Tartan Trail – The Finale

27th September 2011 by

The long feared cycling day proved to be wet and challenging from the start- perhaps due to the tail-end of a certain hurricane (cheers America).  We lost Colin very early due to an exploded tyre (don’t worry, we found him again!) as we headed over the mountainous moors in gale force winds and driving rain. It was hard to keep eyes open in the rain, however we managed to keep our spirits high by singing silly songs (ALWAYS LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE OF LIIIIIFE!) and making impromptu and secret stops to tea rooms. Luckily, no-one was swept away in a cyclone and we all made it, limbs intact, to the Allanton Peace Sanctuary just outside of Dumfries.

Looking rather wet and bedraggled we chanced upon the lovely Glenda, and later on Uma, who ran the Peace Sanctuary. Taking pity upon us Glenda ushered us into the Sanctuary’s rather lovely mansion and very very very kindly gave us all beds in dormitory rooms usually housing groups coming to work on various social, environmental and philosophical aspects of peace. She later told us she wouldn’t have been able to sleep if we were all out camping in the hurricane! Equally exciting we were given the use of a really homely kitchen and dining room and… showers and a washing machine. So much luxury I almost cried. Our time in Dumfries was spent doing the usual Otesha activities – we performed at a primary school, and did workshops at a secondary school. This proved to be a bit scary as teenagers tended to have grumpy faces on, but we all agreed that the workshops were of utmost importance as the pupils were our target audience and tended to understand the themes a bit better, even if they seemed less engaged. We also had the honour of volunteering as marshals with the first stage of the ‘Tour of Britain’, a cycling race similar to the Tour de France. Despite a cold and wet wait certain people really enjoyed watching some rather fine pairs of legs whizzing past!! At the same time there were questions about whether the amount of support vehicles (30 vehicles for 90 riders plus whole police cavalcade) was wholly necessary.

We were all very sad to leave Glenda, Uma and all the others at Allanton Peace Sanctuary, but good times must come to end and we mounted our faithful steeds for our last cycle ride as a group (sniff sniff). And what a final ride it was! After leaving Dumfries we cycled south down the bird filled river and along the wild looking estuary. Long flat stretches provided gentle rides for some and racing tracks for others! After passing the infamous town of Gretna (no- there weren’t any Otesha marriages I’m afraid) we reluctantly passed into England and headed to Carlisle.

We arrived in high spirits to the tranquil organic farm belonging to the determined farmer Susan Aglionby, which was to be our final destination- a field to camp in, and a classroom in which to meet and cook. Susan runs the farm with the help of intern Emma, producing both cattle and lamb (which I’m told are very tasty from Colin, Arthur and Andres) but also runs environmental education and support work with young and vulnerable people.

The next morning we spent a lovely time in the local school. We decided to go all out in our finale performance, which resulted in numerous onstage giggles. Despite this the messages definitely came across and we all had A LOT of fun in the process!!! After the wonderful time in the school we returned to base for a walk around the farm with Susan. Despite some conflicting views on vegetarianism the whole group was very impressed by the amount of work she puts in to her organic venture. In return for her generous hospitality we did some work weeding her yard, aided by Colin’s music and discussions about how best to change people’s behaviour. That night many of us patronised the local pub to sample ale and take part in Mike’s pub quiz, quite unsuccessfully.

And so, the final day had arrived. A big sadness hung over the group, but I think everyone was looking forward to the future, whether it was seeing family and friends, starting new jobs, going on foreign adventures or getting back to their beloved rugby club. Iona from the Otesha office arrived to help us wrap up, giving feedback, sharing our experiences of tour and talking about our futures. That night the cooking team excelled themselves with a 3 course meal from around the world. Everyone dressed up in their finest exotic finery, played games and exchanged secret friend gifts, and reveled in each others company for the last time. The next day we all exchanged sad goodbyes, promises to stay in touch and all boarded trains to pastures new.

So here we are, it’s all over. I’m sitting in my parents’ warm and dry kitchen in Wales reminiscing about the amazing adventure we all went on. Of course there were low points – group conflicts, punctures, rain and boredom of porridge. However the highs far outweigh these. Lifelong friendships have been made, and experiences and lessons have been learnt. Thinking about the young people we have reached is phenomenal – hundreds of kids heard our messages about how little actions can have massive impacts in the world and will hopefully think about this as they grow up. Not only that but I think many in our group will really address the same issues in their own lives, whether it be eating organic food, obtaining recycled and second hand goods and clothes or buying fairtrade bananas. I’m just off now to catch up with some old friends so I shall have to leave it here. Will I be borrowing the car to drive the 2 miles to town like I usually do? Hell no! I’m gonna get on my faithful bike and cycle with the wind in my hair, reminiscing about all my two-wheeled adventures!

Thanks for following our blog! Love, Peace and Bicycle Grease! Over and out.

Luciana (Goose), on behalf on the Tartan Trail massive- Colin (Coljop), Dina Dino, Jenny Tree, Jenny A, Catherine (Hunter Gatherer), Kimberley (Eco), Zoe (Zo-ane), Leah (L-pop), Arthur (Arty), Andres and Lucy Colbizzle xxxxxxxxxxxxxx


Many thanks to the Postcode Trust for their generous support of this project which has enabled us to reach over 1000 children and young people across Scotland.



One Response to “Tartan Trail – The Finale”

  1. Gaby Ellis says:

    I really enjoyed reading the blog of the Tartan Trailers.
    I’m sorry, I couldn’t have seen your play.
    Wishing all of you the best for your future.
    Warm greetings from Hamburg, Germany.

Search Blog

Get Social