Folding Up Scotland

Distances are taken from my Viewranger GPS, which stopped a few times, so routes were amended manually and can’t be guaranteed as 100% accurate (especially as the same route sometimes reports a different length on different websites)!

    Miles  Time
Berwick to Edinburgh (Portobello)    65.20  7.00
Edinburgh to Glasgow (Canal) 
  63.94  7.00
Glasgow to Strathyre   58.50  7.00
Strathyre  to Pitlochry   49.30  5.50
Pitlochry to Rothiemurcus   58.75  6.00
Rothiemurcus to Inverness  41.20  5.00
Inverness to Lairg  67.10  8.00
Lairg to Bettyhill  45.90  6.00
Bettyhill to John O’Groats
 50.20  6.00
 Approximately  500  miles!!

This is an account of how I slowly  unfolded my Brompton up through Scotland, in 2011/2012, a journey of just under 500 miles in 9 days at 9mph and with very little pushing!!  

I bought my Brompton L6 in 2004 but only used it for commuting to work. It didn’t occur to me to use it for touring until I retired in 2011, and eight of us began a tour of the Orkney Islands by catching the train from Edinburgh to Thurso.

Scotrail only allow two bikes per train, so we were going to have to dismantle some of the bikes and take them as luggage.  It occurred to me that I could avoid all this hassle by using my Brompton.

By the time I’d covered 150 miles between four of the 20 inhabited Islands on seven ferries (and met the father of the Brompton designer), I’d fallen in love with my Brompton again,  and was re-reading my pal Nick Fairweather’s inspiring account of his time “Coasting around Scotland”, which he did in sections throughout the nineties. 

I decided that as a retirement project I’d have a go at doing a long ride across Scotland on my Brompton, a project I dubbed ‘Folding up Scotland’. 

I started in August 2011, with a test run from Berwick on Tweed to Edinburgh, following the Sustrans coastal route 76.  I wanted to check that I was up to a long distance tour alone on my Brompton (I decided to go it alone as it’s slower on small wheels, and I wasn’t sure I’d make it)! I had no worries about the bike as there are already many accounts of far more extraordinary journeys on the Brompton website.

I started my journey in my 60th year, helped by some birthday upgrades to the Brompton comprising of a new wide range BWR hub (as my original L6 bought in 2004, came with the more limited SRAM hub), a touring pannier and a rack.