Attempting to cross SCOTLAND in a completely straight line. (PART 1: ENTER THE FACTORY)
- [Tom] This is mental welcome back to the GeoWizard channel everyone. The home of the mischievous adventure and non more mischievous than the straight line mission. A unique style of adventure in which the subjects has to travel in a completely straight line, come what may. Be it field, hedgerow, river, swamp, mountain slide or scramble, football pitch, garden, ditch, farmyard, lake or bramble, roads, railways, barbed wire fences, stately homes or gorse, trees, freeze, a few of these, caravan park, golf course. Whatever the obstacle one must try their very best to keep online whilst juggling the equally important not getting caught and the even more important not getting seriously injured or killed. Oh dear.
Guaranteed to exhilarate, exhaust and occasionally scare shitless Get out! The straight-line mission can allow you to see the world from a completely different perspective, but most of the time it will make you question what the fuck you are doing. What am I doing? Yet, here we are again, myself, fresh off the back of my first successful straight line mission in Norway. and Welsh Greg who returns with vigor and determination after the ill-fated Wales 2020 trip.
The country we plan to conquer this time? Scotland. A 40 mile stonker, stretching from the forth estuary in the east all the way over to the Gare Loch in the west. This line would be the longest either of us had attempted and with two motorways, a high-speed railway track, a gigantic and rather terrifying MDF chipboard factory, an abandoned fishery, a boarding school, a golf course, several lakes, rivers, mountains, farms and private properties.
It promised to be the most action packed too. Even with Scotland's allegedly relaxed approach to trespassing. - Can I help yous? - I'm seriously pissed off with it.
Yeah, fair enough - [Tom] If we were to complete this line we would hold the unofficial accolade of being the first people to cross, not only Scotland, but the United Kingdom in a completely straight line. And despite the many obstacles, we believed that it was still possible to do so without deviating more than 25 metres. But perhaps the most wholesome thing about this trip was the chance for both of us but particularly Greg, who was determined not to let his Addison's diagnosis affect his life, to put to bed the demons of Wales 2020. Greg's condition had brought a premature end to the trip in what were precarious circumstances at the time.
But thanks to advice from a world-leading Addison's doctor, as well as floods of messages from Addison's patients from around the world, Greg knew exactly where he'd gone wrong. And if anything, last year's failure when compounded with Greg's remarkable attitude and Welsh grit only made him hungrier than ever for success. And we were both incredibly determined for that success to arrive in Scotland. Yeah okay- so it's literally just a case of going, one. - Yeah.
- Two. Food and water logistics on our last mission together were laughable. This time we were leaving no stone unturned.
These are the complete stashes. All that's left to do is uh. - Stash em, pack em and stash em. - [Tom] Pack em and stash em.
We've got gas, all the food for me and Greg, Compeeds, arse wipes, a phone yeah charge for our phone and stuff. Fire lighting blocks, I mean you name it it's here. - Gaffer tape.
- The gaffer tape is to strap the GPS onto Greg's back while we're paddling in tandem. I mean, that is genius. (Greg laughing) I've never been so prepared in my entire God damn life. - [Greg] Because you've never been prepared.
- I've never been prepared, so it's not hard, but nonetheless we are ready prepared, but things could still go wrong. - [Greg] Yep. - Wouldn't it be just nature's way. - And sod's law for something to go wildly wrong, on the first day, it really is. - [Greg] Well there is a lot on the first day mate - There is a lot of the first day that could go wrong, yeah, big time. The next morning, we set off from our hotel bright and early armed with a laptop and Google earth and headed for five predetermined locations with our stash bags and water bottles.
Some of the locations were fairly private and required a certain amount of sneakiness, but we managed to get all the bags in place without being seen. As well as this, we scouted out seven other major points of concern along the line, all parts of a great effort to make this mission run as smoothly as possible for us, but also Callum our reliable support man. Whose collection of aquatic equipment would be vital for crossing some of the many bodies of water that lay on our line, particularly Loch Lomond, the biggest lake in the country. After a lengthy, but highly successful reconnaissance mission. The only remaining thing to do was to head to a faraway Screwfix near Edinburgh to make one final purchase. - [Greg] Class mate.
