Cycle Scotland 2018 or 1934?


August 2018 and it’s time to pack up B1 & B2 with M1 & M2 for another cycling adventure. The cast of players: Jen & Greg with road bikes M1 & M2 in the bike bags B1 & B2 and some family history to discover.

The idea of cycling in Scotland was hatched 2 years ago in 2016 following our journey through the Pyrenees with M1 & M2. Finish one journey and start planning the next. We were at the beginning of developing our cycling clothing brand called Connal Kit. The brand name was inspired by the discovery of a photo of my mother (Katharine Connal) taken in 1934 whilst doing a cycling trip in the Scottish Highlands with a girlfriend. Two University of Leeds students on their summer holidays. I also found several postcards she had written to her parents and posted along the way. With this I’ve attempted to plot their route using Ride with GPS.

With this 1934 route as a guide we then planned our own tour of the Scottish Highlands. With family connections to the Macdonald Clan on the Connal side (Jenny) and the Crawford Clan on the Banfield side (Greg); plus a connection to Arisaig & Mallaig as the SOE training area during WWII for the Czech Special Operations Exectuive where my father was based from 1942-1945; we had plenty of intersting sites to add to our tour.

I’ve added the 1934 photos and postcards to this post. Also the route I endeavoured to plot from the information I had. I believe they trained from Leeds to Edinburgh. Then either train or rode to Stirling. I have started Kate & Mabel’s tour in Stirling. I have shown lodging’s where I knew they stayed but am missing a couple of nights.

Stats 1934 Cycle Tour:
Date: 31/7/1934 to 9/8/1934
12 Days 660 km
Katharine Connal aged 22, University Student Leeds University.
Mabel Howat University Student Leeds University.
Stayed: Hostels and friendly farmers.

Connal Kit Cycling in Scotland 1934

Katharine Connal August 1934 Cycle Tour

1934 Scotland Cycle Tour Kate Connal

1934 Scottish Highland Cycle Tour Katharine Connal


1934 Postcard from Glen Shee

Postcard from Connal Kit 1934

1934 Postcard Glen Shee


1934 Postcard from Culloden

Postcard from Connal Kit 1934

1934 Postcard Culloden


1934 Postcard from Loch Ness

Postcard from Connal Kit 1934

1934 Postcard Loch Ness


1934 Postcard from Loch Ness 2

Postcard from Connal Kit 1934

1934 Postcard Loch Ness 2

Katharine Connal Cycling Inverness 1934

Katharine Connal 1934 near Inverness


Katharine Connal 1934 Loch Creran

Scotland flag



Travelling the Journey

Travel – thoughts of the journey.

The experiences of each day of travel create the journey. We plan and look forward to each fresh travel event and when the journey starts we live each day to its full. Walking, seeing, doing, watching, capturing, absorbing sights, sounds, smells tastes, textures, colours, new creativity, history, culture, art, music, people living in different lands speaking different languages. We take interest in what makes a land, it’s people, their foundations, history and traditions. What stirs them and how they celebrate.

I need to remind myself to do this everyday, even when at home back in the normal routine. Every day is part of my journey to be savoured and enjoyed and to participate in. I think it is the experiences of travel which adds to our appreciation of our own homes and daily lives. Travel renews our senses and reminds us to be present in each day, no matter how routine. It reminds us to appreciate everything we have and the people around us.

On the road we appreciate the kindness of strangers, the friendliness shown to us. The value of gesture, expression and tone of voice when communicating with the actual words only being 35% of the content. Proven when travelling and a common language is not found – we can still communicate. Amazing what a smile can do! We too can give a helping hand to others without understanding the words exchanged.

Today while cycling I heard the call out from a local watching us climb a hill “Bon courage”. It was heartwarming to see this man waving us on.

This tour of Europe 2014 is coming to a close. I have lots of words, thoughts and images to post to tell more of the tale. Time on the road has been full and busy. I will enjoy reliving some moments as I compile my posts.