For the next 10 days I’ll be somewhere in the Atlantic on this boat – Independent Voyager.
I spent 5 days with Occupy Edinburgh in The Meadows. I had cycled from Perth that day after a lazy morning because I was asuming there weren’t many hills, there were, and the sustrans route wasn’t doing much to avoid them. I arrived into Edinburgh at around 9pm (long into the darkness) planning to turn up at the protest camp and see if I might be able to stay; the other option was to continue the ride a bit further down to mortonhall campsite, or to pester a friend at short notice.
I didn’t really know what to expect as I cycled across the muddy field to the camp – it’s hard to even see the encampment at night time from the paths around the park – as I arrived the occupants had heard me approaching and called out to me, they get a fair bit of interaction from passer-bys of good and bad nature so are wary of noises outside. I popped inside the tent to find two people huddled in blankets in the cold, they were immediately friendly and welcomed me to stay and helped me carry my many bags into the main tent. This is a remarkable thing to occur in the middle of a large-ish city – a total stranger arrives and is immediately welcomed. I think my touring bike and received pronunciation accent mark me out as an unlikely criminal or trouble-maker but I imagine I would have been welcomed without these things.
A beautiful morning over the Meadows
I left London around 6 months ago now without much of a plan or probably much apparent reason why I would do such a thing. I was living in shared accommodation which was very nice (a large warehouse space), I did work which I found interesting and paid well, I had nice friends to do nice things with.
However I had a niggling feeling something had to change, my thoughts were that I knew I wouldn’t want to be living in shared housing forever (it’s my main problem with shared housing – everybody is just waiting till they start their “real life” rather it being their proper home). I’m also not so motivated by regular career progression or gathering many more items.
Something had to change at some point, and so why not now?
They’re about 2 weeks old and live (for now, mwahahaha) on a Scottish croft that’s aiming for self-sufficiency. I’m told they’re going to be very yummy.
I love the way they sleep in a big pile of piggy!
I was initially a bit anxious about the idea of cycle touring through Scotland as Winter approached but so far my fears have been unfounded and there are a good number of positive aspects. I am aware that it will still get colder still, but all these positives should stay valid.
(Celtic Winter traditionally starts on 1st November celebrated by the Samhain festival)
Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in the UK (1344 meters / 4409 feet) located a couple of miles from Fort William, Scotland. I’m not particularly inclined to do things just to feel I’ve ticked a box and walking up and back down the same route feels kind of pointless. My brother asked me whether I was and I pondered for a bit and decided whilst I was there it would be something to do, there might be a nice view!
In summary it was fantastic – surreal arctic-like conditions.
an american walking towards me (still someway off the summit)
Bothies are dotted all over Scotland (maintained by the Mountain Bothy Association), they are basic accommodation to be used by anybody, aimed at walkers and climbers needing shelter in remote locations.
I’ve only stayed in one so far and it looked like this:
Corryhully bothy near Glenfinnan
I got my tent just in time for some winds that my tarp would probably not have survived.
somebodies failed tent – I watched the owners come back after their day out looking a little dismayed (the bench didn’t blow there it’s to stop it from totally blowing away)
Here’s some videos of my tent in the same winds that caused that.