Yes. Oh you dropped something there! (laughing) - [Tom] To understand why I'm climbing this lamppost. (laughing) We have to go back to the previous evening where after a long drive up to Scotland me and Greg were unable to resist stopping by the Norbord factory to scout out the three fences that awaited us there. And while the final two fences looked doable, the first one, the one that took us into the factory in plain view of all these houses made us do a little poo in our pants. Madly enough, there was a ladder on the floor right on our line, but we just couldn't be sure that it would actually be there on the day. So we decided to buy our own ladder, stash it amongst the rest of the junk and hope to God that it would still be there in the morning.
There she blows definitely operational. - Yeah. - Just make it 15 pound.
- [Tom] I was going to give you the 20 mate, that's fine. - Right okay. (laughing) - [Greg] A better deal isn't it really. (laughing) That's everything - right, okay, perfect - [Greg] Lovely mate, nice one.
- Okay enjoy. enjoy your trip! - [Tom] Cheers, we'll try. - Be safe now - [Tom] We'll try, thanks. This is lovely, pheasants roaming the streets.
- It's a beautiful little erm, it's like a film setting sort of spot isn't it? - [Tom] Yeah, yeah. Private gardens. - For shore route access only, that'll do mate look at that! - [Tom] Oh my God, look how he's dancing off of that.
- [Greg] That is just gorgeous! - Wow, well it's Saturday morning, 7:00 AM, on the we don't even know what the estuary is called. That's really embarrassing, but we're on, it is the east coast of Scotland. And we are about to embark on our biggest grandest and most perilous straight line mission to date, aren't we Greg? - We really are aren't we.. we've got a big, big start ahead, what have we got coming up? - Well, coming up is six grueling days of missioning, but we can't think like that, can we? - No. - We've got to take it step by step, day by day because today alone is awful, I mean.
- [Greg] The most action packed day. The initial, what three or four hours could be, it'd be crucial -Life threatening - Literally life-threatening we won't divulge too much right now, but put it this way. If we're not turned into two boards of walking MDF, or impaled on a fence, or hit by a train or a truck, we'll be we'll be very happy.
- Very happy men, yeah and there is, the sort of the backstory to all of this, which is about 16:45 tonight, Wales are playing England in the Rugby. - Oh come on, that's not important for this intro. The better backstory would be what happened last time in Wales, the way that Greg has not let it phase him and we're fighting back, we couldn't be more prepared, Greg couldn't be more prepared and we're just going to smash it. - Yeah, yeah. - If we fail, it's not going to be because of that. - No.
- It's gonna be because as I say. - We'll be walking boards of MDF, but (laughing) - Right, let's not waste any more time. The sun is rising and it's going to be shining on our backs all day, hopefully. Let's tackle the first few obstacles, let's do it Greg.
- Let's do it mate. - Oh come on! (laughing) Here we go! Right the line, well, it's where the sun is 'cause it's east to west, but first thing we need to do is, you know go down and touch the salt water. We're not walking down there for reasons that you will fully understand already. There we go, salt water touched.
- [Greg] Muddy as fuck. - [Tom] Ah for ff- right, eastern coast touched. Hopefully we'll be waggling our fingers in the Western loch in about five or six days time.
Greg, after you. - Let's do it mate. - [Tom] Follow that closely.
already there's a terrible muddy little channel here but on the line is these stepping stones? It looks like. - Yeah, that's quite a big jump. - [Tom] That's quite a big jump mate.
- I think I can do it though. - [Tom] This could be make or break. Ooahh ooh God mate, that is, that feels big. - It's quite big mate nice mate - [Tom] Oh yes! - [Greg] Solid, solid. - [Tom] Brilliant. - [Greg] Right, up here mate, oh.. oh we've got a big big issue
- [Tom] Oh shit mate fuckin' hell, that's the thing we're worried about all these huge obstacles and it's just stuff like that, that can often slow you down. - [Greg] Yeah. - [Tom] Fuck, do you know what man? - What? I think I need my gloves on. gloves are on, don't worry you don't have to squirm in your seats. Oh yes, I do love a good bramble.
