Breaking the 1000 mile barrier!

Dad’s had an OK day, and he’s now done a grand total of 1007 miles – fantastic!!

Despite rain overnight it was mostly dry and not too hilly – although there was one high pass that he went over.  Parts of it were tough going… there’s a long bridge across the Beauly Firth and there was a very strong side wind (fortunately bikes and pedestrians had their own section).  After that as he headed further from Inverness towards Dingwall (where he is tonight), there was a strong head wind – so the last 12 miles were a bit of a slog.  He also had trouble finding the b&b for tonight – but he found a very helpful woman who gave him the directions.  He stopped in Inverness for some food to eat tonight, plus a paper, so he’s looking forward to getting in his room and relaxing!

As well as cycling 50 miles he’s also been on more of an historical tour… he stopped at the Culloden museum and also passed the Clava Cairn, so stopped and had a look at the bronze age circular tombs.

day 23.3.jpg…and he’s been keeping an eye out for nature.  Having mentioned the red squirrels yesterday, he saw a polecat today (unfortunately dead at the side of the road, but he says it still counts as having seen one!).  But here’s a cute live one to look at!

Over the hill!

Today dad set out from Pitlochry early (about 7.00) and by 11.00 he was crossing over the highest point of his journey – 1515 feet (on Sustrans route 7) – quite some achievement!  To celebrate he caught his breath and took this photo.  Does it mean it’s all down hill from here?!

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It’s been another good day (61 miles total) and the weather has been very kind.  The first 25 miles up to the top of the pass was all up hill, dad described it as ‘hard work, but not agony’!. The path has been beautiful – really out in nature and he’s been thrilled to see red squirrels – 3 yesterday and 1 today.  En route he also passed the Ruthven Barracks (he tells me they were destroyed by retreating Jacobite troops after the battle of Collodon).

Day 22.1He arrived in Aviemore in good time and was able to get his bike checked – the brakes and chain needed some attention, so he was pleased to get them seen to.

Tomorrow will be Aviemore to Dingwall – about 50 miles, so he expects to break through the 1000 mile distance tomorrow (currently standing at 957).  Then on Monday from Dingwall to Altnaharra, on Tuesday on to Melvich where Paul and I will join him, then Wednesday the final leg up to John O’Groats!  It’s fun to trace the last few days on the maps below… (apologies – they look as if they’re different scales!)

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Many thanks to everyone for your ongoing support 🙂

21 days down, 5 to go… Pitlochry

Dad set out from Killin to meet Liz and Douglas (Sustrans volunteers) at Kenmore – about 16 miles along Loch Tay from Killin.  However, the route was far hillier than he expected and therefore much slower.  He also stopped off to visit the fascinating Crannog centre on the Loch, not realising that there was a problem with phone numbers… so it took longer than expected to all meet up – thanks to everyone for their patience!  Special thanks go to Ellie, from Beyond Adventures ( http://www.beyondadventure.co.uk/) who went above and beyond, driving round the loch in her van to help find dad!

Dad really enjoyed the Crannog centre – it is a reconstruction of an ancient Loch dwelling from 2500 years ago! (see http://www.crannog.co.uk/ for more info).  It sounds as if there was lots of information and demonstrations of what life was like – dad found out more about making fire, making flour and turning wood – plus he got some lovely photos!

 

They had a lovely ride together (as well as stopping for refreshments!) and met another Sustrans volunteer Evelyn at Dull.  She then accompanied dad up to Pitlochry.  He’s in the Youth Hostel there tonight – feeling a bit tired and aware that tomorrow is a longer day – 40 miles today and about 60 tomorrow.  He knows there will be a couple of climbs, but he’s hoping they want be too bad…

Many thanks to the amazing volunteers at Sustrans, your company and support is really fantastic!  Here are some photos with Liz, Douglas and Evelyn (I’m afraid I’m not sure who is who!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photos from day 20

Photos have arrived – looking at these it’s easy to see why dad is enjoying Scotland so much!  The first picture was sent by dad with a Tolkein quote ‘The road goes ever on, down from the door where it began’.  I love that you can see his shadow in the foreground, it really adds to the picture!  The second picture is of Loch Earn – stunning.

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More beautiful scenery…

Day 20 complete!

It’s been another good day – dad set out early from Calender and despite adding a couple of miles on after a wrong turn, the day was just 28 miles, so quite leisurely (total of 855).  He arrived in Killin by about 1.30, so he’s feeling well rested (there are a few longer days planned before he finishes).  He’s really enjoying this section of Scotland, the scenery is amazing, the distances are quite manageable and on the whole the weather has been good.  Although there was some rain later today – but he didn’t get too badly caught!

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A lot of today’s ride has been along a disused railway – which as well as being lovely and a good surface has the advantage of being relatively flat!  There were a couple of steep climbs, but not too bad and the track was good so it was OK.

He has taken some photos of the scenery, but unfortunately I think there must have been a problem with mobile signal as they’ve not come through.  So here’s  a photo of Killin from the internet – to give us all an idea of how stunning it is.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATomorrow he has some more Sustrans volunteers with him as he heads along Loch Tay and on to Pitlochry.  Thanks to all!

Things have been going really well on the fundraising – we got an email from justgiving to say we were in the top 1% of fundraisers in August – so a huge thanks to everyone for their generosity. The total for Medecins Sans Frontieres is now at £9486!

Day 19 – stunning!

Dad’s had a lovely day today, riding from Balloch to Calender – a more gentle day than he expected and just 35 miles.  So much easier than the early days of the ride when he had days of over 65 miles!  There were 2 big climbs today, including over Dukes Pass… it didn’t sound much fun going up, but going down was good!  There were stunning views all day – across mountains and Lochs.  The weather has also been very kind, so he was in good spirits! day 19.1

some photos…

Tomorrow it’s on to Killin – and a week today he should be finished!

18 days, 795 miles, gallons of tea, countless new friends and only 8days to go!

A more leisurely start today and dad was joined by another Sustrans volunteer, Alasdair Macdonald who took him on a beautiful route out of Glasgow (so much easier being shown the way!)  They stopped for a lovely visit to a nearby community project – Dunbarton Road Corridor Environmental Trust, who are involved in

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delivering a range of environmental projects and services across the west of Glasgow and beyond – including supporting the wellbeing and resilience of local people and communities.  If you want to find out more do visit their site at https://dumbartonroad.wordpress.com/

The sun was shining as Dad and Alasdair continued on to Balloch, a really easy day (only 20 miles) and all very beautiful.  Dad is now at the edge of Loch Lomond.  Big thanks to all from Sustrans and Cycling Lanarkshire for their help and support.

Tomorrow looks like being more challenging, with some hills to climb, but the end is (nearly) in sight.

We also saw Jeanette and Laurie yesterday and they gave us some extra photos from their time with dad last Thursday.  There are some great photos, a bit out of sequence with his ride, but so good that they must be shared – enjoy!

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here he comes…
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Getting closer…
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hello!
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…and he’s off