Sunday, June 26, 2011

Review One Man and his Bike - Mike Carter

Just left the following review on Amazon

Just finished reading Mike Carter's One Man and his Bike and I loved it. Ok I had a vested interest for reading the book as both my Dad and myself get a mention, but that aside, this book shows that Britain is not broken.

One Man and his Bike takes the reader on a journey around the coast of Britain. Mike writes really well and the book is a compelling and an enjoyable read. In places I found myself laughing out loud especially when he talks about what he packed in his panniers! There is no room on a bike for a “just in case” ! He talks about the places and the people he meets on his trip. How strangers want to talk to you, are interested in what you are doing and most of all offer such kindness. I know this to be true as while Mike was cycling anti-clockwise around Britain my Dad was cycling clockwise. Strangers think nothing of inviting you into their home, feeding you and offering you a bed for the night.

Most people will have visited or know of the places that Mike talks about so when reading this book it will bring back many fond memories of times spent around the coast of Britain.

For anyone with a bike, a tent and few months on their hands, forget about doing Lejog/Jogle this is what you should be doing. Oh and don’t do it for charity …. do it for the fun of.

Camping/biking in Scotland

Dad has had a few days camping at Barcaldine camping and caravan site which is about 12 miles north of Oban. A nice campsite but the only drawback the nearest place to eat/get a pint was 12 miles away (that was probably Oban !).  He's had a hike up to the trig point on Glen Stockdale but mostly he's been out on the bike. There are some good cycle routes around that area. He's had a couple of rides into Oban.

On Friday he took the ferry from Port Appin over to the Isle of Lismore. Bargain at £1.50 for foot passengers - the bike went free! The isles is just 12 miles long by 1.5 miles wide (I think even I could ride that !) so Dad rode out to the lighthouse for dinner. The name Lismore comes from the Gaelic "Great Garden" ... I think that would be lost on my Dad ! Dad was going to stop off somewhere en-route back to the campsite for tea but couldn't find anywhere so it was back to the campsite and Dad rustled up "Jack's Greatest Menu" - cup-a-soup, beef curry and smash and a tin of rice pudding for afters!  He managed to see two eagles. One was in the distance the other was flying down the lane in from of him. Wonder if Dad managed to tuck in behind and get in it's slipstream!

On Saturday it rained so he decided to head off on his bike to the Sealife Centre. However there was no where secure to leave his bike - they told him to "park" it on the car-park so Dad decided to give it a miss. Why advertise the Sealife Centre on the cycle routes if there isn't anywhere secure to leave a bike ! So Dad headed back to the campsite with a Sunday paper. By the time he'd read it the rain had stopped so he went off for a ride. He managed to see deer and he also saw another eagle which landed in a tree but by the time he'd got his binoculars out it had flown off.

Just spoke to Dad - he was in the shower block. I did say that was a bit much information! It rained all last night and today. It rained so much last night that his tent sprung a leak (an ex-plumber should be used to dealing with leaks!) and his sleeping bag got wet. So tonight he is in Loch Lomond YHA. Dad apparently got the last bed  It's a great hostel - I've stayed in it myself. I was giving Dad directions to the local pub/restaurant but Dad has said if it doesn't stop raining he ain't going out! He's been down to see what food they have on in the hostel but apparently the Chef hasn't turned up. I can see my Dad offering "Jack's Greatest Menu" to others in the hostel :)  I wonder how many cup-a-soup he has left !

He's met a fellow septuagenarian cyclist in his dorm who is tracing a route he cycled in 1952 ! I bet there will be some cycling stories swapped tonight.

Tomorrow he is heading on down to the Lake District to meet up with friends.

He'll probably be home Wednesday.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Spoke to Dad earlier. He has moved on from his friend Bill's house today to an independant hostel at Kinlochleven.  I think it's probably Blackwater Hostel. He had tried to get in at the hostel at Glencoe but they were full.

Today has been wet. He did set out walking up one of the munroes but at around 2,000 ft the cloud and rain set in so he turned back. Shame as there were only another 1,000 ft to go.