I'm just stamping them down for you mate, it's gonna be easier for you. - [Greg] I know mate, it looks lovely. - [Tom] Look at that, piece of piss. - [Greg] Here we go. - [Tom] We need to be careful there mate, that is a sludgy, fertilizer-y ditch, that is horrible.
[Greg] Nice [Tom] could this be a repeat of Shenstone, '06? Never in doubt. - [Tom] First field. - [Greg] Yeah, looks all right doesn't it? - Yeah, bit of a ploughed field coming - [Greg] Yeah. - But no farmers. The farmers, by the way
on this trip are not going to be anywhere near the issue that they would be in Wales or particularly England. There is a right to roam, and as we've discovered so far, putting the stashes out the farmers are very friendly. - [Greg] Yeah. - Like shockingly friendly. (laughing) - But doesn't mean that we won't have a situation where we're heading straight for a hedge row or a fence.
And the farmer's like, well, no, you can't do that. So we still gotta be wary but just relievingly not as wary as we have been on previous trips and I've gone wide! (laughing) Okay, first road. First kind of point of interest is in this woods right ahead and it's Dunmore hall. An old abandoned mansion basically
which we actually have to go through. We cut the corner, so that should be really interesting. Oh, it feels great to have started it though. - [Greg] Yeah doesn't it - I was a bit of a nervous wreck at points.
Just so much ahead of us. - [Greg] Innit. Now we can say there's even some behind us. - [Tom] Yeah. - Literally about a hundred meters. (laughing) (branches crunching) - I like how I'm doing this again! - [Greg] I know, it worked out well this.
- You all right there Greg? - [Greg] Yeah having a really easy time actually here mate. (laughing) - Having carved out an entrance for Greg we entered our first forest where we saw the distant outline of our first man-made obstacle, as well as our first four legged animal. - A deer has just bolted off. - [Greg] Injured. - [Tom] Can you see it there? - It's a good chance it's not surviving too long mate to be honest with you. - Yeah.
- Probably longer than us though mate. (laughing) - Yeah, that's true. - [Tom] And with our stomachs now rumbling, we headed for the walls of the old abandoned mansion where we plan to rustle up our favorite breakfast. Mate.. - [Tom] What? - Looks cool doesn't it? - [Tom] Looks sick, look at the crows roosting at the top as well.
- Cackling along the turrets. - [Tom] Yeah. (laughing) God it's incredible through the window is it? - I think so mate. - [Tom] Oh there's brambles in the fucking house. Great- For God's sake. (cawing) (grunting) (laughing) Able?? The wooden roof that had once protected the rooms below it from the elements had long rotted away.
Allowing trees to grow inside them instead. As for the floorboards, well they'd disappeared too. Oh shit, so we've got to jump that? - [Greg] I think we are mate we're literally through here, that's class! Nice mate. - Beautiful.
In the grand entrance, we cooked up our sardines and couscous using my latest gadget, the jet boil. That is revolutionary, isn't it? - That really is, that's the brekkie mate. - [Tom] It's the brekkie of kings, isn't it. Then having already joked about encountering the angry ghost of Angus Macadder, we heard a Scottish voice. I won't be long here..? [indistinct] - Yeah, no worries, no worries mate.
[calling dog over] Have a nice day, tara! - You too mate all the best! - [Tom] We didn't really understand what he said, but it sounded like he was apologizing to us, boosting our theory that the locals here were the friendliest folk on earth. A notion that made us feel very much at ease. However, with a kilometer behind us and 63 more to go, it was high time we bid the old mansion farewell and kicked on. Past the watchful eyes of this white house and into a seemingly innocuous field that with each step looked more and more like a lake, but what our feet be getting wet? - [Greg] Yeah, oh, yeah, soaking wet, oh fucked mate. absolutely soaking. Oh, so wet mate, oarhh Golly.
