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Tuesday, 31 July 2018
Where you going to sleep tonight?

Weird to think that a year ago I was engaged in the most epic bicycle ride of my life: London Edinburgh London. My soundtrack to that ride was Amy McDonald, with this song. It was largely in my head, but occasionally belted out on a long empty road when I needed to pick my spirits up.  There is something adventurous and exciting in this song that brought it to mind while I was on this most adventurous of rides.

The best part of having a soundtrack in your head is that you can mash it up with other songs. Strangely, I mashed up the chorus of This is the Life with the chorus of the Cranberries song Zombie.  It somehow worked.

So what are my long term reflections on London-Edinburgh-London?  I remember in the immediate aftermath of the ride, discussing with friends that I had no desire to do it again. I remember saying that it was a brilliant ride that was spoiled by the time-limit which added constant pressure to keep pushing on, night and day. There were large sections of the ride where the natural beauty of the country couldn’t be appreciated because we were riding through it at night. And there was the physical pain obviously in various parts of the body.  Even then, I had a notion in the back of my mind that I could change my mind. A year later, only the romantic memories have stuck: I know the ride had ups and downs but I am 100% certain I will do the ride again, if possible.

Here is an overview of the route, from my live tracker:

1,441 km
11,128 metres of climbing
73.5 hours of cycling
114 hours elapsed time

Posted by bigblue on 31/07/2018 at 03:49 PM
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Sunday, 30 July 2017
I’m off!

The moment has come that I depart on London-Edinburgh-London. This 870 mile (1440 km) cycle ride is the longest I have ever done, and I have 117 hours to complete it. Assuming I won’t be writing much for the next five days, I thought I would leave you with this video of some fantastic images from the 2013 edition of the ride.

Posted by bigblue on 30/07/2017 at 01:45 PM
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Tuesday, 16 May 2017
London Edinburgh London Documentary

Following on from the previous two videos, which touched on this subject, here is the trailer for the documentary on the London-Edinburgh-London cycle ride. Video by MadeGood.Films

Posted by bigblue on 16/05/2017 at 04:49 PM
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Monday, 19 November 2012
Badger crossing

Source: via bigbluemeanie on Pinterest

This is one time we can be grateful for a lack of “joined-up” government thinking.

Posted by bigblue on 19/11/2012 at 03:46 PM
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Monday, 03 September 2012


Someone balanced this stone on the bank of the Esk River, at Samye Ling Buddhist monastery in Scotland.

Posted by bigblue on 03/09/2012 at 08:45 AM
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Friday, 31 August 2012
The Lockerbie Quilt


This quilt was produced by five locals to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Lockerbie disaster in 2008. A poster nearby says:

Lest We Forget

This quilt is dedicated to all those who lost their lives in the events of 21 December 1988.
The 259 leaves on the tree depict the souls who lost their lives whilst passengers on Pan Am Flight 103.
The 11 pebbles depict the residents of Lockerbie who lost their lives.
The tree, underpinned by strong roots, represents thecontinuity of life reflecting the way thecommunity of Lockerbie and families of those who died have striven to overcome this tragedy.
The quilt was made as a remembrance of the twentieth anniversary of the disaster.

There is more information on the BBC Website. The quilt is on display at the Dryfesdale Lodge Visitor’s Centre in Lockerbie, an intimate and touching memorial to all the victims of the disaster.

Posted by bigblue on 31/08/2012 at 08:14 AM
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Thursday, 30 August 2012
The Naga House


This shrine was built in the water where two rivers meet. According to the Samye Ling web guide:

This stone structure in the River Esk is embedded with semi-precious stones and was built as an offering to the nagas or water spirits who dwell at the junction between the two rivers.

Making offerings to nagas is a way of bringing environmental forces into balance. The point where the two rivers meet is directly opposite the doors of the temple and is very powerful in terms of geomancy. The Naga House also serves a function in balancing the powerful energies emanating from this point.

Posted by bigblue on 30/08/2012 at 06:35 PM
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The Tibetan Temple


There are three floors to the Temple.  The top floor consists of a shrine to the Medicine Buddha.  On a monthly basis (on the eighth day of the Tibetan calendar) prayers are said to the Medicine Buddha. Apart from these prayers and occasional guided tours, this area of the temple is not generally open to the public.

The first floor, also not open to the public, contains a shrine and private accommodation for visiting high Lamas.

On the ground floor is the main shrine, which is divided into three sections, the front section hosting the shrine itself and the two other sections being used for weekend workshops. On big occasions the whole shrine is opened up and the dividing partitions are removed.

Here is a picture of the main shrine room, called Lhakang in Tibetan (which means ‘Palace of the God’, indicating that representations of enlightened beings are present):


Relics or images of the historical Buddha… are not for worship.  Instead, the statues, relics and images are to provide inspiration for what we can achieve by following the Buddha’s teachings.  They also serve as a support for our respect and devotion to the teachings.

Here’s one I took earlier - a photograph of the Samye Ling Temple in December 2003, during a snow storm:


The quotes above are extracted from the Samye Ling Website.  You can read more about the temple here.

Posted by bigblue on 30/08/2012 at 08:58 AM
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