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Friday, 17 August 2012

The Uber Montage

Thankyou to everyone that has followed the blog, supported our efforts and been with us every pedal of the way. You still have time to sponsor us by following the information below.

Remember you can sponsor us with My charity being The Erskine charity - go here to sponsor or text LLCI81 £5 (or whatever amount) to 70070 

and Ewans charity is Alzheimer Scotland - you can go here to sponsor: or text JGGO80 £5 (or whatever amount) to 70070  

Any sponsorship will be greatly appreciated.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Uber Challenge Day 6

Ok the last day of the Uberchallenge was the real behemoth and the reason the general public and our adoring masses should sponsor our sorry asses. But, before I send you all on a beautiful trip through a splendrific (that's also a word) Scotland, I would like to thank my friend Duff for plastering semi-clad pics of me sleeping and all farmers tanned over the world wide web. He was showing his first signs of grumpiness on day 5. Which, to be fair were long over due and this certainly shone through on day 5's post.

So after gorging ourselves on Chinese the night before we were psyched and ready to play cycling hardball. We had 72 miles to do. Duff, for the first time, showed ever so slight uncertainty. But, was, as usual,still confident in completing the 72 mile cycling marathon that would end in Berwick-upon-Tweed sometime before dusk
Cycling game face ready to bring my A game to Berwick

Unbelievably, We arose at 5.40 and were turning the pedals southward by 6am. We needed all the time we could squeeze out of the day to increase our chances of winning. Below is a picture from about 6.30 which you will be able to figure out by the long shadows. If not watch a bit more Ray Mears.
So we powered out of South Queensferry, flew through Dalment and cruised through Crammond before hitting Edinburgh. This proved trickier but we figured it by sticking to side roads and using our smart phones and our smart brains. Fortunately, Edinburgh is quiet at 7 on a saturday morning.

It was the last day and pictures had become more sparse as we tired through the days. Here is one crap picture of Edinburgh Castle. I guess everyone has seen it before anyways.

This tunnel was pretty cool. I wouldn't recommend it at night though. As even big men like me and Duff would be a wee bit scared.

Anyway, Edinburgh wasn't easy but we made it fluently enough. As we hit 37.5 miles we finally took a break and we had a lie down on what was as Duff proclaimed not only the comfiest concrete in the world but the comfiest place he'd ever been.

Fifteen minutes and some caramel shortcake later we moved on. Little more than 50 yards away we stumbled across a dead mole. I'd never seen a real mole and Duff chose to pick it up. You would know this if you read a previous blog about the flattened fox frisbee roadkill incident of July. It's an excellent picture of Duff never mind the mole.

I moved off quickly as I was scared he would throw it at me. I hoped his love of animals would help him to see sense and avoid this. He did as he kindly tossed it in the gutter. Only joking he laid it in the grass.

Anyway, the next section was undoubtedly the most grueling part of our trip. We decided we would stop for lunch 5 miles after Dunbar. Unfortunately, towns in these parts are thin on the ground and a good hour and a half of cycling uphill and into a strong headwind our sprits were at an all time low. We knew we had a long way to go and I was starving. Then, we stumbled across a hillbilly caravan park in Pease Cove or the middle of nowhere as it could easily be called. It was a nice part of the world if it wasn't for all the caravans and people. Anyway, as we stumbled into the social club at 1.55 we were delighted to find they served food until 2. Close call. To our delight the Rangers game was on the big screens all over the pub. Bad news as we watched them somehow salvage a draw against Peterhead. Things were grim as we took on a 15 degree hill for half a mile. This preceded a three mile uphill into the strong wind. Not many pics were taken. Eventually, 25 miles late, after an almighty hill just after Eyemouth we saw an England sign and made the most of it. We had conquered Scotland. Now before you look at the pics. I am unhappy with the current overuse of the word BOOM amongst the kids of today. So, children of today, here are some alternatives:







It was harder coming up with those alternatives than I had envisaged. But, now I'm through and I move on. Duff said he was done and he'd conquered Scotland. I said the challenge was Tongue to Berwick-Upon-Tweed and we weren't complete but I said I would go and get Lisa and come back for him. You see, it was actually an oversight by me as I thought B-U-T was actually right on the border. Unfortunately it was 2 miles over. As oversights go this was a bad one as we'd already done 72 miles today.He then said he would just come as he'd get cold.
Three leg sapping miles down and a near fall from Duff we realised we had taken a wrong turning (the first bad one of the trip as we got to an uncrossable fjord. The first bad one of the trip. So we headed back up a steep hill and all three miles and I mean ALL THREE MILES back to the England sign before heading up a major road that we decided must lead to Berwick and joy of all untold joys it did. 

