Tuesday, July 2, 2024

Joyful journeys

Ullapool,  North West Scotland

I've been away from my desk these last few weeks and I should confess it’s because I’ve been on a journey. Specifically, I’ve been motorcycling from Land’s End to John o’ Groats, following a slow and winding route that saw us pass through ten of the UK’s national parks. I went with my teenage son, making the trip extra special as we settled into a daily rhythm of a ‘dad and lad’ riding and resting together.

Back home now in Pembrokeshire I’ve been reflecting on the richness of the landscapes we passed through. From the foxgloved lanes of Cornwall to the vast and complex sea lochs of North West Scotland; the purpled moors of the Pennines to the Grey Corries of the Cairngorms… I’m reminded of how much beauty there is to find in our own small isle — and of how much I’ve missed by perhaps overly focusing on objectives abroad.

But most of all I’ve been thinking on the journey itself — not so much the miles travelled or even the vistas they revealed. Rather, of all that went before it: of how travelling so happily and easily with my son was the culmination of decades of effort and experience —not only in planning and following a route, but in navigating love and all the twist and turns that involves.

Spending these last few weeks so close together was a privilege I shall treasure. To have done so across the length and breadth of our country was but a metaphor for the variety and splendour of all that we hold most dear. And I’m more than ever aware, that despite a lifetime of travelling far and wide, the greatest joys are those closest to home.

I hope your journeys bring just as much delight.

Journey's end at  John o' Groats - save for the 750 miles to home!


  1. Hari Om
    As I now donder along in The Grey, exploring this Bonny Land, I couldn't agree more!!! I haven't been to Ullapool for quite some years. Thanks for reminding me...time to track my way there again. YAM xx

  2. That looks like the ride of a life time. How wonderful that you and your son got to do this.

  3. A journey that will, I've no doubt, be long treasured by both of you.
    Oh and what a fine looking lad your son is!
    Cheers, Gail.

  4. What a fantastic journey that was for you both! Many memories for each of you, and I am sure, many gorgeous photos as well. It is wonderful to spend time with our adult children, and get to experience them in a different way. I love spending time with my son, and enjoying the man he has become. Makes this Mom's heart happy.

  5. England is a beautiful country, at least the small bit I've seen. My husband always says that people tend to not look at their own country much, always looking at far away places. We've seen a lot of Canada as a result, another beautiful country.
    How wonderful that your son wants to spend time with you, a trip he will always remember.

  6. A good journey and a happy time for both of you. Are you going to start your own biker's gang, sweeping into seaside towns with great panache?

  7. Thanks for your comment on my blog x

    A good trip to do.
    The Oily One ( son#1) came up to stay for a week with me at the end of May. Just doing ordinary stuff together was great.

  8. What freedom, and how lovely to see so much of our wonderful country in one trip. Memories for a lifetime laid down. We get lots of bikers through Builth - if I am gardening of a weekend I hear them blasting along the A483 or A470.

  9. I am sure that he will treasure the days every bit as much as you do.

  10. What a wonderful trip with your son, creating memories and seeing the beauty near you. There is much to be said for exploring close to home. That said, we just returned from our trip to the Netherlands, followed by a cruise around Iceland and three stops in Scotland. We loved it all and hope to return to explore Scotland more one day on our own.