Last Day on the Road

Seems a long time ago that I set out from Bristol to head for Land’s End, it has been an epic adventure for me. Yesterday I stayed at the Crask Inn, oddly, the only pub owned by the church. It’s in the middle of a moor in the north of Scotland. The photo of the bar below reminds me of the bar in Local Hero (film from the 80s and filmed near here).

It’s so interesting being on you own, observing our little island from a saddle. It is a very beautiful place and worth looking after as best we can. Our island is still healthy and full of amazing wildlife, the birds are out there singing as they always have (I heard a Corncrake on a Lewis moor a couple of days ago). But much like we are starting to think about looking after each other again (thanks Jeremy C), we do need to look after our islands much better. Cars: blimey, they are everywhere, they are noisy, dangerous and we can’t drive them without going at some crazy speed. 

I’ve met some brilliant people: even just fleetingly; like the old boy walking his dog in a little village who said he’d love to be going to the Crask Inn with me (it was 30 miles away), because there’s not good beer in his village and to take care on the decent of the mountain. Just little moments with people. Also it has been grey and wet and windy quite a bit. It’s an odd thing on a bicycle, things can be a bit in your head. I found myself talking to myself quite a lot, I don’t know if that’s good or not.

Was going to write how I found myself getting a bit crotchety with people asking what an earth made me thing it was a good idea putting a printing press on a bicycle. But now I’m starting to agree with them, so will leave that.

The road surface makes such a difference riding the bike: there are some lovely surfaces to ride on, but bumpy old roads are hard work. The wind in your face on a heavy bike makes for slow going. But when you fly on a lovely road with the world opening up around you, there is no better feeling. And everyday that happens.

It’s the last day now with just twelve miles to ride,  I’m staying with Joanne and Joe who I stayed with and met last in 2009 when I was cycling around the coast. They are brilliant: Joanne an artist and Joe, a mechanical engineer (though these days he helps Joanne with her work more). Very welcoming and it’s like the last 8 years never happened. So nice to spend the last day of riding with them.

I’m printing one last day somewhere around John O’Groats and then grabbing a cycle taxi (yes they do exist) with a bunch of other end to enders back to Inverness. I’m staying in a funny old hotel run by a 90 year old lady, it looks pretty run down, but couldn't resist booking it.

Then the 9.40am train back home to Bristol on Tuesday, arriving sometime around 9pm. I am very aware of all the people who have helped me with this little adventure and will write properly to let you know who they are. But my brain is a little windswept at the moment, so will do that another time.

Here are a few photos from the last two days.