As many of you who know us know, my Brother-In-Law, Ashley, has been our constant travelling companion for nigh on almost 20 years. We have driven the four points of the compass in England, with his companionship 99% of the time. No matter what the vehicle we were in (anyone remember the VW Vento?!), or what the weather was like, he would invariably come up with an out-of-the-way place to explore, and, in the right season, hunt for mushrooms. His infamous Green Jacket became legendary, almost mythical.

2021 arrived, and things changed. It was with utter shock and horror that he was then diagnosed with Stage 4 inoperable Terminal Pancreatic Cancer around April of this year, completely out of the blue. A minor discomfort, that turned out to be a major problem. The diagnosis may have come earlier if it were not for the dreaded Covid-19 plague, but it came nonetheless. To date, his treatment by the NHS has been nothing short of diabolical, and, at the time of writing, he has yet to even be seen by an oncologist.

Whilst we were all reeling in a state of numb denial, his pragmatism shone through, and it was decided that a possible final ‘Hurrah!’ to our adventures should be something as monumental (an emphasis on the mental) as physically possible given the current state of world affairs. With this in mind, we needed to find somewhere none of us had been before, by which I mean had ‘properly’ been. We have all been to many places briefly, but to ‘properly’ go somewhere it to explore all it has to offer, to dig beneath the surface and to find the unusual. We settled on a tour of our northernmost neighbours – Scotland.

I sat down and drew up a plan. It involved a spreadsheet, Google Maps and many hours of using maths and brains to calculate times, distances, hotels and so on. Plans were then altered. Eventually, dates were agreed, route was planned and accommodation was booked. Everything looked good.

Things changed, again. Boris and Sturgeon decided we all needed to be locked up a little longer. We moved the dates, Ash booked the hotels. Then the NHS struck. First oncology appointment – 3 days into the proposed trip! So, what do we do? Cancel totally, move, or carry on regardless? Well, we decided, lets just do it! First two hotels were cancelled and a new route from here to Hotel 3 was laid in, but we are still going.

We are now prepping like mad – sorting out equipment, clothing, work, beer – its (hopefully) full steam ahead. 12 days, 11 hotels, 4 people, 1 Land Rover. Trossachs, Cairngorms, Lochs, Mountains, Islands, Nevis, Hadrian, Haggis and (hopefully) Distilleries. There are lots of ‘Hopfully’s in there, but with Covid in our midst, all we can do is hope. England just beat Germany in Euro 2020, so anything is possible!

We will be posting stuff on here, and on all the social media platforms we have, as we go. Please follow us and enjoy the splendor of Scotland along with us. As we drive towards an ultimately different, slightly less interesting, future, we will do what we can to make the present memorable. Drone at the ready……!

Also, if any of you feel so inclined, please donate as much as you can to Pancreatic Cancer UK. This is a much underfunded, and under researched cancer that needs more attention. Thank you.