I've delivered training in some funny places over the years - an underground car park in mid-winter (not recommended - we could only stand 30 min at a time before having to go and warm up for 15 mins ...), a condemned building, a derelict barn and an old people's home are just a few that spring to mind ... so an island closer to Bergen in Norway than it is to London seemed like a walk in the park ...
That was, until I decided to go by boat. Now, I'm no wimp when it comes to boats - in the last 20 years I have crossed the Channel umpteen times in conditions varying from millpond to do-we-don't-we on the part of the ferry line with all the trucks AND the cars chained down in the hold - but the trip over to Shetland can only be described as well, how should I put it ... "technicolour"? I think you know where I am coming from.
I arrived, shaken and very definitely stirred, in Lerwick at 7 in the morning, having left Aberdeen at 5.30 the evening before, short on sleep and long on bleary eyes and a lack of appetite (!), and found my way to the Shetland Community Bike Project, tucked away in one of the beautiful little alleys that run up from Old Lerwick Harbour towards the main street of the town. It was snowing, as it would pretty much all week, but this was hugely compensated for by the warmth of the welcome I had from Caroline (who runs the scheme), and her volunteers, who were at the Scheme to receive training and accreditation.
It was a great week, punctuated by some fantastic "moments" that you can only get when the trainees and the instructor are totally relaxed - and I'd just like to say to Caroline, Willie, Margaret, Scott, Joe, Jake, Geordie and Neil, that boat trips notwithstanding, anytime you want me back, I'd be delighted!
Thanks to Billy Fox for the above image - click here to visit his website!
Thanks also to Jim and Lynne at Fort Charlotte B and B for a fantastic week - worth going back just for the breakfasts!