It’s been busy these last few weeks. I’ve given a number of talks (some about the bike ride and some not!) to various groups including Rotary Clubs, the British Legion and Wharfedale Farmers Auction, and I had a brief interview on BBC Radio Lancashire with Graham Liver. It’s been surprisingly busy at work, then I got involved in a job with Citizens’ Advice Bureau, and there was a lads’ walking weekend away at Buttermere in the Lake District, where the weather was, like the pop group, wet, wet, wet. I’ve just finished an article for the Wainwright Society’s magazine (‘Footsteps’) which should appear in their Summer issue. And of course the mother-in-law still needs constant care: Val does the majority but I’m usually on call when she’s at work.
I’ve also been wondering what to do next…
I was thinking about cycling around the coast of Ireland next time but the logisitics aren’t too easy, although I think we could leave a car somewhere near the Dublin ferry terminal to be used as and when we have a change of motorhome crew. But I’m still struggling to find a long enough slot in the year to do it.
Some time back I worked out a route to cycle the accessible islands off the west coast of Scotland – about 36 in all. It’s all very much dependent on ferry timetables and so when the new Calmac summer schedules for 2012 came out I had another look. It’s so complicated that I spent a couple of days on it, but now I’ve got a definite route sketched out. It will take about 27 days; the mileage won’t be excessive but the weather will, of course, be unpredictable and the terrain could be a bit challenging. Mind you the biggest challenge is just getting to all the different ferries on time!
My old pal Richard Dugdale is quite keen to do it, too. On this occasion there will be no lightweight bikes – it will be a case of full panniers, carrying everything you need for four weeks, which will be a change. Whether it’s a nice change I’m not sure! I’ll do a bit more research over Christmas but it’s looking good for May 2012.
In the meantime I must say a big THANK YOU to everyone who supported the bike ride this year in whatever way, and also to those who have donated to Cancer Research UK – donations are still coming in, with two just this week which prove that it’s never too late! But thank you, thank you, thank you, a Merry Christmas to you all and a very Happy New Year.