And so we said goodbye to a very windy John o’ Groats and to our companions of the 17 days spent riding northwards, ever northwards. The return journey south is an awful long way – two days driving. First along the east coast on the A9 to Inverness, where the road then more or less followed, or was near to, the route we had cycled. Lots of cries of “we were there” and “remember the rain squall on the Kessock Bridge” and such like. A stop in Newtonmore at Jenny’s car (all safe) and on to Falkirk, with the Oil Refinery and the Kelpies. On, ever south, Glasgow, Carlisle, Penrith, A66, the wind becoming slightly less but not much. Plenty of sunshine now, though and strange lenticular clouds, denoting high winds at high altitude. Darlington by 1700 hours today, more than 12 hours driving equates to 17 days cycling!
Down to domestic reality with a bump – washing all the gear, oh crumbs look at the lawn must cut tomorrow, think of something for evening meal (freezer and microwave save the day). Gather together all the stuff for The Guiness World Record Application – witness book with signatures for individual places along the way and a section for the whole journey, written log book, maps, route descriptions, official-looking pro formas (?? my Latin isn’t good enough for the correct words!) signed up by my companions (thanks guys) at JoG verifying my bona fides (more rubbish Latin). I guess this web site, representing so much work and support from grandson Robbie, will form part of the application evidence, too. If you look at the section on the Rules and the list of evidence required, you will see what I mean.
So many people to thank. Chris Ellison the CTC Tour Leader, who had planned the whole route and hotel bookings, gave very close support on the road, kept the show together when the mechanicals came thick and fast and provided evening pep talks describing what tomorrow would bring. All my companions on the Tour, who gave so much moral support and good conversation; there were seven of us, which made dinner conversations very inclusive. John, my room-mate, ensured we started the day on time – we got on so well and I will remember him as a true gentleman.
In a week or so’s time, when I’ve had a chance to review things from a greater distance, I may attempt a bit of pompous Philosophy, similar to the first entry in this Blog. For now, goodnight (it’s 2359 hours) to all my readers. I’m told I was wrong about the “if any” – there are quite a lot. Thank you all for your moral support.