also aims to raise £10 for every mile cycled, a total of £180,000 for Orkidstudio, a humanitarian architectural charity which he has worked with for the last decade.  Sponsorship can be by texting ‘ORKD80 £10’ to 70070 or online at

Keep track of Mark’s progress via the website and social media channels which will be regularly updated as the journey progresses.

Farming Insights – August 2017

What a difference a year makes! This time last year we were looking at one of the wettest summers and very difficult conditions in the run-up to harvest. In addition we had to contend with the uncertainty caused by Brexit and the weakened pound.

12 months on and although there has been occasional flooding and very heavy downpours the weather has been much better in the North East. Other areas in Scotland have had too much of a good thing and crops have been stunted due to drought conditions. This could potentially lead to a shortage of straw post-harvest and lower yields being recorded.

Farming Update Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers

The Brexit issue is still rumbling on and although there has been a promise of Support payments post Brexit, it is not known what these will look like. In addition there is still no solution to the problem with the system for processing applications or indeed whether subsidy payments will be made on time to all farmers.

The supply of labour from the EU is now under threat with no guarantee that EU workers will return after Britain leaves the EU. The number of foreign workers coming into the UK for seasonal agricultural work has already reduced due to improved working conditions in their home country and the impact of the UK exchange rate on their income.

The ban on Glycosphate was postponed in 2016 and is due to be decided upon in December this year. In the meantime Syngenta, along with other organisations, have instigated independent testing as to the impact of nicotinoids on the bee population in UK & EU. The results of 3 years of testing are still being analysed but it is looking likely that the ban will come into effect with no viable alternative available.

Recent arable crop trials have resulted in a few new varieties now being licensed. Potentially this gives farmers more choice and allows them to find the product most suitable for their growing plan for the coming year. However, it still requires co-operation from the maltsters in sourcing competitive markets for these.

The red meat market is still looking strong, with exports playing their part and the pig market is also looking positive in Scotland, with profits being recorded in both sectors.

If the crop harvest can be filled with heavy yields and buoyant premiums then hopefully farmers will feel more positive about the industry.

Scottish Disability Golf Partnership Annual Golf Competition

We are delighted to once again be supporting the Scottish Disability Golf Partnership. On Thursday 6th July, we attended the annual competition held by the SDGP at Ralston Golf and Country Club. This year marked the fifth year of the SDGP visiting the club and playing alongside members and sponsors in a fun competition on this challenging course. Whilst the weather may not have been on top form, the players most certainly were.

Bruce Stevenson Supporting Scottish Disability Golf Partnership

Jim Gales, Billy Cairns, Andrew Adam.

The winning team were, Brian Pandreth of Paisley, Mike Brady of St Andrews and Jim Gales of Springfield, with 113 points. Members of the SDGP were competing for the second year running, for the Lynne Margaret Cairns Memorial Shield.  Lynne was a much loved employee of Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers for many years until her sad passing. Her husband, Billy Cairns, introduced the trophy in Lynne’s name in 2015.  This year the winner of Lynne Cairns Memorial Shield was Jim Gales. Congratulations to Jim on winning this special shield.

We thoroughly enjoyed the event and look forward to playing with the members again next year.

Mark Beaumont Follows Phileas Fogg in World Record Attempt

Mark Beaumont sets off to circumnavigate the globe in just 80 days                                                               

Ultra-endurance athlete, and an ambassador for Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers, Mark Beaumont has today (Sunday 2nd July) set off on his record breaking attempt to cycle around the world in just 80 days. In 2008 Mark successfully cycled around the world in 194 days, this time he will attempt to do it in less than half the time.

Inspired by Jules Verne’s classic adventure novel Around the World in Eighty days published in 1873, Mark will attempt to circumnavigate the globe over 144 years later by bicycle rather than balloon as he embarks on the Artemis World Cycle.

Mark Beaumont Corporate Ambassador Bruce Stevenson

Mark departed from Paris at 04:00 this morning, making his way towards Poland en route to Beijing through Lithuania, Russia, and Mongolia before cycling between Perth and Brisbane in Australia.

In New Zealand Mark will head for Invercargill and Auckland with the fourth leg of his challenge taking him between Anchorage in the United States and Halifax in Canada. He will attempt to complete his journey by cycling from Lisbon back to Paris with the aim of arriving by Thursday 21st September.

Mark comments: “This is my chance to shoot for the stars and take on the ultimate endurance cycling challenge. Since I last pedalled around the world nearly ten years ago, there has been a growing desire in me to push the boundaries of what is possible and to retake the circumnavigation World Record at a whole new level. I know what I’m getting myself in to, this will be the toughest challenge of my life and will be an immense physical, mental and logistical battle before I reach the finish line.

“I have spent the last three years creating an amazing support team, who are in charge of my nutrition, logistics, navigation and safety, allowing me to purely focus on my performance and being an athlete. I don’t think anyone has ever tried to go this fast and this far before and I have been building on my experience as an endurance rider over two decades to prepare for this journey”.

Edward Bruce, CEO of Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers, said: “It’s an incredible journey and tremendous feat that awaits Mark and on behalf of all of the team at Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers, we wish him well with and will be cheering him on with his world record attempt.  His spirit and determination knows no bounds and we have no doubt he’ll break this record.”

In the run up to his world record attempt, Mark completed a 3,300 mile training route around the British coastline in April, setting the pace for his bid to break the around the world record. To successfully complete the challenge, he will be required to cycle for 16 hours a day, which is 240 miles for 75 days.  The remaining five days allow for two days contingency and flight time.  He also led a 30-strong team from Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers on a 56 mile charity cycling challenge through the Scottish Borders in early June.

The Artemis World Cycle has partnered with Twinkl to create lesson plans and educational material for primary schools across the globe.  Mark also aims to raise £10 for every mile cycled, a total of £180,000 for Orkidstudio, a humanitarian architectural charity which he has worked with for the last decade.  Sponsorship can be by texting ‘ORKD80 £10’ to 70070 or online at

Beaumont has secured international corporate sponsorship from brands including Artemis Investment Management, LDC, Cardtronics, Koga, Altura, Panaracer, VisitScotland, Menzies Aviation, Hiscox/Bikmo, 80 DAYS Digital, Muckle Media, and Thorntons Law LLP.

Keep track of Mark’s progress via the website and social media channels which will be regularly updated as the journey progresses.