Sunday, 21 August 2011

Day Fourteen

So what's the big deal with John O'Groats anyway? Is it a big town? A tiny hamlet? Anything to do there? I really didn't know, but I was about to find out.
Our B&B accommodation was very comfortable. After finishing my blog I slept well. An early start was planned for the final leg, with a difficult journey back to Edinburgh there was no time for slip ups. The weather looked clear but not everything was perfect, still some uncertainty about poor Tom. Breakfast wasn't the usual 8 round the table. People slipped in briefly then back to their rooms. This was all understandable - it was early - bodies were aching - people needed to pack one final time.
40 miles lay ahead - this is still a decent length weekend ride for me, its not often i do more than that in a day, but it felt like nothing compared to how far we'd come. A quick glance at a map adorning the wall in the hall and it looked like we had an inch to go, compared to maybe the span of two hands that had already passed. The magnitude of our efforts was laid out before me - I was amazed that we'd made it here, proud of everyone. Just one inch to go!
The night before I'd told Andrew... 'I'm gonna do it. I'm going for the record. I can't resist'. There was a rather impressive hill immediately before our B&B. At this moment in time I was a lowly second in the Ultimate Downhill Racing Top Speed competition (which only existed in my head). I'd clocked 50.2 mph back in Dartmoor and never been able to surpass it. When you don't know the roads its a bit scary going full beans down a hill. There had been one or two opportunities - I'd hit high 40s plenty of times but only 50+ that once. Andrew had clocked 51 point something on a massively wind assisted downhill stretch somewhere in Scotland. This annoyed me greatly. On that particular hill i just cruised down, the cross winds could easily have picked me and Bianca up and dumped us in the middle of the road, or even the ditch. Andrew is a little more robust than I, and on his 'tank' doesn't have so much problems being buffeted by the wind. So anyway... Andrew has the (illegally wind-assisted) record... the route to JOG is pretty flat, the hill before our B&B was the last chance. I was gonna go back, get a nice run up and clock the record........ But the night before I'd found it hard work just walking back from our restaurant. Seriously hard work. Moving round in the morning, packing and loading the car was tough. The legs were like two ironing boards. There was no power there... i reluctantly abandoned the top speed attempt.
The riding to JOG was very pleasant. The coastal route offering pretty views out to the sea. We weren't exactly bathed in sunshine but it was bright and there was more blue in the sky than white. A single convenience stop on the way is all that held us up. Tom was riding well. Caning it at the front with Andrew. Just one half decent hill on the route almost at the end. At the bottom i figured if this is the last hill, I'm gonna make the most of it. I surged forwards and powered to the top. At the summit i could see the coast to the North for the first time. Wow, that felt good. So good that i called my Mum to tell her I'd done it. I had about 10 minutes to myself. Turns out the others had stopped half way up the hill to pose for photos by the 'John O'Groats - 3 miles' sign. Typical. In all the photos of the last few days, there's no sign of me because I'm too far off the front!
We hung together from then on. Except for Yorky who seemed to think he could roll the whole way. I don't think he managed it. Never did understand that guy. Shortly after the hill there was a worn graffitied sign proclaiming 'John O'Groats'. BIG smiles all round - we all got together for photo opportunities. And onwards to the coast....
The very moment we got to the sign, there was another bunch of cyclists heading out in the opposite direction. There was no time to stop and chat, but it was easy to work out what everyone was up to. "Well done, lads", they shouted... "Have a great trip!", i replied. It was like passing the baton on to someone else. Whilst our feat was quite incredible, it wasn't unique. There's an endless line of cyclists riding the same route... South to North... North to South, over and over. If feels good to be part of the club.
We rolled down to the coast. Firstly up to Duncansby Head, the most North Easterly point of the UK, so Lizzie tells us. Then into John O'Groats itself, where we meet up with Mary. In a bid to make it to 'the sign' first, Chris manages to crash his bike, about 2 metres from the sign. Don't know who got there first in the end, Yorky i suspect. A photo session followed, and congratulations all round. We had some time to take it all in... i stared north towards the sea, The Orkney Islands clear as day in front of us. I turned round and looked back South West, trying to imagine the distance we'd covered. I'd covered over a thousand miles. Tom will tell you that the official route was 987 or something like that, but I'd been out on rest day. At that moment i felt fine, physically... the next few days were going to be a bit harder!
We had to get back to Edinburgh, and now our group split. A handful in the car and the rest of us got a taxi down to Inverness and a train back to the main City. The taxi and the train easily ate up the miles that we'd covered comparatively slowly over the last few days. From the taxi we saw more cyclists, some arriving, others departing. The train showed us more delights of the Scottish east coast. By the time we got to Edinburgh, the sun had set. We got back to the hotel where the car had already arrived. We drank and ate pizza. We chatted briefly but tiredness sent everyone to bed pretty quickly....
In the morning, Andrew and I got up for a bike ride (!). It was about 6am. Andrew was keen to hit the 1000 mile mark. I know Edinburgh quite well, having been there many times. We had to cover about 14 miles so i gave him a little tour. It was eerily quiet, we almost had the place to ourselves. We did the waterfront, Stockbridge through the city, the Royal Mile, the castle, the Scottish Parliament building and the bottom of Arthur's Seat. All very leisurely, just taking in the sights. By the time we got back to the hotel we had to do a couple laps of the roundabout to get Andrew past 1000!
After breakfast it was time to leave, again, half in the car, half on the train. Those of us on the train walked up to Waverley station, rather than ride. It felt appropriate somehow. There should be no more riding - the journey was done. To ride together now would somehow spoil the feeling. (I should note that Yorky had disappeared somewhere, off taking photos, probably in a bike shop... sigh). I took the time to think about what to do next, in the world of cycling. Not the same again... we should go abroad, avoid the English weather. Maybe from London down to the South coast of Spain. Last night over drinks I'd jokingly mapped out a 3,000 mile route from the West Coast to the East Coast of the States... 3,000 miles? 6 weeks? hmmm maybe that's one for retirement :)
Our train journey passed and the arrival back in London resulted in our little group breaking up. Everyone taking a different route home. There was congratulations all round and promises of a reunion meal. I hit the road for one last time... back to reality! The London streets very different to where we'd been. I had to wait for a bus to move out the way before i could set off... taxis all around... straight into a stream of traffic...

