I awoke after an unusually smooth crossing from Lerwick and opened the blind to the cabin window just in time to see us pass the South Breakwater on the approach into Aberdeen, shortly before 06:30, which made a nice picture against the backdrop of the dawn sky.
I disembarked at 07:04 with the guessometer showing 88% and made my way through Aberdeen, eventually reaching the A90. From Aberdeen, I had a mere 52 miles to ride to reach Forfar, where I had arranged to meet James, who had kindly driven up from Nuneaton with the hire van to meet me.
I suggested we meet at the McDonald’s in Forfar, because it’s fairly easy to find and park and would give us chance to get some breakfast. There was no point in James driving all the way up to Aberdeen. 52 miles was nothing in comparison with the rest of the trip.
I maintained a steady speed of between 50-60 mph on the way down to Forfar and gauged the power usage again fairly well, so that I arrived at our rendezvous point at 08:08 with 3% remaining. The van was easy to spot. There can’t be that many Nuneaton Van Rentals vans around in a Forfar car park at any one time.
I pulled up alongside the van and then peered in. James was sleeping across the width of the front seats. I gently tapped on the window, but there seemed to be no response, so I made my way around to the passenger side and was about to tap again when I saw that he had woken up and was looking out of the driver window. I drew his attention. Then, once I’d used the back of the van as a changing room to get out of my bike gear into normal clothes, we loaded the bike into the back of the van and I got us some breakfast.
Once we’d had something to eat and drink, we headed off for the long journey back to Nuneaton.
It was nice to be a passenger for the journey back and we just chatted for most of the way back about all manner of things, to the extent that I put James off a couple of times and we had an impromptu excursion into Glasgow.
Sadly, the one aspect of planning that I had overlooked was that we were arriving back on the Friday of a Bank Holiday weekend in England, so, having made our way back through Scotland, then through the Lake District, where we stopped for some lunch at Tebay Services, we hit the inevitable M6 traffic.
Fortunately, James deftly avoided the hold-ups on the M6 and we made our way down parallel country roads, occasionally crossing the M6 to see whether it had cleared. Eventually, it did, and we jumped back on the M6, arriving back at my home at around 18:30.
We offloaded the bike, as my wife Emma came out to welcome me home.
She obliged by taking a couple of photos of us with the bike, then, having stowed the bike away, I thanked James for his time and for taking the trouble to drive all the way up to Aberdeen and back in the course of the last 24 hours, a distance which in itself was the equivalent of Land’s End to John o’Groats, in addition to having driven me down to Cornwall for the start of the journey the previous week. He’d truly helped out massively with the trip. Having not been able to take part in the trip himself, he’d been invaluable.
The bike safely away, James headed off, and I got back to normal home life.