Snookered. Check mate. Game over. I sat in the pub stunned, motionless and silent but fizzing inside with frustration, something akin to anger, and new emotions I had never felt before. I NEVER QUIT. This was unchartered territory. It was the bitterest pill and it was stuck in my throat.
The room was full of well healed polite humanity enjoying a cosy Sunday as the rain lashed hard against the windows. Around the peripheral of my thousand yard stare I sensed people looking at me in a puzzled, slightly uncomfortable manner, trying not to catch my eye.
I did my best to avoid any conversation starter. A slightly intrigued couple repeatedly smiled, perhaps keen to elicit why or how I had came to be there, alone, hollow faced, dressed funny, and with glazed vacant eyes. Angry with myself, I had no desire to recount the conversation stopping escapade nor reconsider the incident pit that had so suddenly opened up to end play.
One more hill. Some easy miles on lanes and leisure paths. That’s all that was left. All it would take to complete this massive task. This was meant to be the warm down, the final march home after the hardest graft had been done.
Stepping out to the van, I started shaking uncontrollably as the elements battered me one last time. The shock of the cold and the rain confirmed what I already knew; I had made the right decision. I had been left with no option but to end my attempt on the West Highland Way Double at the eleventh hour. The disappointment was almost unbearable but broken I was not. It’s the journey that matters.
It was an incredible ride. Triumph and tragedy. Extreme joy and deep despair. Effortless progress and torturous shackles…
To find out what transpired on this intense 28hr journey make sure you get your hands on a copy of Privateer in December:
There will be loads of info on the route as well as my ride. In addition there will be superb photos from Gordon Harrison.
The ‘darkest moments’ evoked memories of one of my favourite ever films…..