Across the UK

It was 1998 and we had three small children. Alison just wanted to stay at her Mum''s and relax but Neill needed a little adventure and so decided to cycle across Britain heading west and seeing how far he got.

tl_files/hogarth/Photos/cycleroute.jpgIt probably wouldn''t have hurt to have done a little practice beforehand but somehow there wasn''t time. After the relatively short ride from the coast to Alison''s Mum''s house, I was wondering how I was going to continue but things got better by the day and by day three I was actually having fun. This may also have had something to do with leaving the monotony of the billiard table flat fens. They should have been easy to cycle but the wind was always against me.

Unfortunately Britain is not very big on cycle lanes so a lot of the route was spent on roads. One particularly bad stage saw me riding along the A5! there were however some really scenic ways that I found on the map and followed. This sunken track was one of them.

In total the tour took six days cycling pretty much from sun up to sun down. One day, in Wales, I carried on into the night looking for a camping site and then ended up sleeping in a field near Trawsfynydd. Another night, after dinner at a pub, I slept on the edge of a corn field. One night was spent at a friends in Shropshire, one at Alison''s Mum''s house and the other two in hotels.

Being on my own got pretty boring on the long straight stretches but it did give me complete freedom to decide on my own route and speed. I stopped when I wanted to and took the way that I decided on at that moment. Real freedom.

When I finally reached Mynydd Mawr at the western end of the lleyn Peninsula I felt a sense of accomplishment but at the same time would have liked to be able to continue further West as I was having such great fun. As it was I had to turn round and cycle back to Pwllheli from where I caught a train back to reality.

Neill Hogarth | neill@hogarth.de | www.hogarth.de