Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Day 4 - Tyndrum -> Balloch

Knitwits Yarns

Day 4 will go down in the annals of Hopson history/folklore as - hopefully - the worst day of the JOG-Land's End bike ride. Obviously we don't know what else is coming up but hypothermia and a hospital trip has to make it a pretty dreadful day.

Last night in our lovely campsite:

the wind blew up and the rain came down. It's always quite nice sleeping in a van with the rain coming down (so long as it's waterproof, which our van turned out to be - yay!). This morning was wet and horrid so the boys set off gently and with lots of layers. I sat in the van and wrote up yesterday's blog and did a bit of knitting and then got the call from FB, "Jules, we're in a cafe on the shores of Loch Lomond because we had to stop as we are in serious danger of hypothermia. Can you come with a change of dry clothes?".

So I set off (which takes longer than you think - unplug the electric, close all the cupboards [makes you feel like an air stewardess going down the plane], fill up with water, get rid of rubbish etc, etc, etc). Stupidly, I didn't set the sat nav as I only had to go down Loch Lomond - how hard could it be? Well, if you're not concentrating, obviously, too hard for my pea brain. I have no idea how I missed the one and only turning, but I did. I'm always amazed by how fast the boys are moving and how long it takes me to catch them but I was really impressed this morning! On and on and on I went and then I came to a loch on my right. Now, even I knew that Loch Lomond should be on my left. Found a layby - no mobile signal. Moved on to the next layby - no mobile signal. And so on and so on until FB phoned me. Turns out there was no signal in the cafe and he had to go outside to phone me! Then I found that I was only 1 mile from Calander. That was when I knew I had gone really badly, horribly, terribly wrong. Turned the sat nav on. It took me to a housing estate. Found a car park. Had a small cry. Turned round and went right back to the start. This time I did have the loch on my left!!

By the time I reached the boys they had been given £25 by wonderful motorists eating breakfast and had spent £30 on hot chocolates and 3 x Scottish breakfasts!! Daily budget, totally blown.

The boys then set off with new clothes and extra waterproof layers - cling film on the feet, then socks and then carrier bags. There was even a debate about Tesco bags v Morrisons bags. Conclusion was Morrisons bags as they had fewer holes:

We think this look could take off. Or, indeed, has legs!

Loch Lomond was rough and wet:

For those of you who think T is looking particularly stacked, he's wearing my coat and then FB's H4H top on the top! (Obviously he is very stacked [as he would like me to point out] but this picture might make him look a bit ridiculous!)

And so they battled on and I went ahead to Balloch to meet them as they came through. Phoned FB to tell him where I was and got T on the end of the phone. Not the greatest phone call of my life; "Mum, G's hit a fox and has passed out. Can you turn round and come back?". I was on a dual carriageway, drove on for what seemed like miles to the next roundabout, turned round and shot back. Then the next phone call (which I took, illegally - sorry) - "Mum, G's been picked up and is going to hospital. Where are you?". Kept going, calmly and finally, eventually saw T sitting on the side of the road. Amazingly, there was a Guest House just down the road so I turned round and picked up T and the bikes and headed off to the nearest hospital in Balloch.

They have an amazing system of "Minor Injury Clinics" in non-A&E hospitals where a nurse assesses you. Guy's lovely nurse was Yvonne and she checked him all out and declared nothing to be broken just shock and adrenaline. He is fine but has a very sore right wrist where he landed and grazed hands and was suffering from shock. Turns out, FB missed the fox carcass, T went over the top of it and G tried to avoid it (and T's wheel) and hit the fox side on and came a cropper. We reckon they were doing 20mph so I guess he's pretty lucky really. There is a slight irony in the fact that G will shoot any fox given the chance but the foxes got their revenge!

G wants me to point out that, if fox hunting was allowed, the little bugger would have been dead and, therefore, not running across the road last night when he was hit so wouldn't have been there for G to hit. Ergo, bring back fox hunting. Debate!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Being the dreadfully cruel family we are, we took a picture of G in hospital!!!!:

That's the lovely Yvonne putting a Tubi-grip on his wrist. We would like to thank the wonderful Clare McCafferty and her daughter for picking G and FB up when loads of others drove right past and the lovely Yvonne for patching G up. Tomorrow we will return to "the fox" and cycle from there so no mileage will be lost!

Fortunately, FB's route plan had included 2 short days in Devon for "cock-up" factor so we should still be on target for the end date. However, it's given FB more work to do en route planning and camp sites.

In knitting news - yes, there is a knitting challenge as well - ladies and gentlemen, I give you:

the back of a sweater! Tina - I think we should have gone for the cropped look - this back looks remarkably long. Oh, well, too late now. The front is already on the needles.

Tomorrow we have an early appointment back at hospital for some extra tests for G - hopefully v quick and then we're off to Glasgow and the Erskine Bridge (feeling of deja vu here). Despite all, spirits are high, G is fine (if a bit knackered) and I've bought samosas for a snack so FB is v v happy!

Miles today - 30.
Total mileage - 264.

PS: It's still bloody raining!


  1. Clare McCafferty14 July 2010 at 15:15

    Glad to hear that Guy only had minor injuries although he did look pretty shaken up when I stopped but I knew the minor injuries clinic would have transferred him if it had been more serious. It's a pity your weather has been so bad but they do call Glencoe "the Weeping Glen". Hope it improves because you still have a long road in front of you - good luck with your endeavours

  2. Glad to hear Guy is ok,bloomin foxes!!When you enter cornwall tell him to watch out for the low flying seagulls!!
    Your blog is brilliant julia,amanda and i are loving reading it.Give our best to sergent major and of course guy and tom.Keep it up boys.
    Russell (Pirates)

  3. Oh my, did the foxes get their revenge indeed! Good to hear it's nothing major by the look of it, I hope you're all well and truly on your bikes/knitting as I write and that the weather gets a bit more clement. Blimey... I am sure you weren't quite looking for this sort of adventure when you set out on the JoG to LE adventure!