Final leg…..part 1

I am about 20 miles north of Aberdeen. Tomorrow will be the final leg of this part of the journey. I am going get to Dundee tomorrow and then it will be route direct to Newcastle. So the start point next time will be Dundee. 

Today has been an interesting route going through some near deserted fishing villages to the towns that are the hub of the North Sea fishing industry and what seems like the ‘car park’ for the oil platforms! 

 
The trip has been enjoyable because I have seen some amazing places, places that I would never have seen and places that I have made a note of to visit again. It has not been stressful but it has had its moments! The downside is the time constraint and that has been the annoying thing, that I underestimated. It is very tiring with nine to twelve hours riding but with 2842 miles done, plus another hundred or so tomorrow to Dundee it has been worth it! And I have made some money for charity!
Thank you all again for the Likes, Shares, Comments, words of encouragement and of course the donations. 

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Heading South!

275 miles from Ullapool to where I am now, just north of Dornoch. After quite a long loop that took me some stunning landscape I got to Durness and turned right along the top of Scotland! There are some beautiful sandy beaches on the north coast. I visited Dunnet Head, the most northerly point on mainland Britain. The landscape changes before you reach John O’Groats back to ‘normal’ countryside! There is not much at John O’Groats! A harbour, a few shops, a restaurant and cafe. Oh, and a sign post! 

Turning right again and the road south is straight and fast then some nice bends! 

Arriving in the rain but a nice spot in the dunes by the sea. 

It’s my last day of this part of the trip and the roads now are back to unclassified and the national cycle route so slowing up a bit! 

Final blog of this part of the journey later! 

Today was a really good day, nearly three hundred miles! I left the campsite early and went around the rest of Skye. Skye is a stunning place, empty and desolate in places but wild and beautiful in others. 

From Skye there were a few minor roads around the coast before A890 to Kirkton and then the famous pass over to Applecross! Fortunately the pass was very light with traffic, as have all the roads. In land a bit and back out to Gareloch before the blast to Ullapool! 

Thank you to the cash donations I received at Applecross!

During the day I have been thinking how to write this part of the blog – Thursday will have to be the last day of this part of the journey! Unfortunately I have to back at work on Monday at Larkhill. I am annoyed with myself that I have totally underestimated how long this would take. I have covered, so far, 2587 miles and stuck to as close to coast as I could, 90% of these roads were narrow farm roads. So the plan now is to ride as far as I can until Thursday evening and the head for Newcastle on Friday. I then have a lift organised to get me South. The bike will stay in the North East, partly because I am moving there next monthly and also I will carry on the rest of this journey at a later date. 

I apologise to anyone who thinks I have ‘failed’ in this challenge but without being unsafe in what I was doing (the drivers hours went out of the window on day one!) it would have taken longer anyway. 

The money donated on line has gone straight to the charities and the cash donations I have will be split between the three. 

I will carry on this blog until Friday and will keep it live for when I finish this journey. I can not say now when that will be as I have a busy period with work commitments for a number of months. I WILL FINISH THIS JOURNEY!

The bottom line is that I underestimated how long it would take.

Bad to Good!

Monday started bad, first of all I dropped the bike at a petrol station! Secondly, after a good ride from Oban to Fort William I was getting confused with mapping! Not lost! Just that I knew I had to kind of double back on myself and go back to Fort William to then go up through Glen Shiel to reach Skye. I had a moment, called my girlfriend and settled down! 

I worked out what I needed to do and did my double back route but on the other side of the Loch to Fort William and ended up at the junction that either went to Mallaig and a ferry to Skye or back to Fort William and the around Glen Shiel to the bridge. My original plan wasn’t the ferry but I looked at the sailing times and went for it. I got the earlier ferry too! 

On the ferry I met a bloke, Tony, who is from Newcastle. He was riding the virtually the same route and so we got chatting and arranged to meet at a campsite below the Cullin Ridge by the shore. I did a loop of southern Skye and the made my way up there. Tony made a curry which was washed down with a cup of red, thank you Tony!

The Isle of Skye is a stunningly beautiful place another place to come back to and explore more! 

Today is northern Skye and across the bridge then up to Applecross and Ulla, maybe further!

 
 

More Scotland!

Hi everyone, since my last blog I’ve made it to Lochgilphead, twice!! More later. 

As some of may have seen yesterday I went through Ayrshire, paid homage to the Scottish poet. Saw the Electric Brae, a few Golf Open Championship courses. Turnberry and Royal Troon. I went around the Mull of Galloway, over the Erskine Bridge, passed Faslane and Garelochhead and ended up at Arrochar. I even saw the place where the Mullberry harbour was made! Beautiful weather yesterday, today though is the opposite. Rain, rain and wind!

  
Today I ended up where I passed this morning! I’ve done a few peninsulas before the Mull of Kintyre and because you can’t get around all of the peninsula you pass where you’ve already been! It did seem as I was going around in circles! Nearly 300 miles today and I’ve just been around the Mull of Kintyre. All the roads yesterday and today have been fast flowing A roads or steady – slow B roads. There’s been stunning scenery all the way! 

I’m getting donations off strangers who I thank very much and donations off cafes too. The Mariners and The Tea Room!

Tomorrow it is the majestic A816 to Oban and the rest of the west coast!

Meeting ex Gunners

Today I met with Maj (Retd) Stephen Powell (ex 26RA & 47RA) at his home in a village which was en route. He emailed me after reading my little write up in the Gunner mag offering a meal and a bed if needed! So we arranged to meet and we chatted about the Gunners now and such like. It was a pleasure to meet him. 

 
The next ex Gunner was by chance! I had pulled into the car park of the little Tesco in Kirkcudbright and this guy came over and asked which regiment I’d served with having seen the flyers on my bike! We got chatting and it turned out he used to be the Sigs Sgt in 74 Battery (The Battleaxe Company) just before I joined the Battery!! Surname of Black, David or Steve was his Christian name? Small world!

So, I’m just past Wigtown in Galloway. In an area called The Machars.  Some good roads today though it seemed an age to reach Carlisle from near Sellafield! The weather started windy and cold, and then settled to be a pleasant afternoon and evening! Rain forecast overnight and tomorrow though! 

 So far it has!! 

I’m looking forward to getting further north and doing some wild camping by a sea loch, hopefully!!

Thank you again and for more donations! 

“Bring me sunshine”

 
A good day after my pit stop at Southport! Passed all the famous seaside towns on a typical cloudy, windy, cold day!

I’m at Silecroft on the Cumbrian coast and will be well into Scotland tomorrow!

My helmet camera is playing up and not holding its charge for long so only limited footage. I’ll put together a film and proper photo album together when I’m done too! 

Thank you very much for Likes and Shares! 

Remember Waterloo.