TWO primary schools have aimed to embrace a healthy lifestyle and reduce their CO2 emissions by switching to human power to arrive in time for the morning bell.

Ysgol Borthyn, in Ruthin, and Ysgol Carreg Emlyn, which has two sites in Clocaenog and Cyffylliog, took to bicycles, scooters and walking as they took part in the Big Pedal 2019 between March 25 and April 5.

The initiative, organised by Sustrans, the sustainable transport charity that has created over 14,000 miles of cycle routes throughout the UK, encourages schools to compete against each other and register the most journeys each day, with prizes awarded to the winners.

About 746,000 pupils across the UK took part in the initiative, making a total of more than three million journeys.

Despite the wintry weather and hills surrounding Ruthin, many pupils and staff at the two Denbighshire schools got involved – and some parents too.

Eve Grant, key stage two teacher at Ysgol Borthyn, said: “The children have thoroughly enjoyed competing against other schools in the country. The Big Pedal competition has helped encourage the pupils, parents and staff to leave the cars at home and cycle, scoot or walk to school.

“This all helps to keep the children safe by lowering the number of cars around school at the start and end of the day.”

Einir Wynne Jones, Ysgol Carreg Emlyn headteacher, said: "The pupils recently had scooter lessons from the North Wales officer for Sustrans and we thought joining the Big Pedal would be a good follow on, to raise awareness of the benefits of travelling to school by bike, scooter or walking rather than by car.

"It is important to be kind to the environment, reduce pollution and keep healthy, however there are some quite dangerous backroads so pupils only took part if there was a safe option."

Gwen Thomas, Sustrans schools officer for North Wales, said: "It’s been great to see so much enthusiasm for active travel from the pupils, teachers and parents at Ysgol Borthyn and Ysgol Carreg Emlyn. Over the past few months I have been working with both schools in delivering bike and scooter training to help pupils travel healthily and safely to school.

"The Big Pedal is a fantastic challenge that encourages pupils to think differently about how they get to school and to show them that active travel is fun, healthy and good for the environment.

"Children don’t usually need a lot of persuasion to get on their bikes and scooters, but supportive staff, parents and guardians are vital and it’s been wonderful to work with such enthusiastic individuals.”