THIS is the entertaining account of the random 400-mile journey by bike made by the Cullercoats poet and intrepid traveller – a senior citizen in his 70s – through the wilds of Scotland and Northumberland to find opponents to play him at chess.
Having selected his first destination by asking a friend to throw a dart at a large map of the UK, his starting point was Lossiemouth on the Moray Firth, which he and his Raleigh hybrid bicycle reached by train. Through unplanned encounters he found chess opponents in pubs, hostels or the homes of good Samaritans, each of whom then chose his next destination.
His unpredictable journey and the personal encounters he experienced on this odyssey – which involved 12 energetic bike rides and 14 games – took him to Findhorn, Grantown, Dalwhinnie, Perth, Cowdenbeath and then, after crossing the Forth Road Bridge, Galashiels and Jedburgh.
Battling through atrocious weather at Carter Bar, he then enjoyed hospitable halts at the Redesdale Arms in Rochester and The Gun Inn at Ridsdale; a highly unusual and enjoyable travel book.