If you followed my cycling exploits in the summer of 2012, when I cycled the lengths of Ireland and Scotland, you will know that I had a brilliant time doing it, as well as raising £4,000 for charity.

For that reason, I thought that I would head back to Scotland this summer, and explore some of the parts that I missed while heading from the Mull of Galloway to John O’Groats. There was still quite a lot of Scotland left from which to choose, but I wanted to see two parts in particular: I fancied returning to the Cairngorms, which I had skirted round last year, and I also had a hankering to see some of the islands.

I have only been on one of the Scottish Islands before, and my visit to Skye was only an overnight stay, so any island would be new territory for me.

I had been planning to go to the Cairngorms first, but Kevin, who gave me vehicular support on the Irish leg of my trip last year, suggested that going North through the islands might take better advantage of any prevailing wind.  For this reason I did the trip in a clockwise direction, starting and finishing in Cairnryan. Little did I know that the wind would be anything but prevailing until, of course, I turned for home.

The trip started on Wednesday 10th July 2013, and finished a fortnight later. You can read about the ride itself in my daily blog. I covered a distance of just over 1,100 miles, and climbed 88,000 feet.

I have since embraced long-distance cycling, and now enjoy being a randonneur. In 2016 I completed the inaugural Wild Atlantic Way audax in Ireland.