Sunday, 1 July 2018

Day 25

I didn’t sleep at all well from 2000 to midnight last night. I was very close to the road inside Chappie which was far from ideal. When a vehicle passed by I listened intently to ensure that it wasn’t stopping for a closer inspection. 

I was drifting off to sleep when a lorry drove past. I thought I’d heard it disappear into the distance but my instincts took over. I opened the rear hatch and the lorry was reversing in my direction. When it was right next to Chappie I switched on the interior light so the driver could see that someone was inside. Fortunately, that was enough for them to drive away. 

It was pitch black outside in the mountains and the last time I remember looking at my watch was midnight. I must have had a very deep sleep after that (goodness knows I needed it). The next time I checked my watch was 0500. 5 hours unbroken sleep on this tour is a new record by 2 to 3 hours. I drifted back off to sleep a few more times before packing up camp at 0815. 

The start of the day involved a few steep climbs. I felt very weak and tired. This was to be expected after yesterday’s 30 plus mile effort. 

There were a lot of potholes to contend with. I’m quite used to them now. There was so little traffic in the morning that I could choose the best route through most of the time. 

There was a very steep climb up to the 10.5 mile point. I took the opportunity to buy some water and a big bag of crisps from a gas station and ate them under shelter until the rain stopped. The descent into Mizhhir’ya was very pleasant and I applied the break on Chappie to keep the speed manageable. 

There was evidence of tourism in Mizhhir’ya. A ski lift was operating and further into the town there were a few backpackers. I don’t recall seeing any sign of tourists on my journey since the early days of running through Slovenia in 2016. 

My contact in Kyiv, Michael, messaged me saying “The place you’re in now translates as ‘The land between the mountains’. Looks like some big ones ahead, but I’m sure Kalush will fatten you up. Ukrainian women know how to eat!”. 

I liked the statue pictured below but had no clue as to what it says. Answers to please. 

Mizhhir’ya wasn’t what I imagined it to be. There were quite a few shops and a very timely shelter that I ducked into to avoid a massive downpour. I bet it’s a busy ski resort in the winter. 

I lost my mobile internet connection after Mizhhir’ya. I must have used whatever allowance I had. I found a shop in Soimy at the 17 mile point and asked for a SIM card. The lady in the shop pointed up the road. Thanks to the help of a girl in the next shop, I was able to buy a top up card and apply it to my phone. I was so grateful for her help and I think she was very happy to have helped me. 

The scenery around Soimy reminded me of Slovenia and in the distance I could see some huge mountains. 

I made it to Maidan after 19.75 miles. I popped into a restaurant / cafe where the server and I used Google Translate to good effect. The dish I was offered was Dumplings. It is locally known as Varenyky and came with sour cream and butter! It was delicious and very filling. I originally thought that I’d need two of these but that definitely wasn’t the case. The price of the dish with a Pepsi was £2. 

There are now only 58 miles to Kalush. I’m odds on to get there as scheduled. I’ve just got to keep moving forward. 20-25 miles through the mountains tomorrow followed by the same on Tuesday will leave me with less than 20 miles to do on Wednesday. 

Tomorrow will see me pass the 400 mile point of this tour and I’ll be nearer to Kyiv than the start point in Belgrade. 

Thanks to those kind folk who have made a donation today. The fund for this campaign currently stands at £36,147.97. If you’d like to sponsor my journey in aid of St Benedict’s Hospice then please visit