Over the last few weeks I’ve been starting to find joy in taking my bike off the tarmac and onto trails and lesser ridden tracks. Not much for now, but it always makes me smile. I think it’s the long forgotten mountain biker in me. Now I’m really not looking to get back into mountain biking (yet), but gravel and trail riding does appeal in bucket loads.
I had only gone a few miles, not even as far as Penrith, but it was clear I needed this energy boost early on. I should have tried to sleep for longer in the camper, but when you know that time is ebbing away, and you've woken up, something in your brain tells you that if you are awake then you should be moving forwards.
As I left John O’Groats at 8:30 am, I was looking forward to having a mighty tailwind but it was not to be. There was a fierce cross wind, and although slightly favourable, the gusts threatened to throw me off my bike on several occasions. I was convinced that the wind was trying to kill me, and despite the sunshine, it was freezing cold and brutal.
What followed for the next few hours was quite a surreal riding experience although it's one though that I'll never forget. In this remote and distant corner of the UK, I felt more like a real adventurer than at any other time in my life.
Despite the weather, it still felt like an adventure. I would rather have stayed in bed, but the type 2 challenge of riding through the storm held some appeal at the time. After all, today was the day that I would reach Scotland, and our planned overnight stop was to be right on the banks of Loch Lomond, and I have been looking forward to waking up there since I planned the route.