1) When getting up stupidly early, don’t forget that you set an extra alarm and start making breakfast before turning it off, thus waking up your halls neighbour. (Sorry.)
2) Do get to the bus station 10 minutes early. Catch all the right buses and trains with no problems, even if it means sitting around in the cold for a while. This will reduce travel stress.
3) Glasgow Queen Street Station is not very big – all the platforms are together. Don’t worry about changing here.
4) Do admire how the landscape goes from flat to 1 mountain to mountains everywhere as soon as you leave Glasgow. Do find a better seat than the one reserved for you – in a quite carriage; facing the right way and with a big window to gaze out of.
5) Don’t forget about the hospital in Fort William and get thrown off track by it. Do trust your instincts. That call to your boyfriend for directions was unnecessary.
6) Do enjoy the sunshine and breeze on the seemingly never-ending road to the campsite. Don’t expect every curve in the road/sight-seeing car park/ random mountain-side cemetery to be said campsite.
7) Don’t snap the tent pole while attempting to put up the tent in the wind.
8) If you do snap the tent pole, do accept help from a kind stranger. He knows what he’s doing – you do not.
9) Don’t worry if the kind stranger is something of a tent perfectionist and wants to take hours putting up your tent. You’ve both got time to kill.
10) Camping solo for a night makes you independent. Don’t let others judge you for it – judge them for not being able to spend that much time with themselves.
11) If your boyfriend says he’ll be there at 3am, don’t expect him until several hours later.
12) When he finally arrives at 8am, don’t dwell on the horrible night you’ve spent in a cold tent on the hard ground, worrying that it’s going to blow over and what you’ll do if he’s had a crash and is in hospital somewhere. He’s had a worse night driving.
13) Do ignore the weather forecast. It will be wrong. Pack for all eventualities. Accept the offer of sunscreen from a different kind stranger when you expect the forecast to be correct. Don’t get sunburn.
14) Do know your limits. Scrambling down beside the bike track was a nightmare last year. Know not to attempt it. Instead, enjoy the opportunity for a snooze on Ben Nevis; the view from the gondola on your way down; and cheering every rider as they race into the stadium.
15) The Clachaig Inn is fantastic. Do go there for dinner. Have the wild boar burger. Where else can you get one?
16) Don’t be ashamed to go to bed early. Sleeping in tents is hard – it takes twice as much time.
17) Don’t worry that your tent’s going to collapse under the weight of the rain. It probably sounds worse than it is.
18) Don’t push your boyfriend to the side of the tent. He will get wet.
19) Do keep calm when you realise your only bra and pair of jeans have also got wet. The bathroom has hair dryers. You can dry them while waiting for a shower to be free.
20) Do get a place right by the boards on the day of the world cup. From there you’ll not only be able to see but will also touch some of the riders. But not Danny Hart. He saw your face and cycled away.
21) Don’t get fast food in Fort William. Their pizza is almost as bad as their fish and chips.
22) If it’s raining and the midges are out in force, do take shelter in the car. Open windows to allow conversation between vehicles.
23) Do get up early enough to pack up and get a MacDonald’s breakfast in. Don’t have anything other than the bacon roll – that’s not sausage and that’s certainly not egg. The hash browns and tea are OK.
24) Don’t whinge when your boyfriend drags you all over Edinburgh looking for a certain kind of Scottish ale. Enjoy the sights – it’s a beautiful city, even if you haven’t slept properly for at least 3 nights.
25) Hog roast with haggis is the best kind of hog roast, therefore go to Oink for lunch.
26) Don’t sleep in contact lenses for the 2nd night running. Even if you are exhausted and so happy to be in a bed again, you never want to leave it. Also, sleeping for 12 hours straight may or may not be a good idea.
27) Do write a catch-up blog post while your boyfriend sleeps for another few hours, even though he slept for longer than you last night. It may help him stay awake when driving all night.
28) Do go back next year.