ENVIRONMENTAL science graduate Micheil Gordon has arrived back in Stroud after completing a gruelling 9,780-mile charity bicycle ride from the UK to Hong Kong.

The 25-year-old cycling enthusiast undertook the nine-month journey with the aim of raising £30,000 for WaterAid, which works to improve access to safe water for some of the world’s poorest communities.

Micheil, who went to Wynstones School and lives in Stroud, was joined on the trip by his friend Jon Lee. The pair have already raised £18,250 – a figure that will provide a permanent source of clean water, sanitation and hygiene education for more than 1,200 people.

Before arriving at their final destination, the urban metropolis of Hong Kong, the duo had to contend with Turkey’s unforgiving mountain passes and endure the blistering heat of Turkmenistan’s deserts.

Their route also took them through France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Iran, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and China.

On his return home on Tuesday, November 22, Micheil was greeted at Stroud Railway Station by his jubilant mother Paula Gordon and Mayor John Marjoram.

The former Brighton University student described the trip as a "fantastic experience" and singled out Iran as one of his favourite stops along the way.

Conscious of the negative publicity the country has received from sections of the British media and keen to stress the country’s positive aspects Micheil said: "Iran was completely different to what you would imagine.

"The people there were some of the most amazingly hospitable and kind people that I have ever met.

"It was the only place that people would always pull over to the side of the road and offer us fruit and ask whether they could help in anyway."

As well as the highs Micheil also had to deal with plenty of lows, including knee injuries and sunstroke.

"At times we just wanted to curl up and surrender," he admitted.

For Micheil’s mother Paula, her son’s return stirred feelings not only of elation but also of relief. "I am so proud of him," she said.

"When I saw him step off the train I was a little bit emotional and I am just so glad he is back."

The pair are still raising funds and anyone wishing to donate should go to www.justgiving.com/hongkongcycle

A blog of their journey can also be read at www.hongkongcycle.co.uk