For the last few years it seems that I make Barry go on at least one multiday cycle trip with me.
This year, the weather forecast helped us choose the Sustrans Coast & Castles North, which largely follows the Route 1 which ultimately runs from Land’s End to John O’Groats.
With Edinburgh being one of the end points, this had the added bonus of starting in Aberdeen and cycling to Edinburgh so you know exactly which train to book your cycles on (an absolute must given the number of times Barry and I have been turned away at a station because of our bikes).
So, we booked our train and hotel (no camp grounds in Aberdeen) for a Thursday and prepared ourselves for a three day, 277km ish cycle back home to Edinburgh. It still seemed like a good idea to go in this direction despite the headwind forecast (there might be a reason the route is normally done Edinburgh to Aberdeen). At any rate, we do love a train ride. And train snacks.
Scotland in the summer time means cycle trips. Usually with a waterproof. Unusually, this year, a waterproof was not needed. Such luck.
Barry and I knew we wanted to do a week or so of cycling once I’d arrived in Scotland. Outdoor time during the easing of pandemic restrictions meant that I wanted to stay away from large indoor crowds. We landed on cycling in the Outer Hebrides, mostly due to the great weather and the lure of nice beaches to camp on. It was the least planning I have ever done for a trip. Having two weeks to complete a one week cycle meant that we were very relaxed about how much or how little cycling we did (or how many times we stopped for cake).
The weather and the beaches did not disappoint. Neither did the lack of planning.
When my travel exemption to leave Australia and return to Scotland was approved, my friend Emily told me that I should rename the blog ‘Any Available Track.’
Given that we’re still in the middle of a global pandemic, this is an excellent idea.
Current available tracks for me are now the UK. With large parts of Australia in lockdown, I feel incredibly lucky that I was able to return to Edinburgh to see Barry. Now that I’m here, technically, I could go any number of places now as borders are a lot less strict. But there are so many uncertainties and just because you can, it doesn’t mean you should.
So for now, the available tracks are Scotland and Northern Ireland (being with Barry comes with NI family responsibilities after all).
See you in November, Melbourne (please don’t cancel my flight/quarantine space – also, let Barry in too).
We’ve had two and a half lovely lazy weeks on Ko Lanta. Okay, they weren’t lazy, we were working. We just weren’t running all over the island ticking off the tourist bucket list.
We were running and walking the beach every day, sometimes a quick dip in the sea, avoiding sea lice as much as we could. Definitely spending longer than necessary reading books in a hammock.
By our second weekend, I was ready to explore a bit more. I was also ready to spend a day in water that didn’t try to sting me. At one of our regular restaurants, the staff convinced us that a snorkel trip would be worth it so we booked a day out to Ko Rok and Ko Ha. I’m not sure why they print prices in the brochures. Every booking agent will give you a better price.
Family and work events have taken Barry and I directly between Australia and the UK in recent years, without exploring any of the many places in between. This year we were lucky to have a bit more time on our hands. I finished my contract at the University of Edinburgh in September. With the deadline for Australia set at Christmas 2019, it meant we had a few weeks between leaving Edinburgh at the end of November (after some work and Barry’s family things).
We were last in Thailand in 2014 so it made sense as our ‘on the way to Australia’ destination. As you know, I love a tropical island. As you know, Barry stresses about the quality of the internet, especially on tropical islands. Luckily, Kohub on Ko Lanta takes all those worries away. It didn’t take us long to agree on our 3 week tropical working destination.