If you’ve been following my social media feeds over the last week you may have noticed me falling head over heels in love with Scotland.
No matter where I travel in the world, I always come back to the Scottish Highlands. It captured a corner of my heart many years ago and this trip to Scotland has only made that corner bigger.
Last Friday I took the Caledonian Sleeper train over night from London Euston to Fort William. I packed my kit ready for a variety of adventures, and with my bike, boarded the train and settled into my carriage for the night.
The sleeper train takes 13 hours and feels like you’ve been transported into a different world. After a wee dram of whisky on the train to get into the Scottish spirit, I fell into a deep slumber being gently rocked by the train.
The moment I woke up I looked out the window to see us hurtling through mountains dusted with snow. Rivers, lochs, trees, wilderness and nature as far as the eye could see. Like a dog sticking it’s head out the window when you drive out of the city for a run in the woods. That was me. Head out the window, breathing in the air, the wind making tears stream down my face, smiling. Excited about what lay ahead.
I ruddy love that train! Hands down my favourite way to travel to Scotland. It’s magical.
The first thing I always notice (and love) about Scotland is how many less people there are and the ones you meet are so friendly! Keen to share their favourite spots, give recommendations of where to cycle, run or camp, or suggest new whiskies to sample.
I love how I’ve become accustomed to meeting a new person and immediately heading off on an adventure with them. The best and quickest way for a stranger to become a friend. When I knew I was coming to Scotland I put the feelers out there with a few friends to see if they knew anyone up for an adventure. My plan delivered!
Staying on the shores of Loch Linnhe in between Glen Coe and Onich, the first couple of days I headed out cycling on my own in the rain. I loved it. I took the Corran Ferry across to an area I’ve not explored before and cycled for 100km into a head wind and cold rain.
I got a puncture (my first one in over a year!) fixed it and turned back on myself to head home. I relished the time on my own on my bike to explore Scotland, push myself and leave the world behind. Cycling is freedom in every way.
People ask me what I’m up to in Scotland and although I can give a practical answer to that question “I'm here to cycle, run, write, film a documentary, drink whisky..”
After spending a week doing all those things, I know exactly what this trip means to me. Freedom.
Freedom to do the things I love in exactly the way I want to do them. Freedom to make the choice to do them at all. To leave the hustle and bustle, the stress and pressure of London behind and retreat to the mountains, because I can. Because one day I won’t be able to and today is not that day.
I always dreamed of creating a life where I could create freedom around where I worked, what work I did and when I worked. Freedom from the contraints of the office walls and my boss dictacting so much of my life. Today is that day and Scotland, for me, is about making the most of it.
It's a chance to look back at everything that has happened and let go of anything that’s been holding me back. When I run, when I cycle, when I climb, I let go of everything that’s limiting me. I connect with what lights me up, with the fire that is the very essence of me, that’s my source of strength and I focus on that.
Do whatever you can to keep your fire stoked so you can share your light with the world.
Thank you Scotland.
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