I envisaged finishing at the beach and running into the sea but after heading down hill for ages through the town I gave Duff two options. Go and find Lisa who'd lovingly came to collect us or stay on Berwick Upon Tweed main street and get Lisa to come to us. Understandably, he opted for the latter.
Lisa and me happy to see a car I could travel in

Rather excellently Lisa had been food shopping for us and we enjoyed an excellent meal. DUff almost immediately fell asleep. We then continued to gasp as we could go so fast so easily in the car. We gasped all the way to Edinburgh at just how far we'd travelled.

We had completed 317 miles and made it from tip to toe. A phenomenal achievement particularly for Duff as he had hardly trained. He claims to have proved you don't have to. It's a fairly sound argument. I'm laughing thinking about what he did with such awful preparation. He claimed to have completed running in 2010 at the Inverness marathon. On the way home he claimed to have completed cycling and said he was never going to cycle again. I knew this was coming. It was obvious. Anyway, this was an incredible achievement. 317 miles cycling the length of a country carrying all his belongings including a tent . Please remember he only learned how to cycle in October and is still really shaky. Also, he hadn't even cycled with panniers before Tongue and on the last day we were on the road for thirteen and a half hours. We cycled 12 hours and 15 minutes of them. So Duff and your grumpy lazy ways we salute you and thanks for joining me on my trip and making it fun and interesting. There, that's one nice thing I've said about you. It's the first and last.

The Uber Challenge - Day 5

I awoke in a cloud of comfort, the bed was a delight and the room was lovely and bright. Had The Uber Challenge proved to tough a test? Had it claimed me as a victim? Was I in Heaven? As my senses returned I rolled over to this sight...


...I hasten to add that this IS a twin room with a big gap between the beds.
After a the shock of seeing that gigantic oaf breakfast was needed, another lovely cooked breakfast and loads of OJ and we were raring to....ready to....ok, we left.

On we went, taking some lovely snaps as we approached Perth 

Using phones and wonderful mappagemanship (that's a word) we got through but were left with a tricky choice. In one direcection we had a busy dual carriageway that spelled certain death or at the very least a skint knee. The other direction was a nice quiet road that would lead us to where we wanted to go but at the expense of an extra 4 miles. It was a tricky one but ultimately Ewan put the choice on my head, his experienced cyclemanship (thats's a word) meant either way was possible for him. I thought long and hard and in the end laziness defeated fear and we burst onto the dual carriageway, flames sprang up in our wake as we hared down the road during a brief quiet spell. 200 hundred yards around the bend we were rewarded for our bravery by a cycle path that lead for a couple of miles, downhill no less.

The joy was shortlived though as there is only one thing that follows a big downhill, a bigger uphill. I will take this time to suggest to cycle path designers to try to avoid mountains in future. The hills were hard, and I mean HARD! I stopped halfway up (and every 20 metres in between) to gasp like an asthmatic bulldog on a hiking trip in the Himalayas. I also devoured a few jelly babies and took this picture.

Some view but I could have just googled it. I carried on and, like clock work, any time I struggled up a hill Ewan was waiting at the top pointing a camera at me and grinning like a chesire pain in the ar*e!

Lunch was needed by now and we stopped at Glenfarg, a town that should have whimsical old men racing down hillsides in bath tubs. The place we went into looked a bit up market for us but we were made to feel welcome. We had seen a sign outside for sandwiches and wasn't long before our fish and chips and steak pie arrived. As we sat there all alone a throwaway comment sent us into a fit of hysterics, we knew it was down to tiredness that we should be so amused at nothing.

We carried on after our lunch and the tired hysterics soon returned as I sang like a Jamaican and then we did Steve Marriot impressions cycling along to The Small Faces. We must have looked like maniacs cycling with tears streaming down our face shouting out "HUH" "HUP" and "YEAHHH" along to the music, after turning a corner the look on the gentlemans face who was out walking his dogs with his young son confirmed my theory.

