Searching for Albion

british isles route

On the 21st May I left London with an old road bike, a tent, and two panniers full of useless stuff.

My plan was simple, naive, and way too ambitious: to travel all around and across the British islands, explore the landscape, talk to people about their lives, discover local stories and myths, and generally enjoy myself as much as possible. Being a 27 year old postgraduate student and Londoner with little money, this all depended on the kindness and goodwill of strangers I was yet to meet.

The result is Searching for Albion, chronicling my experiences in words and pictures for each day, as it happened.

Four months later I returned home, not particularly wiser or older. But as I travelled across the country, major events bubbled through communities from European elections to the vote for Scottish independence. There were sports events, cycle rides, international wars and terrorist attacks all kicking off in the background, to which my daily interviews with people captured. Whilst out on the road I encountered all manner of strangeness: I met washed-up actors, boozed with people from every conceivable social class and occupation, talked to worshippers of every major religion, lost my mind stargazing, got hit by a car, climbed a mountain, swam in seas, handled a nuclear missile, lost pretty much all of my belongings (and found them again), encountered the supernatural, camped on cliffsides and castles, and generally had an awesome time. And all that with very little money, and no lycra.

See searchingforalbion.com.

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2 thoughts on “Searching for Albion

  1. Hello JD Taylor! Cycling, writing and meeting folk. Life doesn’t get any better than that. I cycled up to Cape Wrath last year from just outside Inverness and down to Lairg. The ride from Ullapool to Cape Wrath your in for a treat. Here’s one tip. If you near Glendhu there’s a bothy at the head of the loch you can sleep in for free. I slept in it for two days and it was beautiful. The track to it is bit rough and when its raining rougher which is when i did it. I bought your book a while back and its on the reading list. Reading David Harveys ‘ A brief History of Neoliberalism’ so trying to connect my reading matter up. If your going past Gareloch there’s great wee bookshop. To add to your reading list here’s one by historian James D Young. Very Bastards of Creation: Scottish International Radicalism – A Biographical Study, 1707-1995. Anyway enough of me. All the best to you ma man!

    1. Gordon, thank you for such a rich set of thoughts and suggestions! I’ll check at the bothy you mention. It’s hard to work out where I’ll be as I don’t know the north Highlands landscape at all and I’m suspecting it’ll be the toughest part of my journey. I’m sure I’ll pass near, but I have a city bike and, as I’ve found, it’s pretty hopeless at rough tracks. Let’s see! That’s a great tip with the book. I’ll check this out when I get to Scotland. I’m keen to get views on independence. I suspect they’ll remain with the UK, in a similar manner to Quebec, but let’s see. Thank you for the support! If you happen to live in any of the towns I’m passing through, send me an email (jdt@riseup.net) and perhaps we can go for a beer!

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