Friday, 30 May 2014

How time flies...

Nick and I started this fundraising challenge young and free- admittedly we were constrained by annual leave which meant we couldn't do the entire circumnavigation in one trip, but this was a blessing in disguise in many ways. We were forced to spread the trip out over a number of years which meant we actually are raising a great deal more money- initially our goal was to raise £25k, this has now nearly doubled to £40k and we are already 75% of the way there! Thank you to everyone who has donated so far!

What we didn't quite imagine when we started was how we would change over the years. Our jobs have both become more demanding making finding a week we can both make that much harder. We now both have young children and yet again, both of our wives are pregnant. Any father out there will appreciate that leaving home for 10 days while we mess around fundraise on our bikes for a week and a half leaving a pregnant wife and toddler at home is a big ask and we are really very grateful to them for letting us do this year after year- perhaps the most generous 'donation' to our cause yet!

And so, another year has passed and I find myself on the East Coast Mainline up to Scotland for Leg 5 of The RNLI Tour of Britain. We start our journey where we finished off last years trip in the gateway to the Highlands and Islands- Oban*.,+Argyll+and+Bute,+UK/Inverness,+Highland,+UK/@58.6380539,-3.6355006,10z/data=!4m84!4m83!1m75!1m1!1s0x488941d0d2ddf1c1:0x83dd4aff818fc237!2m2!1d-5.471047!2d56.415157!3m4!1m2!1d-5.9790716!2d56.5350657!3s0x488bef19bc45a36f:0x544693465640820a!3m4!1m2!1d-5.4526398!2d56.4348759!3s0x4889678f02ce7e73:0xe9f5ae3a89e5ac2f!3m4!1m2!1d-7.4912711!2d56.9429351!3s0x488cbb95adedcd45:0x9df73095982fa901!3m4!1m2!1d-7.3869265!2d57.2395477!3s0x488cc2a98e2c01d9:0x1760e7999cc746d1!3m4!1m2!1d-5.5837438!2d57.6909774!3s0x488e65f200cc7ce9:0x9f16d1ecf63412c!3m4!1m2!1d-5.1474769!2d57.895633!3s0x488e482c5b2ae68f:0xd4be3e90b2071c18!3m4!1m2!1d-6.385488!2d58.2074444!3s0x488df7d46ee7ca97:0xc08324a659130157!3m4!1m2!1d-4.9408583!2d58.4484677!3s0x48902d94c999ca11:0x29081cffdf237cc8!3m4!1m2!1d-3.620226!2d58.6031269!3s0x489abeb6dac13737:0xa6f2e07c8f877d0e!3m4!1m2!1d-3.2958522!2d58.9620428!3s0x489afa0ef2c28fbb:0x35958c63838e7333!3m4!1m2!1d-3.2041161!2d58.8508743!3s0x489ae4dd65cb7c6b:0x2677058146625c5d!3m4!1m2!1d-2.9064424!2d58.9130272!3s0x489b049e4a40199b:0xa6389f2293c10ef5!3m4!1m2!1d-3.0751574!2d58.5794103!3s0x489ad91997bc4459:0x7e5c80ff8afdbcb2!3m4!1m2!1d-3.1163652!2d58.6386286!3s0x489ade909a0c06e1:0x526f40d4488bb28f!1m5!1m1!1s0x488f715b2d17de2b:0x624309d12e3ec43d!2m2!1d-4.224721!2d57.477773!3e0?hl=en

From Oban, we visit the Inner Hebredes the Outer Hebredes, the Highlands, the Orkney Islands and finish this leg in Inverness on the East Coast of Scotland. An estimated journey of over 1581km (983 miles), the vast majority of which is cycling. The rest, as you might have guessed, is on ferries and we have fortuitously been provided complimentary travel on every ferry service we require, which we are very grateful for. Despite being contractually obliged to do so, I am not the slightest bit apologetic to publically thank CalMac Ferries, North Link Ferries, Orkney Ferrys and John O'Groat Ferries. These companies are inundated with charitable requests (supposedly 10-20 per day!) and understandably can't help everyone so were are very grateful that they decided to help us. 

We must also express our thanks to a couple of others, firstly, the RNLI head office support staff, particularly Natalie Fischer who has been extremely helpful with our numerous requests over the past few years. We recently came to understand that she is leaving RNLI and we'd like to wish her well in her new role at Diabetes UK.

Secondly, I'd like to thank David Palmer of for our fantastic new kit (photos to follow) and his assistance in getting the recent publicity push.

my favourite method of weight saving.

Our bikes are serviced, our bags are packed, weight has been saved wherever possible (see above) other than our our fat reserves which have been diligently built up over the last 12 months. All that remains is to begin our journey of a thousand miles which as Bilbo Baggins- Lao Tzu famously said, must begin with a single step... or pedal... nevermind.  

Supported by a variety of Apple products, where possible we will Tweet, Vine and Blog our progress and really appreciate any comments you have. In return it promise to keep the posts as interesting as possible thus suppressing my desire to describe in intricate detail the particular qualities of the Tarmac or how my cadence changed with the varying gradient, instead opting to post as many amusing photos as I can, with the holy grail being one of Nick half dressed in dubious Lycra garments applying chamois cream to his nether regions. 

On that bombshell of a visualisation, I shall depart. 

*no idea if it is actually referred to as this but it seems appropriate and it sounds good.


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