Hebridean adventure for ‘Tuk Tuk James’

CalMac ferry officials check the vehicle over for hidden acceleration. FS15_T22_TukTukChallenge4

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Think Bear Gryll’s on a tuk tuk and, with a wee bit stretch of the imagination you would be close to visualising James Warren.

Granted the Marks and Spencer’s shunter from the East Midlands may not host dinner parties at high altitude or paramotor over the Himalayas, but, his exploits are worthy of noting in these columns just the same.

The 54-year-old adventurer headed north to Barra last Thursday, having started his eight-day tuk tuk challenge in Glencoe the previous day.

The Oban Times caught up with the intrepid motorist before he boarded The Clansman in Oban, ready for the first leg on the Hebridean way.

‘Yes, I am probably a bit bonkers but I just enjoy getting out and about and making people smile at the same time,’ said James.

Over the last five years James has had a number of adventures on his bicycle. Bike packing from Turin to Nice, wild camping at 2,000 metres in the Alps and a self-supported trip from Lands End to John O’ Groats.

The tuk tuk came from a friend who imported it into the UK after a holiday to India. It is a Bajaj 173cc, one cylinder, four stroke mean machine with six horse power.

After being in the country for four years it had traveled 500km.

In the last six months, James, now known as Tuk Tuk James, has used it to travel 6,000km and counting.

‘I go to work in it, the allotment, shopping, etc,’ he added.

‘I love camping, riding my bicycle (which can usually be found strapped to the roof of the tuk tuk) and seeing just how far this six horse power, 25 mph speedster can go.

‘It’s a tough little machine. Not much can go wrong and if it does easy to fix…hopefully.

‘It does go up to 30mph at full throttle, but I prefer to go at 25 in the interest of fuel presevation.’

The Hebridean way is a 185 cycle route from Vatersay to Harris.

‘I thought if I tuk tuked for 40 miles and then explored for two or three hours on my bike the perfect tour of the outer Hebrides might be achieved,’ he explained.

After spending a few nights’ R-and-R on Skye with wife Lorraine, James arrived at Castlebay and drove to Vatersay on Thursday where he intended to wild camp on the beach before heading to Barra the following day.

From there he took the ferry to South Uist, travelling to Benbecula, North Uist, Harris and Lewis.

A further ferry to Ullapool led to a journey through Applecross before he returned to Glencoe this week.

Find out more about James’s journey at www.facebook.com/onelifeliveitinatuktuk