An Aberdeen man today spoke about using the oil downturn to fulfil a lifetime ambition of cycling across Europe to Romania.
Kieran Crawford, from Garthdee, who is a self-employed environmental consultant in the oil industry, decided to pack his bags and head to the continent.
The 32-year-old travelled from the Netherlands to Romania in 56 days.
He said: “I work offshore and it can be quite quiet at the moment, so I just got it in my head that I was going to do it.
“It was something that I have wanted to do for a long time.
“It was absolutely fantastic.
I didn’t really have a map or plan, I just had my compass and it was pointing east. I didn’t have any training so started off doing between 90 and 100 miles a day. I think the longest I did was 125 miles.”
He added: “I followed the River Rhine to Germany and to Switzerland, before going back to Germany and through Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, down through Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania.”
Throughout the trip Kieran stayed mainly in his tent, stopping at camp sites or wherever he could find and, in bigger towns, slept in hostels.
But camping outdoors meant he was faced with changeable weather conditions.
He said: “When I was travelling from Switzerland to Germany it would drop to minus six.
“I camped in a toilet one night to keep out of the cold.
“It was quite challenging as it was snowing for a bit but then, the further east I went, it was extremely warm.”
The trip also took Kieran off the beaten track and away from popular tourist spots.
He said: “When I got to Serbia and Bulgaria there was a language difference and people didn’t speak any English in the small villages.
“I cycled on my own most of the time but met cyclists on my way that I spent time with.
“Quite often I would cycle for miles some days without seeing a single person.”
Setting off in March, Kieran finished his cycle earlier this month.
Looking back on his travels he said Serbia was his favourite country.
“Going through Serbia was fantastic and I got lots of nice photos – it was very wild and I didn’t see anyone for miles.”
The adventure is not the first that Kieran has had in his down time.
He said: “I like to do something every year – I’ve walked the West Highland Way and cycled the North Coast 500.
“It just seemed like this trip was the next step.
“I’ve come home and I am looking for employment, but also thinking of new things to do.”