Miles ahead for Maggie
PUBLISHED: 09:43 12 May 2015 | UPDATED: 09:43 12 May 2015
Maggie Scorer is cycling 5,000 miles round the coast of the UK – with her dog, Oscar in a trailer behind – to raise funds for SANDS and Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research. She talks to Jan Etherington about her first week on the road
March 14. The day of departure dawned and my legs had turned to jelly. I was setting off from the Wentworth Hotel, Aldeburgh – who kindly laid on breakfast for me. It was a dull, windy and cold day and although my family had planned to cycle a mile or two with me, it was just too cold for the grandchildren. Outside, the street was lined with flag waving wellwishers and the Mayor of Aldeburgh came to see me off. ITV Anglia sent a lovely journalist to film my departure for the evening news. There’s no going back now, I realised, as I checked the panniers and tucked Oscar in.
Suddenly, I’m on that long, lonely Thorpeness road and there’s just me and Oscar. And I know that’s how it’ll be for much of the journey.
It was an easy day, through Dunwich (a stop for a fundraising tea – fantastic!) and then into Walberswick to stay with Jan and Gavin. Their young dog, Jagger, and Oscar romp together, while I sink into a Jacuzzi bath. Bliss! Will every day be like this? The next day, I’m joined by three fellow cyclists who escort me to Lowestoft. Lovely to have company.
A brutal headwind for the first two days and on Monday, I’m on my own for a long, long ride to Sheringham in Norfolk. I’ve cycled 55 miles when I arrive – with relief and amazement – I couldn’t have pedalled an inch further. My friends are not yet back from work, so I recover with a pint of Guinness in the Two Lifeboats pub. I’ve earned it.
Wednesday March 18. Off to Blakeney, through a foul sea fret, but that didn’t stop me enjoying the pretty villages of Weybourn, Kelling and Cley. A big, 35-mile ride on Thursday, past panoramic Wells-next-the-Sea and Holkham.
I’m allowing myself days off, to recover and allow Oscar to romp and be a dog. We’ve had lovley walks this week, round Sandringham estate and along the beach at Blakeney.
One huge highlight – the solar eclipse. I was on my own, looking up, when the dark clouds parted and a tiny crescent appeared. I thought someone up there is looking down on me!
Until now, I’ve been staying with friends, but until I get to Whitby, my accommodation will be arranged by www.dogfriendly.co.uk, who have been marvellous. I will be relying on the ‘kindness of strangers’ to put up Oscar and me.
I don’t always have a mobile phone or internet connection, but I want to thank all those who are supporting Oscar and me, by donating to the website and sending messages. We’ve already raised £10,000 for the charities. So many people have been calling out ‘Good luck, Maggie!’ and stopping to chat, as I pass.
March 22. I’m in Skegness, staying at the Beeston Lodge Hotel, well looked after by Neville and Lorraine, who are kindly having a whip-round in their 60s Twilight Lounge. Tomorrow I have a 50-mile ride to Grimsby. After the strong winds this week, I have huge red cheeks and a red nose. But physically, Oscar and I are absolutely fine. My knee – twisted two weeks before I set off – is giving me no problems at all.
Now, as I start my second week, I’m round The Wash, heading north and feel I’m getting somewhere. I don’t know what the next few months will bring – but I will make sure you hear all about it.