Green travel to green places

In search of climate and wildlife stories…by bike

Wiggins, Cavendish and Densham — July 22, 2012

Wiggins, Cavendish and Densham

What a great day for cycling! Bradley Wiggins wins the Tour de France, Mark Cavendish wins on the Champs Elysses for the forth year in a row, and my son Willoughby learns to ride a bike. Superb.

This noteable event in Willoughby’s life is somehow surprising as he had seemed rather attached to the stabilisers, and actually not getting on his bike at all. But I think all the recent tag-along journeys have really helped with his confidence and balance.

For our family the best thing about this event is that, as the boys get bigger and heavier, family outings get harder and eventually impossible with the current bike seat and tag-along arrangement. I had feared that we would become reliant on the car! So hopefully, next summer we can progress to 3 bikes and 1 tag-along and remain able to green travel to green places.

The distance stats — July 19, 2012

The distance stats

For the stats lovers out there here are the statistics on how far I have travelled during my sabbatical, so far. All distances in miles and all low-carbon.

  • Barons Haugh – Train 34, Walk 2 (to the reserve)
  • Skinflats and Inner Forth – Train 42, Cycle 11
  • Loch Leven – Train 153, Cycle 19
  • Lochwinnoch – Train 17, Cycle 20

Total so far (drum roll please)

Train – 246 miles        Cycling – 50 miles 

A view from one of Barons Haugh’s hides

Thanks to my little brother I now have a wee bike computer to work out my cycling miles. I worked out the distances on and If there is an easier way to calculate train journey distances please let me know.

Now to plan the next Green travel to green places journeys.

Bute-iful cycling — July 16, 2012

Bute-iful cycling

I’m not back on sabbatical yet but thought I would blog about my latest green travel. I’ve been on holiday with the family the past couple of weeks and after abandoning our Moray camping holiday due to rain we decided to extend our time off with a short trip somewhere else.We found a B&B in Rothesay on the Isle of Bute so headed there from Glasgow. Best of all we decided to leave the car at home and go by train, ferry and bikes. We loaded 2 bikes, 1 bike seat, 1 tag-along bike, 2 panniers, 1 small rucksack, 1 handlebar bag and not forgetting 2 children onto the train to Wemyss Bay for the journey along the Clyde. At Wemyss Bay the station is at the ferry terminal so an easy roll down the pier to get a ticket. At the other end a short ride got us to the B&B – easy.

Taking a rest from digging at Scalpsie Bay

Taking the bikes meant we had them to get about the island, mainly to the sandy beaches for us. Cycling on Bute is easy as nowhere is very far away and doesn’t take a climb over a big hill to get there. On the east side the road runs along the coast so getting to Mount Stuart, for example, is flat all the way.

Rothesay is, sadly, a town in decline – a faded seaside destination of the past – and the worst fish supper I have ever had! But the beaches and views are glorious. I have never been to a beach where the sand and sea is so full of life. Give me a spade and a sandy beach and I have to dig, constantly, so I saw a lot of worms, shellfish and other invertebrates – even though I didn’t know what they are it felt like Bute was teeming with life. The weather was great and a few porpoises in the Kyles of Bute topped it all off, especially for Anna, my wife, who had missed seeing bottlenose dolphins in the Moray Firth.

Bute without the car was so easy. If more people decided to leave the aeroplane on the ground and even the car at home to cut their holiday’s carbon footprint Rothesay could be in for a second heyday.

Taking a break from my sabbatical — July 1, 2012

Taking a break from my sabbatical


Thanks to all of you who have been following my travels and thoughts via this blog. With the first week of my sabbatical over I’m now taking a break for a few weeks. I’ve had a great time and seen some amazing views so can’t wait until I’m be off on sabbatical travels again – probably in August. I might write the occasional blog post in the interim if I get inspired so please look out for new blog posts in the future and do keep posting comments or contact me on twitter @JimDensham.

Just realised this pic includes a request for the viewer to consider the RSPB in their will. Including it here is not an intentional hint!