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all together now...
L'aventure commence à l'aurore
A l'aurore de chaque matin
L'aventure commence alors
Que la lumière nous lave les mains...

Of course the French reminds me again of the strange parallels between this journey and another - both rich in history, each a compelling narrative of unpredictability along a predetermined path, and both journeys of transformative power; both providing daily feeds across a similar number of "stages", each meticulously mapped across a landscape of dramatic beauty; and as I catch up on news of both each night, I wonder if there are further parallels - between the seasoned Armstrong and Alan, between the young (tho' not that sickly) Contador and David, who surely triumph by the end of the tour.

Tim! Sorry not to have caught up with you sooner. I am only now getting to grips with the length and breadth of your mission and am typing one handed as I hold the 5 month old Beatrice on my lap. She is fascinated by the contortions of your knarled and beardy face much as folk must have been across the years at the sight of evolving lunacy. The archives of the Bethlem Hospital offer endlessly intriguing photographs of newly admitted patients, some of them collected together with brief accounts of their histories in a very good book edited by Rob Howard. Of course the trip into insanity is a lonely one most times and it is hard to be sure if those who seek extreme solitude are already well on the way down the rocky road. Glad to hear you are to be joined by others although I am not really questioning the robustness of your mental health (Beatrice however says you look a bit mad).

Much love Giles

I am struck by the coincidence of you being in Scotland at the same time as the Open golf is taking place there as well as it being the 40th anniversary of the moon landing. Further spookiness arises from the fact that my old buddy zowie has just directed a very well received film about an astronaut. I can only assume that ziggy has joined you on the trail....

Hello Nick & Giles

Thanks you for your messages. I am back from the dark side of the moon and thus put lunacy aside. Or rather, have have disguised myself as a sane person in order not to freak out my new travelling companions.

I hear you about moon landings and golf and Bowie (the #golfonthemoon project is still very much alive btw). I have actualy bought my orange space suit with me and a practice ball, but no club. If I can borrow one perhaps I can take a few practice swings, dressed accordingly, somewhere between here (Glen Lyon presently) and Bulquhidder. Let me see what I can do.

p.s. I think Buzz Aldrin was the looney one, no? Can you *read* his face Giles and tell us?

A lot of resonance. There's the moon adventure, the golf (again, today, a tale of a wily older man but the youngster coming out on top), the cricket, I could probably find a few football metaphors, and - WHAT I WAS REFERRING TO - the joy that is the tour de france.
I look forward to the photos of your nasa-ed up with club swinging in a particularly craggy spot.

What a joy to see all three of you breasting the merciless winds and forging on together. I'm sorry I've been away from all form of computers for a few weeks now and have missed the majority of your journey. It looks a fabulous one in the proper sense of the word and it's certainly something for epic Scottish literature to see a man in an orange NASA suit practising his swing. One question though - are they real scottish hills behind you or were they faked up in a disused Hollywood film set... After all, not at sure the shadows across your face were quite right for that far north at this time of year...

PS I have a bear now too. And I was seen in a kilt too... Is this all part of a plan?



You're are not the first person to doubt the veracity of my travelogue. There are others who suspect I have been sitting comfortably at home in South London rather than sploshing across the Highlands for real - a bit like Stevenson sunning himself in Bournemouth whilst in his head David & Alan have to take whatever his imagination throws at them.

Of course, if you bothered to turn up at the right time and right place, you would be able to prove that I wasn't faking it. The book tells you where I'm going to be and I've published enough maps and photos now to mark my way.

Having said that, I know NASA has been having this same problem for 40 years. I prefer Aldrin's standard response to moon landing deniers - bash em on the nose! see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOo6aHSY8hU

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