(laughing) - But any mild discomfort emanating from our freezing feet was quickly overshadowed by the anxiety of our inevitable encounter with what we could now see in the distance, make no mistake. The Norbord factory was the biggest obstacle either of us had ever faced. And we were pretty nervous about it. There were just so many points where it could go wrong. The first fence, if our ladder was actually still there, was not only dangerous, but right in view of the houses, in which its workers lived.
Straight after that, we've got the giant log pile. And if we get over that in one piece and without being caught it's then a 400 meter walk through the factory grounds. The only saving grace was that our exit passed right through the main gates of the factory. But with security there 24/7, it was very unlikely that we'd be able to pass through undetected. And that was important because there were two more seven foot barbed wire fences to climb immediately afterwards. And in view of the security hut.
And that's if the police hadn't turned up. Immediately after the factory was a high-speed railway track complete with more uninviting fences. But if all went well there, it was away into the fields, over the motorways, through the Howietoun Fishery, our first major water crossing and rendezvous with Callum. And into these huge woods where we plan to camp that night. But all of that seemed light years away.
At this point, all we could think about was the factory and just getting it over and done with it. (loud honking) (laughing) However, there was a fair bit of terrain to cross first and it was turning out to be a bit trickier than we'd anticipated. Oh, that don't smell good. - Looks like we've got some nasty water coming up mate.
- [Tom] Oh shit. the thing is with all the rain we've had there's going to be a few of these. Whether they're in fields like earlier, or in forests I think our feet are going to be wet a lot of the time.
This swamp, despite its deep murky appearance turned out to be all right. And thanks to its grassy, tufts, not a single drop of stagnant water breached the rim of our boots. However, in a cruel twist of fate, the next 400 meters of seemingly unremarkable open grassland would prove to be one of the coldest, wettest, most energy zapping exercises of our sorry lives.
This is ridiculous no danger of getting stuck, but, just a fresh coat of freezing water every other step. [laughter] - [Tom] it's fucking freezing actually mate after a while. you alright? - Oh, I think I jinxed myself when I said there's no danger of getting stuck.
- [Greg] I know. - It's these unexpected hurdles, isn't it? That just litter the day you know, you can plan all you want for the big things, but what about all the sort of medium-sized things that we didn't know about? After about half an hour of battling. Just as our feet were beginning to go completely numb, we said goodbye to the marsh.
Fuck you. And entered the latter half of the wooded areas that stood between us and the ominous plumes of Norbord. (enchanting music) Don't know if I'll make this but oh well (splashing) (Greg laughing) (Tom laughing) It's so slippy! This field, then a little strip of wood, a very thin one, - [Greg] Yeah, yeah. - Then another couple of fields. - [Greg] And then it's Ochilview.
- It's Ochilview and Norbord factory. I'm excited are you? I'm nervous. - [Greg] I'm just wanting to get it done, get it done, wanting to get it over with.
- It's like the excitement of getting past. - [Greg] Exactly.. -and partly the excitement of doing it, but. [Tom] - yeah yeah, oh yeah - [Tom] So we won't keep you any longer after tackling our first proper hedge row of the trip, which took us right back to Wales.
It was through another small woodland and out the other side into this final string of fields where Greg and I prepped ourselves mentally and perfected our plan so that we would be totally in sync with each other when the time came. Before we knew it, the ominous plumes of smoke that had lingered on our horizon, like a bad smell now had massive stonking chimneys below them. - [Greg] It's a serious factory, isn't it? - [Tom] Oh, it's huge. - [Greg] It's a huge factory. - [Tom] Yeah, people walking about, as we suspected I think there's going to be quite a few people mulling about.
Ah man.. It's such an exhilarating, but scary thought that like in 30 minutes time, we'll either be sort of.. through and okay, and happy as Larry or, or accosted and police rang or maybe worse, like injured.
