It's not until you are lying awake in your tent, early in the morning that you hear just how noisy most of the rest of one's life is. Lying in my tent this morning on the shore of Loch Lomond, I could hear nothing. Nothing but silence. No cars, no aeroplanes, no bustle. The first thing I did hear was an Oyster Catcher as it flew up and down the shore.
We've taken a few days off to holiday in Scotland. We drove the six hours up from home, passing through Glasgow and up to a camp site on the eastern side of the Loch. Today, we're heading up to Glencoe and Fort William where we spend the night, before heading down the coast to take a ferry to the Isle of Mull for a week.
On Mull, we plan to walk, whale watch and take a few other trips. I think there might be a distillery or two on the island too.
I'm in two minds about whether to publish my travel diary on this blog as I write it so people can comment on it and make suggestions for when I publish it as a book.
What do you think? I will be very grateful for your input. Please can you complete the survey here?
I've now completed the first 24 days of our journey from my diary. It's going to take me several months at the rate I am typing up the diary at this rate. I need to up my work rate.
I looked up the website of someone who was an inspiration to us both before we left England that August, namely Josie Dew. She has cycled all over the world and written many books. You can see them here.
Dan, my brother, and I wrote diaries in small notebooks on most days of our journey up to the point when we were in the Central African Republic. After that, my record of the journey is held in letters that I sent to Penny, my then girlfriend and now wife.
Typing up the entries for each day is bringing back to life what we experienced and felt. I'm enjoying it. However, I realise that making it into something which people want to read is going to take a lot more effort. Some of the language and grammar I used in the diaries reminds me that I was often writing the diary after a long day in the saddle while in a tent and using a paraffin lamp for light.
On 16th August 1991, my brother, Dan, and I set off on the first leg of a long distance cycle journey which was to take us from Hampshire in the UK to Cape Town. We cycled 17,000 kms in a year through some parts of Africa which closed to outsiders after we left them. We cycled through the Sahara, through tropical rain forests, savannah and cities. We wrote diaries and letters but never published them.
This website is the start of the process of publishing my diaries and memories of that adventure which had a major impact on our lives.
Will Hawkins lives in Lincolnshire with his family and is now a magazine editor and occasional adventure cyclist.
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