I have had a truly fantastic year, so thought I would share some of the highlights with you.
I’ve been travelling the country, on my “Round Britain Rail Tour” in aid of APS (Antiphospholipid Syndrome), which sadly Christine [my wife] suffered from. The overall journey has been from Penzance to the Orkney Islands, basically around the coast – both sides.
I started at St Pancras, London in March this year, next to the statue of John Betjemen, and have had lots of days and weekends away plus several holiday in many lovely towns with super scenery.
The first of the big trips in July was to Oban, Fort William, Skye (three days), Kyle and then across to Aberdeen, Dundee and Arbroath. Beautiful Scottish scenery and wonderful people.
I hired a car on Skye and toured the island: magnificent, moody, romantic and stunning, all apply.
In September, I was off to the north of Scotland (it seemed a very long way from home) to Thurso and Wick; then over to Orkney and its Islands. Firstly to Skara Brae and the Standing Stones of Stenness, fascinating old neolithic sites. The Island of Shapinsay was beautiful, but the one concession to tourism, the café, was shut!! A day tour of the Island of Westray involved many stunning views and lots of stories, some true! The last visit of the day was to the airport, where we saw the whole journey of the “World’s Shortest Commercial Flight” from Papa Westray to Westray – 80 seconds!
At the other end of the British Isles, I had a great few days between Penzance and Yeovil, staying with friends, and had good views of St Michael’s Mount and even an afternoon in St Ives.
Many short breaks, including St Andrews: nice town, ruined Cathedral and Castle and very golf orientated; North Berwick, where my parents lived in WW2 (Dad was in the RAF); York and Berwick on Tweed, indeed there have been so many places I really want to return to.
Overall, I’ve spoken at 50 Rotary Clubs and travelled approx 15,300 miles on 274 trains, meeting many Rotarians and friends old and new along the way.
I will finish RBRT “around the Coast”, early in 2019, and then on to the rest of the Rotary and Inner Wheel Clubs “RBRT – inside the Country”, plus any other Clubs, if they so wish.
In June, I plan to fly to Shetland, so I can achieve a visit to the most northern point of Unst, which I should have managed last year on the walk, but for a damaged knee.
Thank you for your support, accommodation, lifts and overall interest during the past three years.