Parts & Accessories

It's not the destination, it's the journey

11th August 2020 | Marcus & Kim Leach
As the quote on many an inspirational picture on the internet will tell you ’it’s not the destination, it’s the journey’. As keen travellers we have always believed this, and never was it more appropriate than when our Big British Adventure came to an end.
The Bailey Autograph makes it to Lands End

As we arrived into Land’s End, Kim having successfully driven the length of the UK whilst simultaneously keeping two children under the age of five entertained and happy, as well as running camp at every location, and with Marcus having ridden 1,800 miles in fourteen days, there was a definite air of anticlimax.

Maybe it had something to do with the fact that if you want to get anywhere near to the sign that marks the location you need to be prepared to shell out a small fortune, or maybe it was that, compared to what we had seen and experienced over the previous three weeks, Land’s End simply didn’t compare. Whatever the reason we were glad to be back at our campsite, the wonderful Tredevra Farm, and away from the throngs of tourists having their picture taken by the famous Land’s End sign.

It was here, with the BBQ sizzling and a round of cold celebratory beers on the go, that we were able to reflect on what was a truly wonderful journey, one that had given us far more enjoyment than we had ever expected setting off. Not that we had thought it would be dull, far from it, but having planned to be in Norway this summer there was a slight sense of ‘this will do given the situation’. It took all of a day in Scotland for us to realise that far from being second best, this was going to be an adventure of a lifetime, and actually one we should have done sometime sooner given it’s all on our doorstep, relatively speaking to the rest of Europe.

At Lands End and the end of our adventure

Our journey was twofold, in as much as Marcus had a very different experience to Kim. For all of the difficulties of riding in the rain, howling winds and, eventually, stifling heat, he is the first to admit he had the easier task. Cycling uphills might be difficult, but it’s nothing compared to what Kim had to contend with in keeping Dorothy and Harrison entertained, being on the road to drop off supplies to Marcus and then being at the campsite ahead of time to have everything set up for when Marcus finished, usually after eight hours in the saddle.

It also meant that there were places along the way that the motorhome couldn’t go, given the remoteness of some of the roads Marcus was cycling on. So whilst Marcus had the joy (if you can call it that) of riding up Honister Pass, Hardknott Pass and Wrynose Pass in the Lake District, Kim and the kids had the genuine joy of visiting farm shops, swimming in streams and riding their bikes on far more leisurely paths.

Despite Marcus having the challenge of cycling the entire way to Land’s End, this did little to stop us enjoying the adventure as a family. All it meant was that most days Marcus had to leave very early in the morning so that by mid-afternoon he was back and able to enjoy the rest of the day with us. With our built-in rest days we were able to target certain areas to explore in more detail, and those who follow the Bailey Instagram account will have seen our top three places from the trip, all of which have a common theme – the freedom of being in the great outdoors. To us, that was the real joy of this trip, being able to walk and roam free in the mountains, meadows and hills, to swim in little rivers and brooks, all the while away from people and all that was and is going on in the world.

Marcus cycling in the Wye Valley

For those who may have missed our top three destinations they were the West Coast of Scotland, the Wye Valley and Snowdonia National Park, all of which offered an almost endless list of outdoor options, no matter what you’re looking for, be it a sedate river-side walk or a hair-raising ascent of any number of mountains. Often we say it’s the people you meet along the way that make a trip, but given the current situation our contact with other people was fairly minimal, and instead it was the time we shared with each other, as a family, that made the trip so special. It will certainly be one that we look back on for many years to come with immensely fond memories.

Taking a break along the road

Taking on such a trip, with all the elements involved, wouldn’t have been possible without the comfort and space of the Autograph 74-4, which was the perfect vehicle for all of our demands. We only wish that the journey could have continued, but when you get to the end of Britain (in Cornwall at least) there is little choice but to turn around and head home, where the planning for the next trip has already begun. We have loved sharing our journey with you all, and hope to see as many of you on the road as possible over the coming months (so long as we can continue to travel safely and responsibly).

An adventure of a lifetime in the UK