Tour de Vet – The Final Push!!

rhydFantastic session at Ryhd Broughton Vets….

@ThamesMedical enjoyable CPD, learnt a lot. Thank you and good luck on com-pleting your challenge, raising lots of money for @canine_partners

…. and after Nic Ilchyshyn & Chris Miller, both vets at Ryd Broughton, escorted Mike for a good couple of hours towards Preston. The moment they left Mike, he got lost!! Mike found himself in a place called Lowton but with the amazing views across the Cheshire Plain, it should have been called Highton! He managed to get himself back on track and finished the day in Preston Travel Lodge in the centre of Preston, albeit wet and bedraggled.

lizzie&friendoakhillThe next morning Mike rode straight into prevailing westerly wind and rain for about an hour and a half only to find he was at the wrong practice. Fortunately, Judith Lee, who had organised the training session for Oakhill Vets, was doing a branch practice there and re-directed him to the main hospital where he was met by the local press and photographers.

Superb session with staff at Oakhill Vets with Lizzie joining in, although I’m not sure what that cat is thinking! Mike left Oakhill Vets accompanied by two members of staff one being triathlete, Suzanne Green. This next journey was to set the highest average of the whole ride as they pushed towards Cumbria but alone once again, the hills started!

greyhoundThrough Kendal onto the infamous Shap Fell. It took Mike (an embarrassing (his words)!) two hours to climb averaging a speed of 2.6km an hour. He arrived at The Greyhound Hotel just after dark. Once again, fantastic welcome by the owner Chris who cooked him fishcakes despite his late arrival.

mike-near-penrithcanine-partnerFriday dawned and Mike was joined for breakfast by Chris & Kirsty Baker and Chris then accompanied him to Ashlea Vets in Carlisle for fabulous teaching sessions.

It was here that Mike met Sue, who had been a staff nurse for many years, with her Canine Partner, Quizzie, who had been trained to help Sue re-locate her shoulders when they dislocated – amazing!

Friday evening was spent with Chris & Kirsty who took Mike to a cricket match in Keswick for a complete break away & much enjoyed by all.

A big thank you to Chris & Kirsty barker 🙂

Mike left Ashley Vets the next morning, still remarkably cheerful, knowing that a big storm was coming in but stayed ahead of it for about an hour. All of a sudden there was a sound resembling a roaring steam train coming through the trees – oh no, that was the rain, again. Is there no end to the drenching that Mike is enduring?

storms-aheadThis was to be the biggest day for climbing, around 2000m in all. Knackered, cold and soaked Mike was at his lowest ebb and paused by a stream and thought that enough was enough. So many days of relentless bad weather, tired and alone but he suddenly remembered Sue from Ashlea Vets with her Canine Partner and realised how lucky he was to be sitting in the middle of the countryside albeit desolate. This was to be a real turning point and it had taken three weeks to get to it but Mike is made of strong stuff and he never lets anyone down (well, he doesn’t mean to!). Courage, determination and true grit made him get back on his bike and start peddling once again.

He was welcomed in Peebles at the Crown Hotel, a 15th Century coaching Inn with low narrow doors, by Chris Cassidy who picked up his bike and carried it into their office, showed Mike to his room, offered the use of their tumble dryer and said that a pint would be waiting for him on the bar! Fantastic! What more can you ask for?

peebles

Well, a shoe repairer would be good! The sole had come off one of Mike’s cycling shoes and without being fixed he couldn’t ride. Scott Brothers to the rescue! They kindly donated super araldite and Mike sat in the sunshine and fixed it!

What a wonderful place Peebles is, full of lovely, helpful folk and well worth a visit.

peebles2Mike set off from a well needed and enjoyable stay in Peebles in what they called “blinky” weather?! A brief pause by the mile marker on his way around Edinburgh to Dunfermline to stay with Graham and Roslyn Eckford.

However, things never go smoothly for Mike and the sat nav took him via a route through the Pentland Hills, cycling off-road on dirt tracks. You may think that this would be picturesque but with a trailer on the back and being wet & tired Mike was not impressed. A short break was needed and he perched his bike and went to see how he could cross a stream. All of a sudden, he glimpsed a movement and to his utter dismay saw his bike and trailer falling, no matter how loudly he screamed “NO, NO!”, the bike continued to fall and landed in the stream.

bike-in-streamAn angel of mercy, in the form of a lady walker saw what had happened and said “I can rescue that” and with that jumped into the stream and pulled the bike out. A huge thank you to this lady!!

Mike approached the bike with some trepidation. Was the bike badly damaged? Was the ride over? Had he lost another Canine partner?!!

On inspection, he found the trailer was full of water and the wing mirror broken, Lizzie was still alive although slightly dazed, but everything else on the bike was still in one piece.

He then rode down to the Fourth Road Bridge…

forth-bridge
…and onto Dunfermline and was so grateful still be in one piece.

A fabulous stew with Graham & Roslyn soon made the traumas of the day fade away and they left the bikes and visited Falkirk to see the Kelpies and of course Lizzie went too!

cat+CATThe next day was a relaxed start and Graham said it was only four miles up to his practice, Inglis Vet, the key word being “up”! Mike allowed half an hour to get there but arrived ten minutes late at the new Animal Welfare Centre. Here Mike did three hours of blood pressure monitoring with staff and then Graham saddled up, both wearing waterproofs and rode a gentle 25 miles to Stirling.

The Tour de Vet, muddy wet & dripping arrived at the final destination, The Vet Trust Conference …

Don’t forget, Mike is raising money for Canine Partners so please give generously to this wonderful cause via Just Giving
(http://www.justgiving.com/tour-de-vet).