Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Epilogue


Sorry for the delay in keeping you up to date! Today was manic from start to finish, so I didn’t get the chance to write this morning. Martin is now home, as you can see from the pictures he had a welcoming party at Carlisle station, much to his surprise and delight. Apart from his family, there were some of his good friends from his mine exploring days, and Marjorie Robertson who is our fundraising contact with the Air Ambulance people – she is the wonderful lady pictured with Martin (just in case you thought it was his wife!).

The weather during Martin’s penultimate night was extremely wet and windy – “hammering it down” on the tent, waking him at 2 in the morning when he ventured outside to tighten up and repair guy ropes. The final day of Martin’s journey seemed never ending, knowing that he was almost there, but still a few miles to go. He was accompanied by Will (not Bill as I said yesterday) to John O’Groats – the reason Will was cycling east whilst travelling anticlockwise was because the road systems did not always make it straightforward getting to all the lifeboat stations and he sometimes had to back track. Will had to get off and walk up all the hills because of the weight of his trailer, but Martin said he positively flew down hills, pushed along by a couple of hundredweight! They shared the special moment of reaching J O’G together which was appreciated by both. They then went for a celebratory pub meal. He was very good company, and Martin was truly sorry to have to say goodbye to him, wishing him luck for his next 3,000 miles.

Reaching the end of his journey appeared to be something of an anticlimax, J O’G being almost identical to Land’s End (actually the whole ‘photo by the landmark post’ thing is run by members of the same family) with nothing really there. Martin’s cycle to Wick station saw him full of energy again, psychologically there was no pressure. We decided after investigation that the train was the better option than the boat.

He set up camp one mile from Wick station in readiness for an early start and a quick dash to catch the 6.22am train. There were mixed emotions during the evening; pleased to have conquered the journey with all its challenges, both physically and mentally, sad that it was all over, pleased to be coming home to his family on the funny farm. Also pleased that he didn’t have to pay for the campsite, as it was not officially open yet! Nothing changes. He woke at three in the morning, and decided that he couldn’t risk going back to sleep and missing his alarm, so opted to stay awake.

Martin was told at the station in the morning that he’d have to send his bike to Inverness on a shuttle van, so waved goodbye to his baby wondering if he’d ever see it again. He had just 15 minutes at Inverness to find the whereabouts of his cycle and get on the train to Carlisle. He had to argue (quite vehemently) with the station guard to get the bike on without prior reservation, which must be done at least 24 hours before boarding. Lovely lovely red tape. He was told that if at any further station someone had a bike reservation and boarded their cycle, Martin would be booted off. He had to argue (each time quite forcibly – he was determined to get home!) with every guard and ticket inspector that he met, and we were not sure right up until he was at Lockerbie, that he would materialise at Carlisle. Troops were immediately scrambled, and Marjorie, Heb, Kirsten, Roger, Rudy, Robb, Nikki, Jodie, Phoebe, myself and a nice lady from the newspaper, plus a few balloons, saw him safely off the train.

Well, that’s it from me, now it’s over to Martin to continue his story. I feel as though I’ve done my bit for charity whilst he’s been gone; looking after four kids (including one very stroppy teenager who came so close to being auctioned on ebay she’ll never know), three horses, two dogs and a partridge in a pear tree. Oh, and an on-the-run psychiatric patient, who had stopped taking the medication, turning up at the end of my hotel shift at 11pm when I was the only member of staff on duty, finally being escorted off the premises by the boys in blue three hours later. Mad!

1 Comments:

Anonymous ChrisB said...

Hi Martin, Its Wills brother Chris webmaster for his site www.spoke2soon.co.uk, well done on completeing your journey. I will be adding a news update to Wills site very soon and he has sent me a some stuff about your quest. If you have any pictures of yourself or Wills feel free to send them to me via the site contact the webmaster button. Also we have a mini forum you can normally get hold of me on as well. Once again well done in your quest and I hope my bro didnt get you to drunk :-)

Monday, June 19, 2006  

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