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.

Thursday 19th June

Route: Glasgow to Lockerbie
Mileage: 56.7 miles 803 miles so far; 697 miles to go
Weather: Mainly dry but some heavy showers over Beattock, light wind.

Marion came round and had breakfast with me, Ann leaving for work soon after 8.00 am. As arranged last night, Lawrence Logue kindly called at 8.30 to take me and my bike to a shop in Gibson Street near the University, recommended by Michael McCart and Lawrence's son. We were there by 9.15 only to find that it didn't open till 10.00 pm. So we popped home to Lawrence's nearby flat and I made a few phone calls.

One was to Judith at the L'Arche Silsden office who brought me up to date on the donations received. Thanks to all those who have given either on-line or by returning the sponsor form. I'm sure that many others have the good intention of doing so. It would be great to see more donations coming in. The other call was to Martin Dunlop of the Scottish Catholic Observer to do a telephone interview for an article.

We then returned to the bike shop where proprietor Joe Allan checked the wheel and spotted a broken spoke. He said they were short of mechanics but understood my plight and told me to come back within an hour, So we went back again to Lawrence’s flat and his wife Marie plied us with coffee and biscuits as I sent my blog and discussed Rabbie Burns poem “To a Mouse”

But Mousie, thou art no thy lane
In proving foresight may be vain
The best laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft a-gley
An' lae'e us nought but grief and' pain
For promised joy...

Still thou art blest compar'd wi' me!
The present only toucheth thee
But oh! I backward cast my e'e on prospects drear
An' forward tho' I canna see
I guess an' fear!

An apt reminder of the merits of living the present moment and not fretting about the path ahead. When we returned for the bike all was fixed. Thanks so much Joe of Gear Bikes for a great job and a very reasonable price.

It was getting on for 11.45 by the time we left the shop so I agreed to Lawrence's offer to drop me on the south side of Glasgow to make up lost time. This had been planned as one of my longer routes, and I had lost half a day. Thanks so much Lawrence for your kindness and generosity in getting me out of this hole. Good luck with the proof-reading business!

So I started off at Stonehouse and headed south on the B7078. Unfortunately, the maps sent by Silsden ahead of my arrival in Glasgow hadn't arrived, so I had would have to rely on stopping at petrol stations and asking passers by. This, however, would give me an opportunity of inviting sponsorship from strangers.

Passing through Blackwood, I called in at Our Lady and St John's Primary School ad Presbytery to invite sponsorship. Thanks to the receptionist and the Headteacher Mrs Lyons for considering this.

It was then out into the country lanes following closely the M74. Showers threatened but generally it was fine, and signs told me I was following the Sustrans route 74. Some of the surface was annoyingly potted, repeated square holes having been badly infilled, and some very rough surfaces which forced me onto the main carriageway. For quite a long way, though, the track was well surfaced, and separate from the road. Abingdon soon appeared, then Crawford, where Mike Morrison and I stopped on our hitch-hiking holiday to Greece. We had been picked up by an aircraft engineer who was starting to fall asleep at the wheel due to working through the night. He eventually acquiesced to ,my suggestion that he slept and I drove.

From here on, this must have been the old A74 which we travelled as kids from Edinburgh to Liverpool on holidays, stopping at a favourite filling station for Marmite sandwiches, hard boiled eggs, lettuce and crisps, and hot coffee from one of those thermos flasks with a cork stopper. It seemed a huge adventure in those days.

Today it's a great road to travel on by bike, the motorway at a safe distance, pine forests covering the hills ad the comforting sound of the high speed trains occasionally piercing the traffic noise. On to Auchen Castle Hotel, and eventually Beattock Summit where I got a strange kick out of out-pacing a heavily laden goods train struggling up the last incline.

The road through Beattock itself and then towards Lockerbie was relatively flat so quite fast and I was soon entering Lockerbie itself. I decided to stop here, having covered 56 miles since 12.30 pm, and to negotiate a room at a hotel rather than a B&B which would be less able to operate at marginal costing. The first hotel politely referred me to one of two other, and I eventually ended up getting a reasonable deal at the Blue Bell Hotel. Thank you.

And so I was thankful to have been brought safely through the unknown to my destination and reflected again on Rabbie Burns' poem. I also spared a thought for the people of Lockerbie who must still have traumatic memories of that fateful day in 1989.

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