The Why Not? Blog

At the tender age of 25 Dave started skateboarding. 14 months later he became the first person to skate the length of Britain. Another 8 months on he had crossed Australia on his board, breaking a world record & raising over £20,000 for three charities. Now, at 27, he's writing his first book, is a motivational speaker and a businessman, and he's only just gotten started on a lifetime of challenges which from the outside look just darn crazy. So, why? You know the answer, don't you. Why not?

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Day 11: One record, one country, one whole lot of joy and pain

I'm sat in a motorway service station, the same one that I stopped at with Dan and Becki on the way to Prestwick to pick up the van from VW Dave, way back almost two weeks ago. How much has happened since then!

The Dumfries and Galloway Standard interviewed me yesterday and we meet a photographer today. A quick shoot by a sign for Lockerbie and we're away again. Dimitri, for some reason, found another sign to Ecclefechen really funny.

Near Ecclefechen a car pulls up. A man gets out. I recognise him as a chap who was waving from a passing car a few miles back. He has a £5 donation. "I thought you were doing a relay earlier," he tells me, "but when we saw you again I couldn't believe it, all the best."

At about 2pm, after 15 miles of skating from Lockerbie (where we stayed for free at the Townhead Hotel thanks to landlady Caroline - star!) I posed for some photos next to a sign at Springfield. Less than a mile later we were in England. Rolling past that welcome sign, a big lump in my throat, a jump for joy, a much needed collapse onto the grass verge. Nobody has ever skated the length of Scotland before - and boy do I know why! Hahah, incredible feeling. Dimitri loved running in and out of England, called loads of people and took them on his little journey. We stayed for an hour at the sign, doing interviews, blogs, photos. Just experiencing the moment. Dimitri looks at me and says "they put a man on the moon before anyone skated this country. Dude, out of 6 billion people on the planet you're the only one who has ever skated the length of Scotland."

England next.

My right foot is falling apart. Yesterday the new shoes, a change forced by a worn right-sole courtesy of the Scottish highlands, started to rub. I slept with blisters on three toes and on my heel. Every push is full of pain, I grimace and push on. Is there any other choice? I think we've been on the local radio, people start to honk and wave again. It's been a couple of days since that happened and boy does it feel good.

Dimitri leaves us at Carlisle. He takes a train to London and will rejoin in two days. Going to miss him, a stranger two weeks ago, he's been a big part of the most incredible few days of my life.

Carlisle was today's destination, but despite the pain I want to eat into tomorrow's journey, a big slog to Kendal. 4 miles south of Carlisle I'm joined for a short while by a cyclist who is heading to a time trial in the countryside. A car passes by and the elderly inhabitants look at me inquistively. A few hundred yards on they've pulled in and are handing me a pound coin, clapping. I like England.

We stop 5 and a half miles south of Carlisle and drive to a nearby service station at Southwaite. Holly and I will stay here tonight, then plod on after a studio interview at quarter to nine in the morning on BBC Radio Cumbria. I take my right shoe off. There's blood. Three layers of skin, old and new, eaten away above my heel. Blisters on toes, despite good treatment this morning, are horrible. They're not going to have time to heal before Land's End as I'm on the road each day. I'm resigned to the fact that I'm going to be in agony for the next two and a half weeks.

This is worth the pain.


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