Still, i felt like King Of the Road. I hoped the others did too. I'd ridden the whole country... London was nothing. I ambled round the streets with no particular sense of urgency. Normally I'd be hacking it round as fast as possible, but not today. It was time to take it easy. I actually passed the bike shop where I got Bianca. When i bought the bike, i told them i was going for LEJoG. I thought about popping in to say we'd done it.... but I rolled past, over Blackfriars Bridge and heading East back home.
I have to say a massive thank you to Kim and Mary for giving up a week of their life to support us. Without them we wouldn't have done this at all. Thank you to Lizzie's gran for tea and cakes in Bristol and for reading the blog every day. Thanks to all the friends we met on way, all the messages from back home, it really helped.
And, of course, the biggest thank you is for my fellow riders. I'm so impressed by everyone - this was definitely a team effort, lots of support for each other, no complaints and smiles every day. Only Yorky got pushed off his bike, but he did definitely deserve it. Plenty of drive and determination from everyone. I rode Lands End to John O'Groats and i had a great time doing it, because of you lot :)

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Week Two - Video

Despite YouTube blocking my last video, I've uploaded our week 2 video in the hope that Europe are a bit more relaxed about me using their song than the Proclaimers were! If this doesn't work, I'll find an alternative way to share this....

YouTube Video


Day 15 - Dunbeath to John o'Groats

A rather late blog entry, but.... we did it!! After an early start, and a very rapid 40 miles, we finally reached the end of our epic journey yesterday morning.

Google Maps Link

It was a great finish to a challenging but fun 2 weeks - with some fast cycling fueled by adrenalin, excitement (and maybe a bit of a tail wind!), following the beautiful coastline of north east Scotland. Even the weather was good, with the sun shining, giving us a fantastic view of the Orkney Islands as we went over the crest of the final hill before the long run down into John o'Groats.

It's difficult to describe how I felt as we rolled into the town - simultaneously happy, relieved, excited, and drained.... and even a little disappointed that it was all over! Whilst being relieved that the long rides and early starts are over, I think I'm really going to miss cycling to new places with everyone day after day.

After all the obligatory photos, we started the long trek back home, with the first leg via a minibus with our bikes taking us to Inverness. It really struck me then how far we had come, as we drove past towns and villages we had stayed in. This was cemented further on the next leg of the journey from Inverness to Edinburgh by train - Scotland really is a pretty big place, and we'd cycled the whole length of it.... and the length of England on top of that!

