John Peet, former General Secretary of L'Arche UK, is hoping to raise £30,000 by cycling 1500 miles around the UK and visiting every L'Arche Community and Project on the way. The money will go to L'Arche in Zimbabwe, where funds are so desperately needed just to keep the Community going, and to the Projects in Glasgow and Manchester that, with your help, will soon become L'Arche Communities.








Sunday 15th & Monday 16th June

Perfect weather for a day of pilgrimage on Iona. I hope readers will understand if I it's a mini-blog today. Lunch by the beach, a siesta and time to reflect. Thanks, to Joan for a delicious barbeque at her cottage and a wonderful evening with Ernest, Catherine and Terry.
On the way back from the hostel I happened to bump into the party of Americans I had met on The Lord of the Glens!




Back at the hostel, I enjoyed the 3 part harmonies from Thorsten, Hanna and Regina, the German ministers who were staying with their families. Hanna's son Janne (John) enchanted us all just by being himself. This is a wonderful place and on my list of places to return to and stay longer.











Monday 16th June

Route: Iona to Fionnphort by ferry, then by bike to Craignure
Mileage: 39.8 miles; 638 miles so far; 862 miles to go
Weather: Cloud gathering from the west, dry on Mull, rain on arrival in Oban

Attempts to have a cooked breakfast went a little wrong - not being used to an electric cooker – so everyone came into a haze of well cooked bacon fumes. What else can you eat with fresh duck eggs at 25p a piece? Wonderful. Blow the cholestral count.

The German singing contingent were leaving this morning, along with a number of us. Time to say good-byes. Thanks, Anna at the hostel, and John MacLean for sponsoring my stay. This is a hostel of hostels.



I called in at the Columba Hotel, who generously allowed me to use their wireless internet to send the blogs and check my email. In the garden outside, had a chat with Findlay McCutcheon (from Cramond, Edinburgh) whom I had seen yesterday with a neat two-child trailer on the back of his bike.

Then onto the port to catch the 1045 ferry. Judith, Jackie and Karen were waiting for the same boat, all of them hoping to catch the bus to Craignure, then ferry to Oban like me. The weather looked as if it was definitely on the turn, but the rain held off throughout the 38 mile ride across Mull. Either the description of the hilly route had been exaggerated, or I was getting fitter, but it wasn't a difficult ride even through Glen More. It took 3 hrs 17 minutes to cover the distance. The cycling computer is a clever little machine which stops the clock when the bike stops so as to give an accurate riding time and average speed.

At Bunessan Primary School I spoke to Head Teacher Robert Burney who kindly agreed to consider a school spnsored ride for L'Arche.
I called again at the Pennygael Post Office where I met a party on a wildlife tour which is organised by the Shop, and the returning party of Glasgow High School pupils who had been camping out as part of their Duke of Edinburgh award. One young lad looked the colour of beetroot. Then on through the Glen past crowds of yellow irises now past their best, and lonesome Foxgloves whose purple hue made a colourful contrast against their yellow companions.

It's impossible to get an Orange or Virgin mobile signal on Mull so I had to wait till Craignure to pick up messages – then the battery failed! However, I was able to use the wireless network of the Craignure Cafe to Skype Judith at the L'Arche Office for the daily update.

As the result of difficulties in fixing up accommodation in Oban, I ended up checking into the
Scottish Youth Hostel along the Corran Esplanade just round the corner from the Cathedral, and was given a warm welcome by Jon, the relief manager who fixed me up with a room. The hostel occupies an imposing Victoria mansion overlooking the harbour and Kerrera. The wind was starting to whip up the sea and the rain now looked set in for the night. But there were more opportunities of collecting sponsorship and explaining about L'Arche.

Fellow hostellers included a family from Australia, a couple from New Zealand, a group from Thailand who filled the kitchen with exotic aromas and looked as if they were extraordinarily well organised in preparing their meal. I later discovered that they comprised the staff of a Thai restaurant in Teddington called Thai Smiles! I decided to carb-up at the local Italian restaurant and was not disappointed. Thanks Piazza chef for the cyclists portion of pasta!

Then half an hour on the hostel internet. It's good to have such a facility, albeit not wireless, but frustrating not to be able to use a memory stick, so I wasn't able to let you see some of the wonderful views I have enjoyed over the past week. Thanks to the Caledonian Hotel, I'm able to send this blog.

No comments: