Now and then, we get wind of a customer doing incredible things. Last May, one lovely customer from the west coast of Scotland in Argyll got in touch to tell me how she was planning a long distance scoot in order to raise money for charity.
I’m in awe. Here is a short interview with ‘super-gran’ Dinah, mum of 6 and grandmother or 4, who embarked on an epic 500-mile solo scoot.
Swifty: Hi Dinah – first of all, tell us a bit about yourself, and your scooter.
Dinah: I am Dinah, I’m 52, mum of 6 and granny of 4. I’m a massage therapist, and I live on the west coast of Scotland in Argyll in a quiet corner of the world. We live on a farm and life is pretty peaceful.
I bought a fantastic scooter SwiftyZERO from Swifty Scooters, she is orange, slightly sparkly (who can resist a bit of sparkle!) and I named her ‘Nerys’.
Swifty: What inspired this epic trip?
Dinah: The inspiration was to raise awareness of mental health issues, especially in rural areas. I had been trying to think about what trip to do and knew that it has to be a bit different. I was having a look online at scooters for my grandson’s Christmas present and the thought SCOOTER! I googled grown up scooters and Swifty came up!
Swifty: What route did you take?
Dinah: Boat from Oban to Barra, and then scootered the “Hebridean Way” from Vatersay to the Port of Ness on Lewis. I then went back to Harris and caught the boat over to Uig on Skye, went around the Quiraing (a bit hair-raising as pretty steep downhill!), scootered from Portree to Dunvegan to be a minor celebrity for the day and be the starter for the Dunvegan 10k! Down to Armadale and the boat over to Mallaig. Round Ardnamurchan to Kilchoan.
Boat to Tobermory on Mull. A big loop on Mull to Craignure. Boat to Oban. Detour to Kinlochleven so that my mum would feel part of it all. Kinlochleven to home in Ormsary, mid-Argyll, via Taynuilt and Kilmichael Glen. It was 511 miles in total and took me 17 days (roughly 30 miles a day).
Swifty: It sounds impressive, I imagine the scenery was absolutely breathtaking, I’ve never been that far north! Do you have a background in solo adventuring?
Dinah: You’re right, the scenery was fantastic. There were so many beautiful places, some of which I had seen before, Ardnamurchan is a real favourite. I have had no solo (or otherwise) adventures at all. I started ultrarunning when I was about 40 and then ‘retired’ from that a couple of years ago, but that gave me a lot more confidence in myself than I had before that. I started to feel (now and then) that I could do anything at all.
Swifty: I heard you raised quite a bit for charity, tell us a little bit about that?
Dinah: I was raising money for SAMH, the Scottish Association for Mental Health. Our area had a bit of a bad year in 2016, with several sad things happening amongst our young people, especially the lads. I live in a beautiful rural area, but that in itself can cause problems. The physical remoteness can lead to mental health issues and rural jobs often make that worse, with people not always realising that someone they haven’t seen for a while, actually has a problem, they just assume that they are busy about their work. I ended up raising way more than I thought that I would … £4871.60! I’m so pleased. Folk were really generous and although most of the money was raised online, the M.S Centre in Lochgilphead, collected money for me and also folk gave me money as I was scootering about.
Swifty: You were travelling alone, how did you prepare for such a trip, and what supplies and kit did you take? I imagine it was quite lonely scooting alone for 17 days?
Dinah: Actually I wasn’t lonely at all, I like time by myself but was chatting to EVERYONE that I met, offering shots on Nerys my scooter (so many folks had a go!) Also a friend came out on her bike and spent a day and a half with me and that was nice. A local man made me a back rack for Nerys and my husband bolted his old motorbike tank bag to it. That held food, stove, tent etc.(not many etc’s actually), and my sleeping bag and down jacket were in a dry bag attached to the handlebars. I also had a bumbag, which held snacks, gloves etc.
Swifty: How old are your grandchildren and what do they think about your scoot adventure?
Dinah: My grandchildren are young. Aged 6, 4, 1 and nearly 1. The older 2 have a bit of an idea of what was going on, but couldn’t really believe how long it took….”what, granny is still away scootering?!”. My children and husband are very proud of me and hopefully, the grandchildren will be when they are older.
Swifty: Highs and lows of the trip?
Dinah: For me, the highs were the people …definitely the best thing. Food, and gluten-free cake, and the scenery and birds – fantastic. Lows were the traffic from Portree to Dunvegan, bank holiday weekend, many crazy drivers, but only one who wanted me off “his f***ing road”. The weather, I had snow, hail, rain, and a headwind that meant I had to kick going downhill! Also, the wind on the Hebridean Way was trying to send my tent to America!
Overall, I had a really great time, met lots of nice people, heard a few sad stories…….PEOPLE OUT THERE…FOLK WANT TO TALK…ASK THEM IF THEY ARE OK! My Swifty, ‘Nerys’ held up really well, as did the back rack. I needed new brake blocks on the back in Ardnamurchan (I’m a bit heavy on the brakes), but no punctures, and I would go off on her again in a flash. I’ve been out on her a few times since getting home, that ‘s a good sign.
Swifty: Thanks so much for sharing this, I know the story will be fascinating for many to read, and a huge well done from the Swifty team.
Dinah: Thanks! My phone doesn’t do the internet or photos and I didn’t take a camera so not many photos. I just wanted to say thanks to my niece who met me on Skye to take the photos.
Update 1/11/17: Dinah managed to raise over £5000 for the Scottish Association for Mental Health, and continues to use her Swifty every week to exercise.