I am opening a little window into my John O’Groats to Lands End (JOGLE) adventure.

These blogs are a combination of photo’s, lessons from the road and the ‘relive’ video that shows my daily journey through the UK. It is not the full story, that is something for a longer conversation or may be a book!

I hope you enjoy your peak into the days of an End to Ender.

Day Three – JOGLE

The last two mornings had been greeted with awe and wonder, today though, I woke up with fear and trepidation.

It’s just as you imagine, a few things going slightly wrong. Something out of kilter and little things start to bug you. Only looking back on the day can I reflect on this, but at the time I was just having an odd morning.

By mid morning I was going around in circles in Inverness – watch the relive it’s comedy. At lunch I was no where near where I expected to be and although I had changed my route this was not the problem. It was all about me.

Realising I was cycling within myself and feeling every bump in the road. Dialling up the intensity of my grumbling stomach did not help either. I focused so much on what I needed – in this case the toilet and no toilet to be found. It all became a blur. I found respite at the top of one of the peaks, a cafe stop near the waterfall. It was here I experienced my first open act of kindness. It drew me to silent tears as I sat so alone in a cafe brimming with people. They were happy / not so happy tears that reminded me what the journey was all about; how I wanted to fill my days with adventure and experience it for everything that it could throw at me.

It was a few miles further along the road where I finally shed my gremlin. It took more tears and meeting my self doubt head on before I realised that I was shouting to the mountains. The raw sound of my voice screaming out the words that I needed to hear. It was a release that had been fighting to get out for some time.

There is another blog in the pipeline that dives into this more deeply. It gives you an idea of what you can do to seize the moment to rid yourself of those pesky thoughts that keep you playing safe and small. For now though I was ready to continue.

It is fair to say that this day was profoundly life enhancing.

It was certainly a day of two halves – the first spent in the damp wilderness of my soul the second bordering on Disney with a vibrant sunshine quality.

  • Miles : 80.5* (frustration with my Garmin as it stopped at mile 75.5 more than 5 miles from Banavie!)
  • Meters Climbed : 1,568
  • Average Speed : 9.1

Day Three #LessonsfromtheRoad

Today I shout to the wind ‘I am enough’. I need to be bold and brave and the courage to call this forth from within the confines of my soul is important. Sometimes you need to say it so loud you can actually hear it.

Day Three in Photo’s

I set off in the pouring rain and spend the first 5 miles navigating the busy traffic on the A9, even at 8am this road is not pleasant.  Finally over the Cromarty Firth Bridge I take a left turn onto smaller back roads. The rain seems to stop immediately, which tells me more about the water coming up from the road rather than sky!

The back roads are quiet, although I knew I would take a less direct and slightly hillier route to Inverness. I am flanked by blue bell woods and the earthy, sweet smell is fabulous.

I had no idea what today would bring and so I started to reflect on what brought me here. I wrote a few blogs in my head as I rode and these will be published over the coming months. It was, in short, a productive if a little damp few hours.

 

As I found my way into Inverness I was reminded of a conversation with my companion on the sleeper train. We spoke about many things in that short time. I was particularly interested in her business – she was a Micro Biologist studying the farming of seaweed as a sustainable raw material (not a food source); she also farmed Oysters! If that wasn’t enough she pointed me to this fabulous cycling cafe ‘Velocity‘ a social enterprise that promotes healthy, happy lifestyles through cycling.  I had to visit.

I was not disappointed – even if I got lost on my way out. The cafe was the perfect place to dig into a second breakfast and put some much needed air into my tyres.

After a while the River Ness feeds into Loch Ness and you start the long lumpy road along the shore line. After about 15 miles you leave the waters edge and climb. It was here that things really started to turn dark. As I cycled a title of a book, that I read as a teenager, kept popping into my head – The Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul. It has nothing to do with cycling in Scotland but the title wouldn’t leave me. I looked it up when I returned – its the time between 2:55 and 4:00 on a Sunday afternoon when you know the weekend is over and yet your working week hasn’t yet begun – a void if you will. I think it describes perfectly that moment when all you do is wait for time to tick by and you know that when it finally does you will feel altogether better about things. Thanks Douglas Adams you still have a profound effect on me after all these years.

So here I was, in the long dark team time of my soul. Shouting at the mountains and finding the belief within myself to keep going. You can imagine, even from these pictures how soul destroying a view like this can be when you are not in your right mind.

As I ascended the last hill – the one you can see in the distance on the last picture – I thrust my arm in the air as a salut to my achievement. An embarrassing moment as I realised I was being followed by a few cars and some sheep! Ahh what the hell – I did it and I was proud.

 

Moving onwards to my destination I finally shuffled into the light. Continuing my journey along the NCN78 I found myself on a flatter course, along quiet cycle lanes and smaller lochs. I began to breath deeply and found myself enjoying the scenery and the ride again. Smiling and singing as I crunched my way along the gravel tow paths and tree lined trails.

 

My day was not yet done – I still had 20 or so miles to go and it was nearly 5:30pm. The time on the bike had been hard going already but the toughest terrain was still to come. On advice from the lock keeper at Caenn Loch I continued on the Great Glen Way following the NCN78. Described to me as a towpath, similar to what I had already experienced and it would mean avoiding the busy A82.  Yep another ‘you don’t want to go that way’ moment. This one was to have a different consequence.

It was not a towpath! It was 15 miles or so of off-road terrain akin to some forest trails and more suited to a mountain bike.

The low point was dropping all my hola hoops on the floor whilst trying to gauge how far I still had to go, the highlight was laughing at myself as I cried over a bag of spilt hula hoops!

Indeed it was the mindful focus that I required on this rough terrain that kept me moving forward and smiling. After all a bike ride isn’t a bike ride without a story – christ I could write a book from just this one day.

Day Three – Relive the event

Work with Nicky and live your adventure

As a bravery coach I support my clients to get curious about living a life full of adventure and find the courage to step out of their comfort zone. We work in partnership – I listen, reflect and empower my clients to create action from inaction and encourage them to follow their dreams and ideas through to conclusion.

Could this be the moment you stopped wishing and started doing?

 

 

 

Nicky completed JOGLE in May 2017 raising money and awareness for Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court. To find out why Nicky chose this charity you can follow this link.

To sponsor Nicky you can head to JustGiving and pledge your donation.

Visit Other JOGLE Journals

Day 1 :  Day 2 : Day 3 :