- Yeah. - And it's like, it's looming it's right now. It's going to happen. - There's an hour here or so isn't there where we.. if we can get through the factory through the front pen, over the railway. - Yeah.
- That is really incredible, so - Incredible. - This is it now mate, focused. - This is it. focused. - Heads on. This is what we've been doing since we were 12. - Yeah, not quite to this level, but yeah.
(laughing) But yeah, I know what you mean. - No, we'll we'll smash it man let's be positive. - Yep let's be positive mate - Right glug a water then, bit of a glucose tablet or something. - Yeah. - And we'll do it.
Who's going to go up first mate? - Um, don't mind to be honest. - [Tom] I'll do it. - Yeah.
- I'll do it, yeah. The line actually cuts straight along the front doors of these properties. And the original plan was to hedge hop our way across their gardens. But we quickly concluded that the chances of someone seeing us here was pretty high. Normally this wouldn't be too much of a problem but we figured the last thing we wanted was an angry Scottish woman yelling at us. As we attempted to vault over an eight foot high barbed wire fence with COVID still knocking about as well that wasn't such an unrealistic outcome.
So we headed around the edge of the gardens where instantly we realized we'd made the right call. - Yeah mate there's someone right in that window mate. - [Tom] Is there? - Yeah, right in that window mate - [Tom] Yeah. I probably didn't help matters by holding the GPS device towards the houses [Greg laughs] but it did help us to stay within 15 meters of the line. And despite reports of two women in windows from Greg, the road was perfectly quiet. Okay mate, here we go all we needed now was the ladder to not have been nicked by a bloke called Ross.
- [Greg] Right so mat- ladder up mate, I think you go onto that one mate. - [Tom] Yep, okay, get the mat? - [Greg] Yep. - [Tom] Yep.
- [Greg] Okay total confidence, not actually high enough, but - [Tom] Oh well [Greg] - Nah it's easily high enough Right, mat? -okay mat - Roll it up a bit, cos you're not going to be able to step on the rung. - [Tom] Oh yeah, I'll do that. - Actually tuck it under, through the fence. - [Tom] This is a bit long-winded. - [Greg] It's okay mate, you're fine, that's fine, as long as you can get you foot onto that second rung.
Good. - [Tom] Your bag this is mental. (loud thud) -Oh boy Right total confidence mate off you go it's a bit wobbly mate, to be honest.
It's not very good, ah, shit - [Greg] Take your time mate, take your time, no rush. (loud thud) Good lad. Good lad. Well done. - [Tom] Right, you all right there? - Yeah. - [Tom] The ladder seemed pretty sturdy, no one coming yet.
- Move that bag mate. - [Tom] Yeah, you're good, no one coming. (loud thud) Ooh your hand caught that, okay, put it there. Let's go. Let's go quick.
- Push the ladder down mate. (fence jiggling) - [Tom] There we go car coming. - Yeah let's go, don't, don't rush don't rush, let's go.
- Okay, this way? - [Tom] Don't think they've seen us mate - over there - [Greg] Oh my God. (soft laughing) - Mate where's the, are you navigating? - No, I'm not mate to be honest. I forgot I had it - He has seen us. - Yeah it's alright how far off did we go? - Well, about eight meters or something - [Tom] Oh, that's all right, okay, down to the logs. - Down to the logs. (laughing) - It was a bit wobbly wasn't it? - It was wobbly, wasn't it? - Yeah, the worry was when you took your leg from underneath, getting caught.
- And then falling on the razor wire. - Yeah falling on yeah- it's not like you have just soil to land on. - Right mate, we're not - we can't celebrate yet. - No, no, God no. So after a very smooth entry, all things considered it was straight down to the log pile where we could momentarily compose ourselves for whatever lay beyond. Okay here we are at the logs, which we already know aren't dangerous in terms of height, fingers crossed.
- [Greg] Well, ha. - Yeah I mean there are bits, I mean, we can't fall put it that way. But when we get over them, God knows what's going to happen. But anyway, here we go - [Greg] Let's do it, mate. - Let's do it. - [Greg] I'm a bit worried about this to be honest, yeah, take your time going up.