The hills didn't get much easier but we eventually made it on through Kinross and on to Dunfermline.

Dunfermline for me has burnt it's bridges with it's difficult to follow cycle routes and ridiculous rush hour traffic, I won't be back! Eventually we found our way through and after asking a few folk we made our way to the fourth road bridge.

If you will recall I have already mentioned my healthy respect/heart stopping fear of bridges and heights but I was assured this had a sizeable cycle track, although one direction giver had mentioned how windy it was on there....thanks mouth!

Ewans exasperatingly high spirits continued as he beemed on the bridge. I was not so happy, it was a horrendous experience and I stuck to the centre line on the path like glue. At one point 3 cyclists approached me, 3 abreast, THREE ABREAST!!!! I had to leave my white line of safety untill they passed, I won't tell you what I called them but it was something like "selfish scoundrels". Then out of nowhere big Ewan Attenborough came along with his camera out, as usual I put on my media face and shone for my adoring public.

We made it over just before the bridge burst into flames and collapsed as a giant shark leapt through the air eating cars, trucks and screaming commuters. I presume this happened anyway as I did not look back at the big monstrosity (the bridge, not Ewan). If this is The Fourth Road Bridge I wouldn't want to see the 1st, 2nd or, you having that? 1st, 2nd and 3rd beacuse it's the FOURTH road bridge. Cycling, you may have taken my will to live but you will never take, MY HUMOUR!!!!

We entered South Queensferry where we would have the luxury of the wonderful Ricky and Fiona's house (Ewans sister and brother in law, who's compilation cd's saw us through the late 90's and early 00's, I salute you sir).

We settled down and tucked into a marvelous chinese dinner. Here is Ewans...

...look at the joy on his face, cradling his child.

Another night of Olympics action followed, Ewan proudly sporting perhaps the greatest farmers tan ever to grace a human body.

Look out for the final installment of The Uber Challenge that will be bursting through your computer screen like an alien bursting from its hosts chest. Oh, and if you havn't yet sposored us what the hell is the matter with you? We are heroes, big manly heroes, so wrestle the bat sized moths of your wallet and get it done!

Remember you can sponsor us with My charity being The Erskine charity - go here to sponsor or text LLCI81 £5 (or whatever amount) to 70070 

and Ewans charity is Alzheimer Scotland - you can go here to sponsor: or text JGGO80 £5 (or whatever amount) to 70070  

Any sponsorship will be greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Uber Challenge Day 4

So we were an incredible 151 miles down already. Sixteen miles up on our proposed mileage. Whilst Duff had fallen asleep at 7 on his Birthday the night before. I set about organising the rest of our trip and got the excellent Lisa to book us into a B and B 55 miles away in Dunkeld. My excellent sister Fiona would lend us her empty house the next night and from there it was a case of beasting the last 72 miles in a oner with the carrot of finishing a day early. That's right a day early! Kapow!

My excellent Mum and Dad, or David and Sheena to most of you, had offered to come and meet us the next morning and carry the tents and what not. Which, would lessen the junk in our trunk and get rid of the wagon we were dragin.

So We left at the crack o' dawn. About 6.45. We left the old panniers at the gate for my Mum and Dad to collect. I wrote on it: "smelly clothes to be picked up by sheena". Crime is low in these parts. With that message these panniers were going nowhere. Unless they ran off by themselves (a distinct possibility).

We stopped for breakfast about an hour later and had hot sausage rolls and a selection of sweets. This helped Duff to hare it up the rest of the Cairngorms. As seen below

We cracked on and out of the highland which in hindsight was my favourite place. It was peaceful and the lack of roads meant getting lost wasn't really an option.
 Here I am at the Drumochter summit a massive 1516 feet above see level. The air was thin but this would add to our speed.

There was a close thing as the road subsided and i went spewing over the side like a slippery seal. Unfazed, I pounced out and hopped back on the saddle.

It was a lovely day so I went for a dive in the river gorms or something like that.

Duff couldn't believe it as I plummeted into the blue. Look at the shock on his face. If you look closely you can just see some splashes, not many, as everyone knows a good diver slips in with no splash.

