SkiBike Tour 2009-10 - The Drive North

Posted: Thursday, 7 January 2010 by Mark Kinnon in Labels: , , ,

I set off before noon in bright sunshine and enjoyed a stress free drive round the M25, up the M40, onto the M6 across Birmingham. The roads were empty, some sections were reduced to two clear lanes with the outside lane a few inches deep in snow, certainly nothing like the story the media had been painting. I drove calmly and worked my way most of the way through a vintage cassette collection, stopping to re-fuel around Preston in Lancashire.

After a large strong cup of coffee I rejoined the M6 for the drive through the fringes of the Lake District, it was nightfall, I was in the far north of England and it was noticeably colder. The screen washer bottle froze up at this point in spite of a 30% antifreeze to water mixture. I had to stop every 50 miles or so and get out the car to squirt solution onto the screen from a bottle kept next to the hot air vent.

Just North of Glasgow, with half a tank of fuel remaining  and 80 miles left to go, I let slip the opportunity to refuel expecting that there must be an all night station somewhere before Fort William. Of course I had packed a huge ex army jerry can, but it was empty, what a townie!
Heading around Loch Lomond I passed a magical land scape of frozen waterfalls and was awed by the 9 foot high markers either side of the road to help assist the snow ploughs to find the road in a blizzard.

I arrived some time after midnight, with the car now running on vapours, found my hotel, checked in much to the surprise of the receptionist and tried to go to sleep, which was difficult, as I was still wired from the epic 500 mile journey.
I received a text message from my cousin Paul, it was -20 degrees Celsius and officially the coldest place in the country, what had I let myself in for!

Loch Lomond, Scotland - source Scottish Nomad