A few weeks ago, Martyn Headley and I rode the route of the legendary Fred Whitton Challenge. The 120-mile brutal sportive takes in almost every steep hill in the Lake District. 


Described as ‘the toughest cycling event in the UK’, ‘the Fred’ includes Kirkstone pass, Honister, Newlands, Wrynose, Hardknott and more! You can tick off more than your fair share of Simon Warren’s 100 climbs in the 1-day tour. 


I say, "Martyn and I" - technically it's not true. He did it a week after me, on a much nicer day. I did it when hurricane Laura was burning herself out on the West Coast. The tail end of the storm made for some ‘interesting’ gusts coming in from Sellafield as I edged my way over Cold Fell. 


The two of us caught up on teams a few weeks after the madness and had a chat about cycling, engineering and the world. 


Martyn became CEO of Clancy Consulting in 2019. The team were celebrating a great year of success when our friend COVID hit. Like many of us, Martyn was preparing for the ride to MIPIM and various other events which had to be canned thanks to the virus. Like all of us, he and the firm have had to adapt pretty fast to the new world we now live in. 


Clancy is one of those engineering firms that has been around for a long time, doing what they do well, without shouting too much about it. But when you examine the scale and scope of their work, it’s truly impressive. From arts centres in Manchester to commercial projects in the City of London, the portfolio is as broad as you can imagine. 


Martyn tells me one of his key objectives is to ‘contemporise’ the business a little as they head towards their 50th anniversary in 2022. Recent years (particularly this one) have seen plenty of change in the world of construction and engineering, and there’s no doubt in Martyn’s mind that’ll continue. Adapting and driving change are at the front of his mind as we head into the new year. 


He’s particularly excited about a ‘carbon capture’ project the firm has been working on with Tata Chemicals in Cheshire. Covering 40,000 sq feet, it will make a substantial contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the UK. This goes hand in hand with Clancy’s commitment to contribute to the zero-carbon agenda in both designs and operationally. 


Anyone who follows Martyn on LinkedIn can’t help but notice a striking commitment to both his team and to CSR. He organises an annual sportive for industry friends and colleagues in aid of Alzheimer’s (sadly, Martyn lost his mother, a long-term sufferer from the disease, earlier this year). Undeterred by the cancellation of a face to face event, the firm held a virtual cycling event this year. Martyn’s focus as CEO of Clancy is very much on ensuring the firm looks at the social value in everything it does both in work and out.  If you fancy a trip out to Derbyshire to join Martyn and the team for the event in May, get in touch with him. The more the merrier!


Based in the North West - Clancy’s original homeland, Martyn’s blessed with some of the finest riding territory on his doorstep. Quite apart from the nearby lake district, he has the Yorkshire Dales and the Forest of Bowland all within easy reach. 


This plethora of hills means that Martyn’s undoubtedly a lot fitter than me.  He confirms my suspicion when he tells me he rode the entirety of Hardknott pass. Something I’ve yet to achieve. If you’ve not been there yet, Hardknott is a monster of a climb, rated 10/10 by Simon Warren. It rises out of the Eskdale valley like a 393foot monolith, daring you to take it on. One day I’ll ride the entire thing in one go, but not this year! 


One of the great things about riding in the Lakes and the Dales is that you know they'll always be there. They were there when the Romans were in Britain, and they'll be there no matter what the world throws at us. And they'll always be an incredible place to cycle.


Stuart Wilks, Limeslade

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