“Lovely British summer weather, ey?”
His grey hair is neatly combed back and he looks at the lady standing next to him. Judging the different logos of beer on her shirt, I’m guessing she works in this pub and that’s probably why she starts to talk with the man. While the man takes a sip of his freshly brewed beer, I look at the street behind him. The street is colored red, yellow and blue with umbrellas. The ones that are not carrying an umbrella are wearing their hoods tightly pulled around their faces. Yes, lovely British summer weather. Rain. Wind. A mess. Maybe that’s why the beer drinking already starts at 11:00.
After a 36-hour trip by train and bus I’ve finally arrived I have reached Penzance, the little city close to Land’s End; the place where I will start my adventure. On arrival at the English continent I immediately notice a change in the weather. The wind is stronger and there is almost no sunshine. What a difference with half an hour ago standing in front of the Calais tunnel. The second thing I notice are the hills. Steep hills, that seem higher than they really are. I get a vision of me racing downhill, with no control whatsoever. This is one of my greatest fears, skating downhill. Especially the 17 kilos on my back is going to be exciting, because I’m still having difficulties with braking. But I want to do it my way, especially because it is challenge for me. And as far as I know no one else ever travelled on inline skates from Land’s End in the south-west of England to John ‘O Groats at the north east of Scotland. A challenge I kindly accept, but I also know when I reached the limit and have to change the skates for shoes. A 15% descent while it’s raining is a situation I would definitely change footwear. A challenge is nice, but braking all your bones, isn’t. Especially when there are a lot of stories to collect! And this is what I’m really looking forward to. Stories about abandoned castles, bold knights, witches that scared entire villages and other stories that would need more than a teaspoon of salt. The next couple of weeks I’ll be looking for the many myths and legends this island has brought us. Stonehenge and Loch Ness are two of such, but there are a lot more stories, ruins and spots that are waiting to be explored.
What I’ve also noticed here, and need to get used to, is traffic. Everyone drives on the wrong side of the road! It is probably a widely accepted phenomenon, so I will play their game. But it is something to get used to, and it doesn’t make things easier. There are hardly any biking trails, but luckily I found a map with all the biking trails, as few as it may be. I will guard this map with my life!
With all these new impressions I really get the feeling I’m on the road, and I can’t wait to set up my tent somewhere. I’m thinking of the most beautiful sceneries; misty valleys, next to slowly streaming rivers or under a beautiful sky filled with stars. The reality will probably be that my tent will see a lot of farmland the first couple of nights. The first week will also be the most straining; the muscles need to get used to the constant movement, the flow has to be found first and routine needs to set in. I’m going to push myself to talk with as many people as possible. In pubs, where the stories flow as quickly as drafted brown ale, on the street where the man walks its dog and near the houses where I will be asking for water. I’m curious about the people I’m going to meet. The beautiful nature of England and above all, Scotland! The cool nights in my tent and the sober meals. In short, the adventure.
I’ve just heard that the weather in the upcoming four days will be extremely well; medium cloudy and dry. So, lovely British summer weather.
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