Attempting to make it as a writer

Posts tagged ‘whiskey’

Drive across Britain – Home

IMG_0681I woke up today in a nearly familiar bed!

It wasn’t me that leapt out of bed to go running, I crawled still numb from the drive yesterday and snuck downstairs to leave a tired and achy husband in bed.  Moments later in a change from his Lycra, Sexy Sporty Dad appeared in running shorts and left the house.  He completed a childhood run that he had done many times before but not for a long time.

Of course Sexy Sporty Dad has now completed his challenge.  He has cycled end to end across Britain, and I have driven the distance almost with him.  My job however is not quite complete we need to get home from the most easterly point in northern Britain all the way down to the south coast.

DSC_0706My trusty Sat Nav discarded by Sexy Sporty Nav and his cherished map, more or less as soon as he got in the car, not that I have found the journeys difficult to navigate.  I have found the roads in Scotland particularly, very easy, very smooth and very empty apart from the odd cyclist.

There was one place I still had on my list to visit whilst in Scotland.  I had planned to visit theDSC_0642 Morangie Distillery as I was almost sleeping in the vats but as luck and planning would have it; they were closed on a Sunday.  Fortunately I had noticed as I passed through Fort William the first time that Ben Nevis Distillery is on the edge of town.

DSC_0652Monday morning saw both of us being shown round the distillery,  taken between the vast wash back vats full of fermenting beer and the huge heating bins. Watching the steam from the first heat of liquor,  I realised I have not smelt malt since my parents brewed their own beer.  The strength of that heady childhood smell followed us around as our guide shouted his information.

I feel my hero Matthew and his wife now take a new twist as they will most certainly have to be involved or linked with whiskey.  Every tiny town seems to have its own distillery.  Whether he plays a hand inventing whiskey, developing the amber nectar or just drinking it you will have to read the book to see what I decide.  He will DSC_0650have to stop here in Scotland as the journey back is too far for Sexy Sporty Dad to try cycling home just yet.  Let me knit his story from the Cornish mining backdrop through the rich and dramatic tapestry of Scotland’s landscape and furnish him with a fitting finale in or around John O’Groats.

IMG_0690We set off again to retrace our separate routes through the most glorious Glen Coe.  The weather cannot be normal, the sun shining, not a cloud in the sky and the view of the valley mind-blowing.  I complained at the slow progress it took me on the way up due to all the cyclists but today I had a photographer in my midst and we had to stop for each wow vista and there were so many. Every turn opened up another stretch of valley enclosed by the shadow of the mountains reaching to the sea.

A brief stop at Gretna Green shopping outlet gave us a chance to catch our breath and move around from the position imposed by the confines of a car seat.    Then we were back in England.  I had one quick stop to make.   I wanted to visit the house backing on to the graveyard where my friend and fellow writer Shelley Stewart’s based her first children’s book DSC_0742Templeton’s Tale.

Then we ploughed on suddenly meeting traffic for the first real time since the journey to Land’s End.    We reached DSC_0736Manchester and a welcome from Sexy Sporty Dad’s father with fish and chips on the table and a nearly familiar bed ready and waiting.  It did not take either of us long to melt into the softness and warmth of sleep.

Lands’ End to John O’Groats

The statistics are:

We drove 188 miles to Lands’ End

Sexy Sporty Dad cycled – 970 miles in 9 days

I drove 1140 miles to John O’Groats in 9 days

We drove 2111 miles in total over 12 days.

We did 778 miles in just 3 days to reach home

And let that be a salutary lesson to anyone who suggests travelling via any form from end to end.

Home to my own bed, to my three boys who we have missed dreadfully, and back to work that maybe we haven’t missed quite so much!

IMG_0691My trusted companion the credit card will now have to be paid back but, we had such a blast just spend spend spending.  There were far more important things to prioritise such as which hotel or B&B to stay in, where I might find my next meal from the chequered choice available, and of course how much support, sympathy for the sores and succour I could give Sexy Sporty Dad.

I could never do what he has done but driving is no lesser achievement in my eyes.  Each person has their own capabilities and talents to be used in the way only they can.  In all the celebrations surrounding my beloved husband someone said to me;

“You can always pretend you did it too; especially if you don’t mention the car”.

My reply;

“Read the blog!”

 

Tiggy

The official results are just in; Sexy Sporty Dad came 43rd out of all those who took part over the whole week.  Which I think is quite an incredible achievement although we are constantly reminded that it is not a race!  It also opens the scary question what will he do next?

the route

Drive across Britain – Tain

DSC_0509
So guess who got the Hotel Morangie  in Tain – hope my family are proud  as I know one or two of them at least are partial to a wee dram of Glen MorangieIMG_0625

A management decision this morning I am not running as I have 84 miles to go to get to John O’Groats and then another 184 back to Fort William; I stayed in bed and although I could not sleep, I did doze.  The cyclists, 16 miles away were going to be up and out from 6 am to give them a good chance of finishing and setting off home in daylight.  I did manage a final ‘good luck and keep going’ via text, but suspect he will not read it till later.

DSC_0513Yesterday I left Fort William and took the road along to Fort Augustus where the road split to travel up either side of Loch Ness.  What an incredible sight as you get your first view. The road is windy with places to stop and photograph or marvel, which I did many a time so it took a long time to reach the Exhibition Centre.

This was one interactive tour I was going on.  So having done the tour, am I convinced either way.  They were able to explain many sightings and photographs with a lot of highly creative plausible explanations .  The one thing they cannot prove is the truth of the monster; but of course she is not going to show herself to us mere mortals is she?

Could Matthew and his new wife, yet to be named, meet up with the monster.  They will be travelling up one side or IMG_0613the other of the loch.  The monster was very popular in the 1700s, so could they have a pet? Or be involved with a discovery.   Read the book to find out how I decide to weave this into the plot.

Base camp tonight was at Bonar Bridge.  A very damp and dismal camp.  People were coming in late, cold, wet and wishing it was all over.  Sexy Sporty Dad reflected the same reaction and having droped back to 86th, which I thought was still impressively brilliant, was tempted to curl up in a warm bed without the requirement to leap on another bicycle.  But having done this far and only one day to go had enough determination and will power to complete one more day.  He is not as tired as last evening and not too battered, and quite happy to loll in the comfy chairs provided.

IMG_0642The kind people from Deloittes had provided a drying room , which was in constant use but very effective. I left him to his buffet meal and an early night.

I on the other hand had struggled to find a B&B in Bonar Bridge and discovered which ever search engine I tried they all came back with Hotel Morangie  which was over 16 miles from base camp.  So having done the wifely duty I came back to my Scotish hunting hotel 200 yards from the entrance to the distillery for Glen Morangie Whiskey.

Luckily they also had a restaurant where I was treated to haggis filled chicken with a whiskey cream sauce.  Middle son might be able to replicate the meal for me but I suspect would not be able to readily lay his hands on the Haggis.IMG_0650

The building and fine stags head in the hall may be dated but the internet and wifi were very up to date.

I have learned  I cannot do bridges.   I love bridges you know the little old stone ones with the slow nearly dried up river still struggling to flow underneath.   It’s the big ones – I discovered going across the Severn earlier in the week that I felt ill driving across – well I have been across a few yesterday and now know I have a fear of driving over large expanses of water.   I was overtaken going over one today, which was nearly enough to push me over the edge!

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