I was also thinking how strange it will be readjusting to 'normal' life after 2 weeks of early starts, cycling all day, eating ridiculous amounts of food, sleeping, and then repeat, day after day. I think I'm going to feel restless being back behind a desk at work!

I have a few more photos and videos to upload over the next couple of days, but for now I'm looking forward to sleeping in my own bed for the first time in over 2 weeks :-)


The morning after

By the way... we got there!

Bloggers have been too knackered to post updates.

Everyone in good spirits this morning, after making it to Edinburgh. Even Tom is feeling better, yay!

Had a gentle 12 mile ride around the city this morning.

Final day updates to come later....

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Days twelve to thirteen

Catching up on my blog!

Not much worth reporting has happened over these two days, the focus seemed to be on getting there. Some brief notes.

Day twelve

The A82 which led us so brilliantly through Glencoe the previous day stretched on in front of us, connecting west with east. The destination Dingwall, just North of Inverness, probably the most northerly city in the UK of any significance.

As James blogged... "from Euphoria to Chernobyl". The full steam ahead efforts of the previous day taking its toll on the body. The day started in a fine misty rain, which did nothing to raise spirits. The rain was in for the day, and gradually got harder as the day passed.

The ride took us past several Lochs; we rode along half of the north side of Loch Ness. It all looked rather eerie. Tranquil, still water, the surrounding hills shrouded in mist at their base, and low clouds covering the peaks. I remember one view that made everyone sit up and take notice.... the road turning a corner and we burst out from under some trees. Rare sunshine treated us to a view of Loch Ness as far as we could see, both forwards and backwards. Quite a sight... The terrain was easy going, but all the riders remained calm and steady. No one had it in their legs to sprint.

Only two real moments of any significance. After lunch, we were expecting a hill. Our trusty Garmin GPS devices were pretty good at fore-warning us of the contours, but I wasn't really expecting what I saw next.

At the foot of the hill there were two signs standing proud on an 8 foot post. One said 15%. The other, "For 3/4 mile". On their own, neither sign is particularly troublesome. Together they looked rather daunting. There was a unified crunching of gears as all 7 riders changed down to the small chainring.

Yorky and I pulled away from the front of the pack, not particularly fast, just at our own pace. Maybe 75metres from the foot we were side by side, standing on the pedals. The scene was set for Alberto Contador vs Andy Schleck style alpine battle to the top. Another turn of the pedals and we both seemed to realise at the same time that our legs were gone. We both sat back and settled in for the long crawl.

I don't really know how I got to the top. A mix of sitting or standing, using the lungs then the legs in turn. I stood as long as my legs could take it, until they started to buckle. Maybe ten turns standing,.ten seated. All the way up the three quarter mile, fifteen percent ascent. At the top I pulled aside into a lay-by. Massive intakes of air, my glasses steaming with the output from my lungs. I waited for the others. 30 seconds till sight of Yorky, a minute to James. 4 minutes for the next two and six minutes till the last pair. That was a tough one.

The next remarkable moment, happened straight after. The group  enjoying a celebratory bag of Jelly Babies, Tom was reluctant to come pick up the bag, maybe his legs too tired from the climb. "Just throw me one..." Lo and behold, Andrew served up a Jelly Baby through the air and Tom caught it in his mouth. Hole in one, amazing!

The rest of the route took us into Dingwall, eventually peeling off our favourite road in the UK, the A82. A short day, just 65 miles, at a relaxed speed. Quite welcome after the previous ride.

Aunty Jan at the Marsule B&B was also most welcome. Warmth and shelter from the rain. I even had a hot bath... bliss!

Day thirteen

The end now most definitely in sight, and the weather forecast showing no sign of rain. Things were looking up. The day saw us pass the first sign emblazoned with 'John O'Goats'. Just 104 miles to go at the first sighting. But with Tom's illness, we had to play it safe. The fact that he even got in the saddle that day amazed me. Lizzie and I spent the whole day towing Tom 70 miles to Dunbeath. On a bike, if you sit behind someone you are sheltered from the wind. You can freewheel whilst the guy in front pedals away. Today, I was 'la domestique' ... the workhorse. There was a light but noticeable headwind for the whole day so we kept the pace easy, sticking to 15 on the flats. I was taking the brunt of the wind to make it easier for those behind. We made it in the end, even up a 13% incline. La Domestique is of little use going uphill, the speed is low so the air resistance is negligible. With relatively fresh legs I took the opportunity to race to the top, a hard lung bursting climb. I waited for the others next to a cottage called 'Hilltop'. Some great views on offer, the whole day had been a coastal route. From where I stood it all looked rather pretty. North east coast of Scotland... if it wasn't for the changeable climate, I might consider retiring there.