It's just the bag man. - Yeah okay, you got one, yeah Just test them out, that's fine. Got one nice one of your left there mate you can step up to.
- Is that all right? - [Greg] Yep, push nice, okay. I'm going to chuck you two things now I'm gonna chuck you this first, the GPS. Great throw And I'm gonna chuck you this. (loud shuffling) Yep. - [Tom] Take a look at that.
So from this point we're not going to look suspicious. Same as before we're doing a job, it's all good. It's all rosy, we're meant to be here. We've got permission. - As soon as we're down those logs, I think we should just check out on those logs. That there's nobody like right there.
- [Tom] Yeah. - Cos we're gonna look weird coming down the logs, but once we're down the logs, action. - [Tom] Yeah, yeah, yeah, sure. - Let's just have a look, just- - [Tom] Yeah do you want to scout? - Yeah.
Anyone right there? Yeah, shall we go for it? - Where's the line mate? - [Tom] Err yep, to the right a bit. Yeah, now's the chance. - I think just down here mate.
- [Tom] Yeah, yeah, yeah, go for it. Wow, that's dangerous. Okay, let's go. Let's go. Do you want to hold the GPS? - [Tom] Yeah we need to go over here towards these lorries.
- [Greg] At the moment I think we're absolutely rosy. - [Tom] Yeah there's not many, not much activity this side of the factory is there? So far, it was going very well. We were over the fence smoothly and over the log pile, which was shorter and safer than what we'd originally feared. (For the most part) to top it off, there didn't seem to be any workers in this particular area of the factory.
In terms of keeping on track, thus far we'd done a great job there too. That recent 14 metre deviation on Ochilview being by far the furthest we had set foot from the line. Soon though after briefly taking cover in this slither of woodland we'd be heading back out into a much more operational area of the factory where things could easily go pear shaped. Nonetheless, we were hoping that in 10 minutes time we'd be waltzing out of those front gates without too much drama.
Were we completely deluded? Be sure to tune in next Sunday to find out. Hi me again, I know you're probably sick of the sight of me by now, but hear me out for one minute. I've got a couple of things to show you and a couple of things to say.
Firstly, thanks for watching, I really hope you enjoyed this first episode, as will Greg. And if you want to stay in the loop for the other episodes and you haven't subscribed already, come on. Time to subscribe, nearly at a million now. So now's the time, get me over that million mark.
Make sure you don't miss a single episode from this series and beyond. Second thing, if you want to get your hands on a limited edition mission across Scotland movie poster and there ain't going to be too many made, you will be able to purchase it on my new official GeoWizard store. Now there isn't a lot on the store at the moment. It's just the poster for now and the Amynedd album coming very soon. But if you do want to get your hands on this poster I've got one here. Look, look at that, it's got a beautiful finish off it, semi-gloss, it's really well made.
You will be able to purchase one of these on my store, but again get them while they're hot because they won't be sold for very long, they're limited edition. Finally and most importantly to me my mom has written a novel a murder-mystery book, and it's incredible, I've read it. I'm so proud of her for writing this. And it would make, well it would make her, so happy if even a handful of you were to read this book and leave a review on Amazon. It would mean the world to her. And that would make me happy too but it's genuinely a gripping book.
I don't really read myself, but I really enjoyed it. The plot is really clever, the characters are hilarious, they're based on real characters that she's met throughout her life. It's dark, it's got dark underbellies to it. There's a paedophile ring in there.
Okay, I'm not really selling it at the moment but it's cheap then all right. It's about two pounds on Amazon. Here it is.
It's about seven pounds to buy the actual physical copy, which looks great. I'm well aware that murder mystery books might not be your cup of tea, especially with my 95% male audience but it must be one of your mum's birthday's coming up, right? Get her a present, get her another one as well. Don't be a cheapskate, but get her this first and foremost, make two moms happy. Thanks for hearing me out everyone.
I really appreciate it. Do stick around for the rest of this series because things are going to hot up.