As it turned out we pretty much had a ten mile downhill. Which, was nic and before long we were in Pitlochrie. We had travelled through Killiecrankie (a stupidly named town with some stupid big hills) I was getting hungry and the thriving metropolis of Pitlochrie was getting to me as I became more and more hangry.

A sausage supper with a side of curry sauce did the trick and we got to blazes out of the hubub.

Only after Duff had taken a picture of my splendid farmers tan. If anyone would like to start up "" I'll be your poster boy for free. This tan would only get better as Duff didn't let me put my sleeves up as he found it hilarious. 

After feasting on a Zebra the Lion lazed for hours on the flat African savanah

 Twenty minutes later we were tearing up the tarmac on the way to Dunkeld where David and Sheena had promised another feed. I wish we had pictures but we don't. So imagine a lovely hotel beside a river on a sunny day with Duff, me and my healthy looking parents.

Remember you can sponsor us with Duff's charity being The Erskine charity - go here to sponsor or text LLCI81 £5 (or whatever amount) to 70070 

and my charity is Alzheimer Scotland - you can go here to sponsor: or text JGGO80 £5 (or whatever amount) to 70070  

Any sponsorship will be greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

The Uber Challenge - Day 3

I woke up to be a year older, yup, 24(ish) and what better way to celebrate being over the hill than by getting up and tucking in to a lovely cooked breakfast. A fine choice in B&B by Lauren saw us feast before we hit the road. We started and were soon to be treated to a glorious sight coming through a small wooded cycle track leaving Inverness. A Couple of trees along the way had been carved into fantastic tributes to the Gruffalo and a lovely dragon.

After this we cycled on, through Culloden (not a Jacobite in sight) and found ourselves twisting and turning before chancing on this graffitti that was quite delightful.

We then had to climb a monster of a hill in a heavily populated area, what kind of idiot would live on a hill like this. I had to stop several times to eat Jelly Babies while Ewan powered on into the distance. We continued on and stopped briefly in Tomatin to refuel.

 Ewan made an entry into the journal as we waited so we wouldn't forget any of our wonderful tale.

We continued along the cycle route 7 and as we ran parallel to the A9 we made fantastic time and ate up the miles. We even had time to stop while I geekily pointed at a Cairngorms sign

Indeed, The Cairngorms, I can hear your collective gasps from here. We were cycling through Scotlands mountain range because we are big strong men! So strong in fact Ewan had time to hold up a bridge while a lorry went over it.

But on we went and the views were beautifuly breathtaking. At one point my phone rang, I thought it might be a member of my loving family, calling to wish me a happy birthday. It was a chap talking about PPI, even in the remotest parts of Scotland you cant escape them!

We again needed to refuel and headed to Aviemore as I recalled the restaurant myself and Lauren had visited on the way up that offered a lunch buffet of pizza and pasta. What more could you ask for? It was hard work but we got there and not before time, we needed a rest and we needed a feed, and I mean a FEED!

After we ate the thought of cycling seemed like torture, we were tired but needed to go on. Even Ewans coffee didn't seem to be doing the trick.

We powered on with only about 15 miles to Kingussie where I was reliably informed by Ewan the campsite was situated. The road was nice and quiet so it was a comfortable ride in to Kingussie where we.....carried on? What madness was this? Ewan then told me it was Newtonmore that the campsite was. It appears we had crossed wires as the Ewan I know would have revelled in mugging me off on purpose, I jokingly proposed we set up our camp in castle that was being renovated. When Ewan appeared to be interested I feared for my sanity, what kind of birthday was this? We carried on and soon enough found our campsite, a couple of dogs cheered me up and we set up camp.

I didn't think my birthday could get any worse until I was presented with this view.

I gave up and went to bed at the back of seven. I had my lonely birthday dinner then went to sleep in preperation for the following day, 63 miles closer to the finish line.

Remember you can sponsor us with My charity being The Erskine charity - go here to sponsor or text LLCI81 £5 (or whatever amount) to 70070 

and Ewans charity is Alzheimer Scotland - you can go here to sponsor: or text JGGO80 £5 (or whatever amount) to 70070 

Any sponsorship will be greatly appreciated.