Close-up of National Grid's David Welling on his bike wearing a helmet

London to Glasgow cycle challenge

Highlighting net zero work across the UK

National Grid’s David Welling will be cycling from London to the COP26 global summit in Glasgow; a route that will take 7 days, cover more than 1,000km and visit 10 sites of projects working towards net zero – while also raising money for charity.

“I’m the crazy person who is cycling to Glasgow in October,” jokes David, who works in Data Centre Network & Security. “I felt COP26 was a great chance to show how we’re helping the UK on the road to net zero and to highlight the amazing work underway across our network.”

David estimates he’ll spend at least 46 hours in the saddle and plans to arrive in the city on 30 October as world leaders gather for COP26, which starts on 1 November.

“I had the idea of travelling up to Glasgow in an environmentally friendly way and telling the stories of our teams as I went,” David continues. “I’m a keen cyclist and getting there on my bike seemed the cleanest means; so I started to explore a possible route and reach out to colleagues to find out what part they were playing in our net zero journey.”

The road to COP26 – the National Grid ‘net zero’ sites David will visit en route to Glasgow

Day 1: Monday 25 October

  • David kicks off his cycle from National Grid’s offices at the Strand in London.

  • Stop 1: London Power Tunnels – the £1 billion flagship project to make sure electricity reaches homes and businesses in London safely, reliably and efficiently into the future.

  • Stop 2: National Grid ESO’s National Control Centre, Wokingham.

Day 2: Tuesday 26 October

  • Stop 3: National Grid House, Warwick our UK headquarters.

  • Stop 4: Western Power Distribution, Tipton – the electricity distribution network operator for the Midlands, South Wales and the South West.

Day 3: Wednesday 27 October

  • Stop 5: Capenhurst Substation, Cheshire the site of Europe's largest grid-connected battery.

Day 4: Thursday 28 October

  • Stop 6: Peak District Visual Impact Provision, Dunford Bridge – where seven pylons and 1.5km of overhead electricity line has been removed as part of National Grid’s Visual Impact Provision (VIP) project.

  • Stop 7: Skelton Grange Environment Centre – developed in collaboration with environmental charities, education centres like Skelton Grange show how nature and communities can thrive alongside critical national infrastructure.

Day 5: Friday 29 October

  • Stop 8: SmartValveTM substation, Saltholme one of three UK substations where new SmartValveTM technology is unlocking 1.5 gigawatts of electric capacity; enough to power 1 million homes with renewable energy.

  • Stop 9: North Sea Link interconnector, Blyth where our 720km long interconnector connects the UK and Norway to share clean energy via the world’s longest subsea cable.

Day 6: Saturday 30 October

  • Stop 10: FutureGrid hydrogen testing facility, Spadeadam a project to test how we might safely introduce hydrogen into our gas network.

Day 7: Sunday 31 October

  • David arrives at COP26, Glasgow


Cycling for Charity: Raising funds for The Conservation Volunteers

Inspired by the UK’s target of achieving net zero by 2050, David aims to raise at least £2,050 in sponsorship money for The Conservation Volunteers (TCV); a charity National Grid has supported for almost 30 years.

TCV brings people together to create, improve and care for green spaces. From local parks and community gardens to nature reserves and sites of special scientific interest; from school and hospital grounds to waterways, wetlands and woodlands; the charity connects people to the green spaces that form a vital part of any healthy, happy community.

Want to sponsor David and follow his progress?

Help David smash his £2,050 target by visiting the National Grid fundraising page. The deadline for donations is 30 November 2021.

You can also follow David’s progress on our Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram channels, where we’ll share regular updates and stories of the ‘Net zero to Glasgow’ cycle challenge.