Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Day 19 - Crossing the Finish Line

Waking up in a bunkhouse on the Bridge of Orchy station platform was both surreal and enchanting. Steve, the jolly proprietor of this unusual establishment was up to greet us with porridge and bananas - the perfect breakfast to fuel our final day of cycling.

After warning us about police being out and about in the Highlands with speed guns (I could only imagine myself huffing and puffing my way at -5 miles an hour up sheer precipices!), Steve waved us on our way and we braced ourselves for a windy and wet cycle to Fort William. In fact, I was quite grateful for the turbulent weather conditions - we really did get to see this part of the world in sunshine, wind, fog, and rain and every element painted it in a dramatically beautiful way. I remember one point when Alice and I were cycling through a heavy downpour when suddenly, half a mile ahead, a golden glow rose from the ground as the sun found its way through. It was simply awesome.

We arrived at Fort William in time for lunch. The wonderful Jenifer and Martin Roddy, all the way from Harpenden, were there to greet us in to the town and we set about finding a suitable pub to have a small tipple to celebrate our completion of this epic journey. Indeed, so proud we were of our efforts, we had no shame in instigating a postprandial march down Fort William high street waving our banners in glee and promoting our final concert of the tour.

Killmallie Hall in Corpach did not make the most glamourous of venues for our final hurrah, but it was filled with such warmth and generosity of spirit, that it really didn't matter. Margaret, our kind hostess for the evening and professional musician herself, had warned us that the pianos in Fort William and surrounding villages only get tuned once or maybe twice a year, and so I was not expecting a top-of-the-range instrument with which to bow out. However, the piano that had been moved to the hall for the evening served its purpose well and Alice and I enjoyed this final recital very much. What a supportive audience too! Special thanks must go to Catherine for all her efforts in making this such a successful evening.

With a final £280 or so into the pot, it felt like we had come full 'song-circle' since our first concert in Wells over two weeks ago. Wow, how so much tarmac had passed under our tyres in the days in between!

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