Thanks everybody, It’s all over…. and I miss it!
Just thought I would finish this off by adding a few notes about the trip and my thoughts a few days afterwards.
It was an absolutely fabulous holiday. It is the first time in many years that I have really got away from it all. No TV or newspapers, no phone (thanks to the weather) nothing except 4 people all working together to get to John O Groats.
I found that the people in the UK are in the vast majority nice people (the taxi drivers in Glasgow we “met” are NOT included in this statement). We met a lot of people on the way who were always interested in what we were doing some spontaneously donating to our chosen cause. On the very first day before we had even turned a pedal a couple in the car park in Penzance donated. Others in the street, campsites and pubs did the same. We made little effort to collect money in this way as we all agreed we wanted not to be a nuisance to others but still we did collect some donations. I handed out a lot of flyers with the charity web address and my blog address and as you can see if you look at the flag counter bottom right we have had a truly international readership!
The small kindly acts by complete strangers.. Giving me a lift out of their way to the nearest village when my bike broke down, the ladies in the “fat fowl” who did not mind me dripping filthy water all over their smart cafe while I waited for Paul and Dave, the young lady near Lockerbie in The Queens Hotel bringing us clean dry towels with our tea and coffee (we must have looked a state), the very smiley ladies in the “Tea Rooms” just north of Berriedale. Heather who made us cake to sustain us on the ride, Billy for the lobster. Many people who know me will have heard my story about eating Mangos, whenever I eat one I am transported to a low stone wall in a very small village in the mountains of Nepal, Okhaldhunga (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Okhaldhunga), eating Lobster will forever be associated with John O Groats and our ride. There were many more good people and when I could I have mention them by name in my blog.
I need to thank Rob without whom this would not have been possible he drove the van between sites washed up after we had set off on our rides, bought fresh provisions and generally made things easier for us (except when he got stuck in the mud).
Dave was my cycling partner most of the way, we had long chats (when we had the breath) which helped pass the day and make the trip enjoyable, solitary cycling for days on end is not much fun! Dave also provided the majority of the pictures on this blog including the beautiful shots of the lake in Glencoe.
A special thank you has to go to Paul who I have known since we were very young men (he is my sons Godfather). As the trip unfolded it was very apparent that he had spent many hours planning out our route. He kept us off the main roads on traffic free “B” roads (I doubt some of them were even “B” roads…Tracks more like) for large stretches of each day making the ride pleasant and safe. 3 interesting ferry crossings to avoid long stretches of monotonous dual carriageway kept us entertained and added to the overall enjoyment. Paul’s enthusiasm (even on the wet days he tried to convince us it was sunny) was infectious and I genuinely enjoyed almost the entire trip, I’m not changing my mind about the trip to Lanark though that was bloody awful.
With the help of all of you mentioned in this blog and those who have read and commented on the blog (it’s encouraging to know people are following your progress) I have been able to do something that I have wanted to do for a very long time.
A final thank you must go to all my sponsors at the time of writing you have donated £6000 with another £1200 in gift aid to a very worthy cause.
Some quotes (I will add these just to remind myself of some the funnier moments).
“My body is working so hard it does not seem to have the energy to even make facial hair, I have not needed to shave for a few days”
Paul quips back
“You must be very tired as hair continues to grow even after your dead”