Day 1 is dedicated to Harry Moseley & Help Harry Help Others (Team Harry #HHHO)
“IF I COULD TRAVEL 501 MILES BY BUS AND TRAIN”
Day 1 and a long day of nearly 14 hours because of the delays between Plymouth & Carlisle, had a poor nights sleep last night probably 4 hours tops so it was going to be hard and a challenge to stop heavy eyes during the trip towards Carlisle on 2 buses and 3 trains. One thing I do know is that no matter what I struggle to sleep on any operators train except for Arriva Train Wales, luckily they are not part of this epic mad idea.
After a hot and sticky day yesterday weather forecast wasnt good for today and it definitely wasnt good, I started the day at Lands End in strong winds and heavy rain and when I got to Carlisle it was the same without the strong winds.
So after buying a bacon and egg sarnie and coffee I waited for the 1A bus down to Lands End, we left on time not a very eventful trip just single track roads where if you had a car coming the other way it was a master of driving that got you past the bus or vice versa.
I arrived at Lands End car park smack on time at 0719, the driver wished me the best of luck, think he thought I was walking LEJoG,
if only he knew. On arrival at Lands End there was no rain but it was windy so I walked down the footpath towards the visitor centre which like everything there was closed and trust me there wasnt a lot of shelter either. I did a walk down towards the First & Last House on the edge of the steep cliffs, took a few pictures, the view was amazing but I did struggle to stay on my feet at times.
Finally found the famous sign post at the side of the Lands End Hotel (where I got my Lands End to John o Groats Association form stamped), normally I would assume from about 1000am there is a photographer that charges for a picture with the signpost but getting there really early, it was free, nobody about so took advantage but the picture with the signpost went wrong, I set the wrong settings on my phone so the signpost was pictured as if in a mirror (I’ve sorted it out now)
The picture above says it all as what was going through my head considering the weather condition which were horrendous and 2 hours with no shelter I can say I did get very wet.
While I was waiting for the bus to officially start LEJoG, I got talking to one of the maintenance men who asked me what I was doing being stuck wet through at Lands End, I told him I was doing LEJoG by bus and train for 3 charities, in talking to this guy I found out he had lost a family member with a brain tumour and somebody else was going through Prostate Cancer, so 1 HHHO bracelet & 1 Prostate Cancer band later also explained about the Help Harry website too, made me feel like this journey was going tobe worth it, as I found out travelling on the train from Penzance to Plymouth, because I was wearing my Thimbles Embroidery sponsored T Shirt ((Thimbles) people were quizzical what it was all about.
LEJoG started at 0940 with the bus back to Penzance, same bus same driver who said “you had enough already then”, third leg of the day was train to Plymouth and god was that a long trip, the train was full and standing room only in the end, I was lucky i got a seat but surrounded by luggage it was very uncomfortable.
I arrived in Plymouth on time but the train to Birmingham had an electrical fault and suffered a 13 minute delay, I thought here we go going to be a nightmare end to the day but travelling on a very comfortable HST (High Speed Train) to Birmingham we arrived on time but that was only the start..
last leg of the day should have been 1715 from Birmingham to Carlisle on a Virgin Train, things were looking good then all of a sudden train showed as delayed, wondering what was happening when all of a sudden the BTP & New Street platform staff descended on Platform 1 as a man with a carrier bag appeared out of the tunnel walking along the track so this explained why my train was delayed. After what seemed an eternity my train to Carlisle left Birmingham about 24 minutes late never to pull the time back (well except about 8 minutes). Met a couple of Wolves Onboard crew Daz & Sue who were just about to finish but I still managed to grab a selfie with them.
Also good to see Simon Webb the team leader at Wolves, made the torture of travel more bearable seeing a friendly face.
Finally arrived in Carlisle at 2016 to be met by my VT colleague at Carlisle Michelle who stayed on after a 12 hot shift especially to meet me and do a bit of publicity for Carlisle & VT also myself.
Finally checked in at Arkale Lodge at 2035 bit late but met by the owner Patrick who told me about breakfast times etc, I did tell him I would be away very early for my first train towards Inverness so he said he would make me a packed lunch for my trip because I wouldn’t be there for breakfast, I’m impressed by the standard of customer service and Patrick goes very highly on that basis.
Anyway, an extremely long day as come to an end and its midnight I need some sleep hopefully better than Sunday night ready for Day 2 and 4 trains crossing the border to Scotland and upwards towards Inverness & Wick to hopefully fulfill another ambition and that’s the Northern Lights.