The final day would be a formality, in terms of the ride... just 40 miles. Our recent overnight accommodations had all had maps of Scotland adorning the walls. The imaginary "you are here" dot  getting higher and higher each day. It was incredible to think how far we had come. My bike computer showing just short of a thousand miles. I had never been North of Scotland's two biggest cities, and I had never cycled more than three consecutive days. Still, the legs and body were feeling it... it was hard going just walking back to the accommodation after dinner. I went to sleep thinking about how it would feel, tomorrow, finally at JOG.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Day 14 - Dingwall to Dunbeath

Another 72 miles down, only 38 left to go!

Google Maps Link

Can't quite believe we're so close to the end now - it's almost as unbelievable as having finally experienced our first (almost) completely dry day since we arrived in Scotland!

It was another fast paced day today, with barely any stops and an impressive average speed. The scenery has changed again, and it was quite beautiful riding along the north east coastline - especially with the sun shining down upon us. We even had a little picnic by the beach for lunch!

We also saw our first road sign showing the distance to John o'Groats, which was met with much excitement, especially with each subsequent sign highlighting how close we were getting.

The day ended with us speeding down into Dunbeath, with only 38 miles left ahead of us to tackle tomorrow. It will be an early start, as some of us are being met at the end point by a man with a van at 1100 to transfer us down to Inverness.

So around 940 miles covered; over 96% of the ride complete. A good thought to end the day on :-)

Location:Dunbeath,United Kingdom


As the penultimate day draws to a close I can't help but wonder how we got this far. At times during the first few days I thought crikey we haven't even scratched the surface. There was one particular moment that seems to be implanted in my head when we were in Bristol. We came across a map of Britain which was roughly three times the size of your average person. I scaled the map several times up and down and it made our heroic efforts over the ever undulating landscape of Cornwall and the Dartmoor hills look worthless. A steady approach however is the only way to do these things. I tended to focus on small term objectives i.e. Get to lunch or just get to the next place of rest and so on and so on then finally I find myself with just 38 miles to go.

In many ways it will be good to draw the trip to a close purely on the basis of tiredness but on the other hand it's been the greatest test and adventure of my life. I'm not sure what the feeling will be tomorrow when reach the finish line but whatever happens it will be a moment savour!

Proud Moments

Last night Tom went to bed with a 39 degree temperature, looking white as a ghost. This morning he limped to breakfast, had half a slice of toast and 5 Imodium tablets. 70 miles later he rolled into Dunbeath.

Well done, Tommy.

The Final Push

Today is the last full day of cycling. My legs feel wrecked. Strange, given the relative ease of yesterday's route.... completely wrecked.

We have a very sick rider in the camp. We will be towing him on the flats, and pushing him up the hills if need be. I hope he holds out. We'll do everything we can to make it as easy as possible for him. 70 miles to Dunbeath. There's no rain at the moment, the sun is almost shining. Fingers crossed for a good day.

A quick blast of Eye of the Tiger and "I like to ride my bicycle" by Queen and we are good to go...

My day 12 blog will come tonight...

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Day 13 - Spean Bridge to Dingwall

Today was always going to struggle to match the fantastic ride yesterday, and the ever present rain made for a pretty bleak 65 miles.

Google Maps Link

I'm getting quite tired of setting off in rain, and today it seemed to be more persistent than any other day, with hardly any let up. Pretty miserable.

There was some nice scenery again, but I got the feeling we missed out on a lot due to the lack of visibility. Nessie may well have been swimming in her Loch right next to us - we wouldn't noticed with our heads down pedaling through the rain!

I also didn't take a single photo today - hence the plainness of this entry. Stopping off to take snaps wasn't going to get us any closer to our destination and out of the rain! To make up for this, I've included a photo and link to something that has been playing around and around in a few of our heads today....

