A Journey into Scotland : Part The Last

Thank You and Farewell

From Culloden my journey took me back towards the A9 and my memories fade. I spent the night in Kingussie (sort of pronounced kin  goosey but the first syllable is very soft and gentle) after ploughing over the mountain pass at Slochd Summit. To be honest I was heads down most of the way having received a call to get back to Devon even quicker than planned. I had thought of putting the bicycle on the train but was determined to reach both Malton and Huddersfield as these had been important places in my past and the journey was intended to take in every place I had ever lived. Malton would bring my formative years to an end. From there I got accepted at university and moved to Manchester to begin a new chapter of my life. A chapter that began by leaving school at sixteen with a handful of unimpressive qualifications and a job offer at a petrol filling station.

I stayed on the bicycle and headed south as fast as my legs would take me.

I couldn’t resist anything out of the ordinary and enjoyed brewing up at Carrbridge where the ancient pack bridge is reputed to be the oldest in Scotland. In days gone by the local loons invented their own version of tombstoning here and dived off. These days you’re advised to stay well back. The major damage was done in a flood many years ago. It is quite a sight.

Slochd SummitCarsbridgeAviemoreA steam train near Aviemore. I’m reliably informed that this is as good a view of Aviemore as you are likely to get.

Blair AtholThe road from Kingussie to Perth took me over another high pass at Drumochter. Again the road builders have made this a relatively easy climb for a fit cyclist and I was pretty fit by this time. Once past Pitlochry (where there are many opportunities to top up with short bread, sporrans and Arran sweaters before heading south) the land levels out and you are effectively in Lowland Scotland.

Scotlandcairngormscairngorms 2

I stayed at Perth and then did my first hundred mile plus day by making the border town of Melrose. I continued taking photographs but these have been lost or mis-laid. In a way this whole story has been to write the notes to go with the packs of photographs that remained hidden in a box file for nearly 30 years. The photographs have run out and so has my story. From Melrose I came back into England over Carter Bar. I made it as far as Acomb and the following day slept in Edmundbyers before another all day cycle brought me to Malton. I made it to Huddersfield  and the morning after cycled to Halifax where I caught a train to Preston (as the Huddersfield train wouldn’t take a bicycle). I arrived back in Exeter happy, healthy and owing a few bob.

I completed my score for the theatre company and performed with a few small troupes before accepting a teaching job in Halifax and beginning a career that lasted a quarter of a century.

Thank you for reading. I’ve enjoyed re-living some journeys and sharing a few thoughts on food along the way. I’ll keep the blog open and may even pen a few posts in the future. I can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed your company and reading your blogs (which I shall continue to do) and I wish you all the very best.

Fondest regards