Thursday 16 September 2010

Day 1 : enroute - Kirkwall : 10 miles sunny early, rain later

Well here I go, fully loaded and pictured in Chatham with background view over to Upnor Castle beyond the Chatham Maritime marina. (Thank you Alice for being late for school to take that one).  
I'm not sure what I'm daunted by more 
  • cycling 800 miles plus in autumn or 
  • writing some sort of interesting log on a blog on a regular basis.
The last 24 hours have certainly taught me that autumn in the NE of Scotland can be wet, chilly and very windy. Some hasty purchases of additional thermal gloves and a waterproof hat that has a cord under the chin will keep the rain off my glasses in a howling gale.
All went to plan with the plane, although I have learnt that you can't do enough to protect a bike from the savagery of airport conveyor systems. (The plastic cycle bag is back in the post for reuse next time!) By the time I'd landed at 18.55 and put the bike together again, the airport had closed and the place gone very dark and wintery - so I was very glad to get into the youth hostel even though there are no power sockets!
This is the first time I've used one of Kent's 'International' airports - London Manston. It's close by a RAF spitfire museum that looks like it will be worth visiting another day.
I also noted the Thanet Earth glass greenhouses built a few years ago as the plane took off. My recollection of the design of this facility was that it had incorporated low-carbon design features (maximised the reuse of heat and water etc). I now realise that another reason it may be sited in Thanet is that it is close to an air freight facility presumably to get the stretched seasonal fruit and veg to prime markets. 
No matter. I also noted that it may be in Kent as it is significantly warmer than either Edinburgh or Kirkwall on this random mid-September day.
Today I am exploring Orkney, home not only to wave and tidal flow experiments and installations but also some fantastic historical engineering such as the fine Norman cathedral of St Magnus in Kirkwall. I noted that the later was probably used some of the same stone masons who had built Durham Cathedral a few years before.

1 comment:

  1. Hopefully the temperature will rise - or at least not get lower! - as you move southwards.