- Posted August 17, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Interview: The End-to-Ender
Royston Wood is an End-to-Ender, part of a dedicated group of people who make the trek from Land’s End to John O’ Groats (or vice-versa). Mr. Wood is not just an End-to-Ender, he has done the route THREE times on a bicycle. He has gone on further to write an e-book and dedicated a website to helping others accomplish the journey. Since Mr. Wood has since all of Great Britain in an incredibly intimate way, I contacted him to see his thoughts on the Scottish Referendum.
Bo Brennan: First of all, could you tell me you full name, age and where you are originally from?
Royston Wood: Royston George Wood, 47, originally from Isle of Wight.
BB: You've biked the Land's End to John O'Groats route a number of times. What inspired you to do the route in the first place?
RW: I've actually cycled it three times—once from top to bottom [Ed’s note: from John O’ Groats to Land’s End] and twice from bottom up. The first attempt was merely because it tends to be something on every UK cyclists’ to-do list. The second foray was to try and find a more cycle-friendly route than the first time...inspired in part by a double fatal accident on the A30 in Cornwall for two End-to-Enders from Scotland. The third ride, this June, was to test out some re-routing from the 2nd ride.
BB: What were some of the most difficult parts of the ride?
RW: Getting up in the morning and dealing with wooden legs and saddle sores! In terms of terrain, Devon and Cornwall were the hardest on all three of my rides. It all depends on your route though. If you routed through the middle of Wales and the Lake District, those would be tough. Similarly, I am sure there are some very tough roads in Scotland but the route I chose was fairly easy.
BB: In your opinion, what was the most beautiful part of the UK?
RW: Devon and Cornwall are undoubtedly beautiful but I have become very used to the scenery so I tend not to notice it. The canals were the most peaceful along with the many old railway lines on my route. In terms of drama though the [Scottish] Highlands win. My particular favorite was the climb up the Pass of Drumochter, towards Aviemore.
BB: Would you do it again?
BB: The Scottish Referendum is on September 18th. Will the independence vote affect you in anyway?
RW: I do not anticipate any direct impact, although if there is a ‘yes’ vote there will be some effect on the general economy until things stabilize after the split.
BB: What do you think the impact of a 'yes' vote will be on the Land's End to John O' Groats route? Will it be different if you have to get your passport stamped while going end to end?
RW: I imagine it will have no effect on the LEJOG [Ed’s note: Land’s End to John O’ Groats]. If there are border controls, I think this will just add a bit of excitement to the ride…more of a sense of drama that you are passing from one country to another.
BB: If you were going to vote in the referendum, how would you vote? Why?
RW: I have to admit that I haven't followed the yes/no issue in great detail but it seems to me the average Scot will be better off as a UK Scot. So, I would probably vote no. Whilst Scotland would benefit from having a more independent voice and would be able to strengthen its cultural identity, its voice in the world political arena will be diminished. I also feel that Scotland will struggle to deal with major issues such as defense and health care. I think they will have great difficulty balancing the books despite the claims of the yes campaigners that Scotland will be better off thanks to the oil reserves. Even if the oil does allow the books to be balanced there is the future problem of [the oil reserves] running out. True the reserves are large, but some reports suggest that 76% of accessible oil had been extracted by the end of 2010. So, reserves might be large but they are finite. The vote is for an independent Scotland forever not until the oil runs out.
You can check out Mr. Wood’s website about his End-to-End journeys and pick up any tips if you are interested in making the trek yourself at http://www.landsend-to-johnogroats.co.uk/