The Family Ness

You'll Never Find a Nessie in the Zoo

On the bright side, after today's ride we are now only 120 odd miles from our end point - wooo! Looking at a map and seeing how far we have traveled is quite something now!

And even better, the forecast is looking better for tomorrow and we may get our first rain free day since arriving in Scotland - fingers crossed!!

Location:Dingwall,United Kingdom


This is one blog entry that you'll be glad will not be featuring a photo. With all the rain, Nige's tight Lycra cycling shorts have gone see-through!

He's the fastest so is normally at the front, but we've been franticly pedalling to stay in front of him so we don't have to see what's under his shorts. I hope he doesn't give any old ladies a heart attack tomorrow when we stop for tea and cakes!

Location:Goyal Rd,,United Kingdom

Day 12

Today saw us start in Spean Bridge and end in Dingwall, 65 miles in total. After yesterday's europhic ride my body was going into Chernobyl.
I saw Nige make an early break my mind wanted to chase but the legs did not. My body was having a tug of war and the legs won, arghhh!

After 20 miles or so we reached Fort Augustus where we stopped for elevenses although the restaurant staff did not make us feel welcome at all. I would go as far as saying it was the most complicated cup of tea I'd ever had! We were told to serve our selves by one lady then another lady told us off for using the machine, then she said she would bring them over. Then the final nail in the coffin arrived from yes a third attendant "can someone come and collect the teas?". Arghhhhh communcation breakdown or what!!

This will now be the third time I've been to this small town once with my family back in 1997 on our Loch Ness sailing holiday and 6 months ago with my girlfriend. It's always nice coming back but I'll avoid that shambolic tea room in future!

We then rode along Loch Ness and continued along the A82, which if you don't know already is the best road in the UK. The views were excellent but not a touch on yesterday only an appearance from old Nessy would have changed that!

After a brief pit stop after a further 20 miles we hit the hardest part of the day a 15% incline, which would last 3/4 of a mile. My lungs were doing overtime and my body felt like it was pulling a 20 ton truck up a hill. I wanted to stop but realistically that was never going to happen. I arrived exhausted at the top after Yorkie and Nige. The following 20 miles to Dingwall were more pleasant but the persistant rain was starting to tell on group morale. Tomorrow we have 80 miles to do, so close now I can almost smell the finish line : ).

Cycling near Fort William

After stopping in the Firedart cafe in Fort William, Nige lead the ride for the final ten miles through some fantastic scenery.

YouTube Video

Cycling along Loch Lomond

This is the view cycling along the west side of loch Lomond

YouTube Video

Great Glen

The Great Glen lies between Fort William and Inverness, encompassing, amongst others, Loch Ness. So far its living up to its name, providing lovely scenery for us to ride through. We're currently at Fort Augustus, at the start of Loch Ness.

Hmmmm, I wonder what's causing those ripples out on the water....?

Day eleven

The most spectacular day of the trip.

I'm not sure what James had for breakfast but I'm guessing  rocket fuel or something similar. I spent the whole day riding flat out with James... the ride of our lives.

We set off in light rain which soon passed. Continuing up the west side of Loch Lomond with the Loch to our right, hills to our left, under a canopy of bright green trees. The roads were not flat, but gentle undulations made for some impressive speed. With 25 miles knocked off in an hour and a half we stopped for tea and cake, meeting up with Mary at the Green Welly Cafe.

With a bit of bike tinkering going on, the riders left the cafe at different times... Lizzie first, then James, Chris and tom then finally Yorky, Andrew and myself. (I'm always last to leave!)  The remainder of the hill took us to the highest point of the day, and the first proper view of what was to come... Glencoe.

A breathtaking view demanded a photograph so five of us stopped and faffed about with a camera for a few minutes. Keen to catch James, I set off before everyone else. A gentle downhill slope allowed me to run between 30 and 35mph for what felt like forever. I was riding as hard as I could, but so was James and it took me about 30 mins to catch him. When I caught him, he didn't let up the pace.

"James, what the Hell have you had for breakfast?" I asked... "nothing special, I'm just inspired by the views" he replied. I'm convinced he would have failed a drugs test, it was all a bit 'Floyd Landis' - amazing pace from nowhere. Free from his knee support for the first time in a few days, James was well up for it. We were pedalling hard, the others surely left for dead. The pace was the fastest of the trip. I was letting James ride at the front, let him maintain that inspiration. Occasionally I'd pull alongside "what are we doing? Are we planning to let the others catch up?" James would just say "dont know, but I'm loving it..." and we would both burst into laughter. This type of riding was unheard of.

