We turn off the trail here after 7 days of walking to catch the train to Inverness and our return to London. Hard hiking in the beautiful Western Highlands. Wonderful weather with extremes of bright sunshine and big winds.

Our hiking legs are back!

Fort William to Ullapool

I’ve not posted here for a long while. Since finishing the section of the PCT trail in the autumn of 2017 our adventures have continued with London and new working lives.

We use our time carefully to do useful and meaningful things but have really missed our time hiking. So, we’re heading back to Scotland to walk a section of the western highlands towards Cape Wrath.

Above is a picture of all my gear, including the tent, stove and fuel, weighing around 11kg. We’ll share carrying the food for the 8 days and 120 miles. Below is my finished pack and our daily food bags. We can’t wait to board the night sleeper and to be heading north!


The bikes are now in their boxes ready for the flights home. Our kit has performed fantastically well and below we list the star performers and things we might have done differently if we were to repeat this kind of cycling journey again.


  • Mercian and Condor bicycle frames and forks
  • Ortlieb bags
  • Schawble tyres
  • MSR tent
  • Trangia stove
  • Swrve shorts
  • Thermarest matts

To do differently:

  • Simpler bikes – hub gears, disc brakes, Kevlar drive belts and integrated bike stands
  • Shimano group sets for the ease of replacement
  • Smaller lock
  • Less spares and tools
  • Cycle jerseys with rear pockets (we departed with none)
  • Brightly coloured clothing to be more easily seen
  • Arm warmers to keep wet rain jackets off the skin
  • 3 season rated sleeping bags not 2
  • Thermal liners and not ‘cool’ liners for our sleeping bags
  • Thermal socks
  • Thermal gloves

A Year’s Travelling Lessons


Is finite so I will use it carefully. 


Communicates much about everything including the places through which I travel. 


Reveal what I value and call home – London. 


Drives the most creative of my thoughts. 

Glowing screens 

Can kill all of the above – I think now before I use them.

The five headings have become a new kind of mantra for a future way of living. 

Japan and a year’s cycling stats

We have about 40km to ride to Chitose, south of Sapporo, from where we shortly fly out of Japan and finish our year of riding. Bicycles are simply the best way to travel and have allowed us to see so much more of Australia, Vietnam, Cambodia, New Zealand and Japan than any other modes of transport.

Japan stats as follows.

  • Distance ridden – 3,564km
  • Days riding – 38
  • Average daily distance – 94km
  • Longest day – 141km from Muryama to Nr. Minamisaniku
  • Punctures – as before just one
  • Mechanicals – Many, which I recounted previously with fortunately no more to add
  • Other cyclists – 34
  • Pies – still at 33

The year’s comparative stats are as follows.
Distances ridden:

  • Japan – 3,564km
  • New Zealand – 3,546km
  • Vietnam and Cambodia – 4,472km
  • Australia – 4,016km
  • TOTAL = 15,598km

Days spent riding:

  • Japan – 38
  • New Zealand – 35
  • Vietnam and Cambodia – 40.5
  • Australia – 37.5
  • TOTAL = 151

Average Daily Distance – 103km

Longest Day – Cambodia, Kampong Thom to Siem Reap at 150km

Punctures – 03 with New Zealand winning with none

Other touring cyclists – 173 with New Zealand winning again at 122

Pies – 33 with Australia winning with 23

For the bin

The ‘Specialised’ top, bought in Perth, has survived remarkably well although much faded and about to disintegrate after 10 months of riding.

The ‘Swrve’ shorts are the second set and have lasted 6 months through both NZ and Japan. They’ve become really grubby and nothing seems to wash the filth out.

Both have been excellent kit and I’m both sad and overjoyed to be saying ‘goodbye’ to them!

After a year of riding

I’m little changed really. 

There’s definitely been some loss of ‘puppy’ fat. We’re both much fitter and able to plough into headwinds all day and to keep moving at around 18km/hr. A year ago we could never have managed this speed or level of endurance.