His intention was to camp tonight but the rain put the dampers on that ! Up until today the weather has been great. It's not been going dark til about 11.00 pm. Tonight he's hoping to get a pint or two in. 

Tomorrow he is heading towards Oban.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Still in Scotland

Spoke to Dad earlier ... well it is father's day ! He's had a good time at Dundonnel. He even had chance to go up An Teallach  which at 3,400ft is quite a climb! Weather has been mixed while they been at Dundonnel.

He is now staying with Bill again at Cuil Bay Duror. He's been there a couple of days. They had a trip part way up Ben Nevis in the gondala and watched the downhill mountain bikers. They can get down from the gondala station to the bottom in four minutes ! Dad says it's like they are flying down the mountain. Rather them than me !

Today he has been for a walk along the Cuil Bay this morning and this afternoon Dad has helped Bill in the garden. Dad is no gardener and cannot distinguish a plant from a weed so had to be given lessons on what to cut and what not to cut!

Tomorrow they are off to Glen Etive.

Monday, June 13, 2011

What makes a man a Dad

I entered a competition on Photobox ... Man to Dad. What makes a man a Dad. The photo I entered was Dad returning from cycling the coast of Britain. Not the best piece of photography I've done but it caught the moment as he saw us all out waiting from him on his return.

Well the photo got shortlisted to a list of 70. It then got into the Judges Favourite of which there are 21. I'm well happy.

This is the photo I entered

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Scottish trip.

Had a few texts from Dad when he could get a signal.which I seem to have deleted ! Apparently they'd never planned to go to Skye. Dad had assumed when they were heading to Mallaig that they were going to Skye. He even commented that they had set off at the wrong time to catch the ferry ! However it was the ferry to Inverie that they were heading for!

Following a few days in Inverie they headed off to Achininver where they stayed in the Hostel . Looks a very nice isolated hostel ! Spoke to Dad when he was on the top of Stac Pollaidh or Stack Polly. Well it was one of the few places he could get a signal. Great views from up there !

He is currently at Ullapool staying at the hostel.  It can't be very photogenic as there is no photo on the web page !  Today it's been a wet day but so far on this trip he hasn't done bad for weather.

On Tuesday he'll be heading for Dundonnel and staying in Sail Mhor hostel.

Will update when I hear more.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Mike Carter - One Man and his Bike

Well Dad's fathers day present arrived today ... Mike Carter's book One Man and his Bike. Mike cycled in the opposite direction to Dad around the coast of Britain. Dad met up with Mike twice. Just flicking through the book and I notice as well as Dad I get a mention. The only time I see Kendal in print is in a road atlas ! So I've had to order another copy!

Anyone interested in the book - Amazon are selling it for £6.95 at the moment.

Looking forward to reading it.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Cycling around Coast of Britain some updates

Mike Carter the journalist who Dad met up with a couple of times whilst cycling around Britain has published his book and it's now out. It's called One Man and his bike .  Got Dad a copy for fathers day .... just waiting for Amazon to deliver it. I think I may have a sneaky read before Dad as he's away until the mid/end of June !  Apparently Dad gets a mention !

I've also had a tweat from a Anne Hughes (@EatSleepCycle) who is in the "planning" stage of her own cycle ride of the coast of Britain. She has a blog as well for those who want to follow her journey.

Bonnie Scotland

Well Dad had a good journey up to Bonnie Scotland calling in at Fort William on the way. He had a few days staying with a friend a Cuil Bay. Weather was fantastic ... clear blue skies. They had a drive over to Glencoe and a walk around the lake watching the fishermen.

The plan according to Dad was on Friday to catch the ferry from Malliag over to Skye. However I got an answerphone message to say there had been a change of plan and they were now in Inverie - which when I looked at the travel plan that Dad's friend had done that's exactly where they should be! Dad was probably reading the plan upside down (a bit like his map reading !).

So Dad is now in Inverie. They are staying in Torrie Sheiling bunkhouse - which is so remote I can't even find a photo !

Anyway I don't expect to hear from him now until Tuesday as the area has no phone signal. !

Will update when I hear again.