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An Unexpected Twist.

An Unexpected Twist.
Nepal was as beautiful as ever 🙂
I’ve barely given my bike a cursory glance in the last two weeks let alone climbed aboard. Firstly I haven’t been particularly interested in doing so, and secondly I’ve been rather busy; much busier than I planned to be.

Landing at Manchester Airport on a fine Sunday morning after ten weeks in Nepal was surprisingly less traumatic than expected. It wasn’t particularly cold; I had been expecting Siberian level chills.
A cancelled train to Manchester Piccadilly saw me hopping onto a rather posh coach; far too posh for a vagrant like me I’d say. And then my delightful connection on The Trans-Pennine route took me through the heart of the Peak District National Park and onwards to gritty Sheffield. From Sheffield I tootled towards home on the East Midlands Trains service to Alfreton. On the way I called my Dad to let him know that I was on time, which took him by considerable surprise – he was expecting me to arrive three days later.
On the Monday I went, with my mate Mad Dave Martin, to have a look-see at some local woodland that was due to be sold at auction.
On the Tuesday we bought it.
I had absolutely no idea when I returned from Nepal that I was about to become joint owner of a six and a half acre wood.

Mad Dave, the big poseur.


The auction itself, held at Derby County Football Club’s Ipro Stadium, was an exciting affair. The bidding started slowly and finished fairly quickly. I stepped in late on, with a wicked rush of adrenaline, and to my surprise secured the winning bid at a price considerably lower than we expected. I hadn’t really gone expecting to win it. I’ve had a lot of expectations confounded in the last two weeks.
Fortunately Dave is a chef at the Ipro so I sent him a text message to tell him he owned a wood and he came scuttling through to the auction lounge in short order.
It’s a very exciting thing to be the owner of a wood. I’m also still a bit shell-shocked.
We’ve been asked by lots of people what we plan to do with it and the short answer is – we don’t know.
We have a lot of idea’s bubbling away in the melting pot, some realistic, and some fanciful. One thing is for certain though and that is that we are only temporary custodians for the next generation. We have a duty to nurture and protect it, and to help it flourish with minimal interference. It will be a place of sanctuary, it will be a place of joy, and we aim to share that joy with others too.
And it has a babbling brook meandering all the way through; how about that then? I want to shout out things like OMG! and WTF? 😀
I’m so excited about it that I have even spent several evenings googling compost toilets; I have become a veritable over-night expert on the subject of odour control and construction methods.
We should be exchanging contracts very early in the new year. I think I might burst with frustration before then. I want to grab my spade and dig a toilet now. OMG! WTF?
This one is going to be a very long journey indeed, perhaps an entire lifetime. Stick around and join us for the ride; I’ll be blogging the whole journey right here.

Having spent ten weeks virtually living on my bicycle and then having two weeks of zero exercise my muscles are starting to rebel. They are aching and it’s time to get those pistons firing again. The winter is a great time to go trail running so I think I’ll dig out my much neglected shoes and stretch my legs again.

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Thank you for looking, see you soon.
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Consume less, live more. Plant more trees.


I’ve been gathering reclaimed materials to use in the wood.




About The Author

Neil Cottam

Neil is the founder of Chase The Rainbow. He has spent a lifetime exploring the outdoors, from a childhood climbing trees and scrambling his bike around old pit heads to hiking in the Himalaya and backpacking around Europe and Asia.

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