James had been on this road before, whilst driving through the area. He kept telling me... "wait till we drop back down into the valley". We motored on, through open moorland, bright greens, browns everywhere snow topped peaks on the Grampian Mountains up in the clouds, bluebells providing the only splash of colour. Eventually the valley came, at about the same time the heavens opened. The rain was falling hard but took nothing from the ride. The landscape down in the valley was spectacular... really quite incredible. The pace was still electric, the riding was scintillating.... beautiful views.

If anyone is looking for a bike ride in the UK, this is it. Loch Lomond to Fort William. I would rather do it in bright sunshine .... maybe I'll come back...

James and I pressed on, heading for Fort William for a pit stop. We stopped briefly to take on food. Was quite surprised to see Yorky pull up alongside us (how fast had he been going to catch us?!) The three of us pushed on, meeting Mary again for tea. The other four arrived just as we had finished food and drink. The seven riders finished the last ten miles to Spean Bridge, where we found our very well deserved bed for the night.

We had covered 80 miles, in a little over 4 hours. The power of cake had got me through. The legs will be weary in the morning. Just a short day tomorrow, 65 miles to Dingwall, traversing over to the east side of the country. We'll be riding along Loch Ness... I'll be on the lookout for the fabled monster, unless I've got my head down trying to catch James again...

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Day 12 - Inverbeg to Spean Bridge

What a day! I think you can tell from the blog posts below that the 82 miles we covered today was something quite special.

Google Maps Link

I must say that I started the day feeling pretty low - it was raining, (again!), it was cold, I was aching, and I'd left behind a very comfy bed. Cycling along the side of Loch Lomond soon raised my spirits, especially as the rain eased off. We were making really good progress too, and rewarded ourselves with a food stop at the Green Welly - including polishing off all the cakes kindly given to us by Cat...

An hour later, all fueled up for the 48 mile trek to the next sizable town, we set off again. After a bit of a climb, we were greeted by some quite incredible views, and long open roads. Me, Tom, Lizzie and Deano fell a little behind at this point since we kept feeling compelled to stop and take photos (well, Deano didn't so much but we made him stop anyway!)

I also took a short video, but this in no way does the ride justice....

YouTube Video

With the pace we were maintaining, despite all the photo stops, we soon made it into the Highlands, which called for another photo stop to feature Tom, Lizzie, Lizzie, Deano and me....

Not long after this, we met up with Mary again for a well deserved scotch pancake (thanks Caz and Si!)

Tom and Deano then proceeded to chase Mary down the mountain, managing to keep up surprisingly well with the car for most of the way down!

It wasn't long before the heavens soon opened again, and then it was a long slog for the last 15 odd miles through Fort William and onto Spean Bridge.

Quite a day - definitely up there with Dartmoor and South Lancashire as one of the most memorable.

Only 2.5 days of cycling left now.... and hopefully more of what we experienced today (minus the rain!)

Location:Spean Bridge,United Kingdom

A ride i shall not forget!

I awoke this morning feeling mentally tired and my legs completely lethargic but i didn't know what was about to happen next.......

From the moment my legs hit the pedal I could sense today would be no ordinary day. The views around Loch Lomond were quite inspiring and the roads were conducive to speed. After a brief stop in Tyndrum after 25 miles we headed for the highlands.

What happened next can only be described as a 48 mile adrenaline rush the views and the atmosphere sent my body into overdrive i went as fast as i could for as long as possible and we (nige, yorkie and I) got to Fort William in roughly two and a half hours. It was the best ride of my life and probably one of the best moments too! AWESOME : )

Ride of our lives...

So far, today has been EPIC!

There's a storm brewing...

... and for once, its not in the sky. The weather is holding up for us. I knew it would if I wore my shorts. We are moving so fast today we're leaving a whirlwind behind us. That must be the fastest 25 miles we've covered all trip. We're at the Green Welly cafe between Loch Lomond and Fort William. Possibly the last sight of civilisation for 40 miles.

Time to fuel up. I have three cakes in front of me.

Reception is becoming intermittent so blog updates are not going to be so easy...