It’s been another great week for Ride2Recovery. I’ve ridden to a site just South of Nairn. Tomorrow I go to Inverness to do a few jobs before heading off to J.O.G, which I should reach later in the week.

Today, I sat on the beach overlooking the Moray Firth, the last barrier of water going North. Waves thundered into the White sand for as far as the eye could see, before whispering and babbling back out, energy dispersed.

There was one person there, plus their dog!

The horizon has changed. Rolling Aberdeenshire farmland has been replaced by mountains. Soft grass and Heath is now Heather and rock pointing skywards. My favourite terrain, where the mountains meet the sea.

I’m camping a few miles from Inverness, the highland capital, after a 250 mile, 5 day stint. Every day last week was amazing from the cities to the dolphins in the bay at Findochty. The whole area from St Andrews up to here has an aire of peace about it. Everywhere is wide open and feels big and quite remote, despite lots of farmsteads and hamlets.
The lift for cycles and pedestrians on the Tay bridge, that takes you from bridge down to road, is just lush, and made me feel first class.

This week, massive storms reminded me of what it can do up here when it wants to. I spotted a tornado at one point hanging down from one of many, battleship like, clouds!!

I got lucky in that I only got really wet once, with most of the rain falling on me overnight, and me storm dodging during the days. Packing away a soggy tent is something I’ve done a lot as is putting it up drenched, inside and out. Riding into wind never changes, it’s tough.

Sat on the beach today, I had some strong memories return. Things I’d locked away so as not to think about them. This is a sure sign that I’m opening up, getting ready to face these and move on. The sea was deafening, but still these thoughts popped up, like flashbacks, making me uncomfortable and sad. Walking back this all faded, replaced by the scent of poppies and honeysuckle.
It was one of those moments when you see how alone you are. The memories were all of people now gone, some recently, and some long ago.

I didn’t try and process this, I just felt it, not catching hold or trying to understand. It struck me on the way back that all the people who I had ever been this way with, were no longer part of my life. This in turn reminded me of how life constantly changes, never the same for more than a few moments.

Earlier today, I bumbled out of the tent, still stumbling Like a drunk from the effects of my medication, and another camper said hello, quickly followed by “do you fancy a bacon sandwich and coffee or tea”. In my befuddled state I stopped, said I was fuddled and asked, if he had just asked me, if I wanted a bacon sandwich, which he confirmed.

Soon after that, I was chatting to Derek and Joan in their campervan, munching on a lovely bacon and egg sandwich with said coffee. It was them who told me of the beach and the path that lead there, so I have them to thank for that, and breakfast. Retiring next year, they had bought the van in readiness, and were coming to the end of their own holiday.

If I were travelling with somebody else, I’m sure I wouldn’t have as many of these wonderful encounters, but then, I would have somebody to share the memories and views with. Still, you can’t have everything and I already have so much.
Leaving here tomorrow I have to do chores in Inverness. The bank, an outdoor shop to try to sort the self deflating mattress and the leaky tent and post office to send home maps that are done with.

The tent came with a card attached saying you (I) should silicone seal the tent before use, in very small wording. This is normal for most siliconised nylon tents, and if yours doesn’t say that, it should (with a few exceptions).
Having done that, it still leaks and I’m getting very Fed up with water dripping on my head if the inner is open and water dripping from the ridge. Looking at the front, there is a dip, where water collects, at the point where the two poles cross. A design fault, I think so?

Anyway, it’s hardly trip threatening, but annoying all the same. It seems trips like this test anything to it’s limit. Read any travel site and this is blatantly obvious.So far I’m on tent three, cooker number two and about to replace the mattress. Marketing and extreme use don’t mix because most people don’t actually use kit that much and marketing is bullshit!!!!
The bike continues to be comfy, efficient and lovely to ride, the only product that does exactly what it says it will. Good on you Santos.

The Brooks saddle is well broken in, although it’s been feeling a bit hard recently as my backside doesn’t actually have any fat left at all to cushion it!!

No complaints though, body and mind keep functioning well, the weathers ace (until Tuesday night?), and life feels good. Stay well wherever you are and keep pedalling.