but I wanted to walk through the night and see how long it gets dark
for up here and I wanted to find the limits of my capability so here's
how I did it:
Sat 10.30 left campsite at Dingwall, watched military parade in
Dingwall town centre for half an hour.
Sat 11.00 successfully left Dingwall
Sat 15.00 stopped for a lunch of pasties from the corner shop in
Marvelled at a stoat chasing a young rabbit around on the road along
with two cars that stopped. The rabbit got away!
Sat 18.00 chocolate bar stop
Sat 20.30 stopped at Bonar Bridge, very dissapointed to find that the
takeaway i'd been following signs for for the last two miles shut at 8
o'clock. Cooked noodles and sausage while watching the fly fisherman
and getting eaten by midges.
Sat 24.00 i'm somewhere on the road between Invershin and Lairg.
Distance covered on Saturday is 34 miles. It's been dark for an hour
but there's plenty of light to walk by.
Sun 01.00 Chocolate bar and biscuit break for 10 minutes.
Sun 04.00 its getting light and time for a pot noodle stop. Needed to
fill my water bottle from the stream at Rhian Bridge on the A836 (its
an A road but single track and nothing around for miles and miles and
miles!) and as I was doing so disturbed an otter which went hopping
off down the bank. Made my pot noodle and ate it while getting eaten
myself by midges.
Sun 08.00 Starting to feel very tired and weaker than I'm used to.
Made a big bowl of porridge with lots of sugar. The sun is out and the
road is following a small pretty river valley as it has for many
miles. There have been no junctions for hours!
Sun 10.30 it's no use I need some sleep. I blow up the air mattress
and lie down in the sun on a patch of grass away from the road with my
coat over me. Distance to here is around 50 miles. Slept for about an
hour and was up walking again.
Sun 12.00 Here's my turning, careful I don't miss it, it's the only
one for 20 miles! Joined the B873 that runs alongside Loch Naver for
about 5 miles. Scenery is beautiful but my body and mind are a bit of
a mess and I'm feeling a bit stupid for trying to do this.
Sun 13.00 ice cream stop at tiny caravan park on Loch Naver, and a
welcome chat with the owner to break the monotony of my own thoughts.
Sun 15.30 food and water stop. Topped up my bottle from the stream. So
pleased I brought the water filter that I carried all through England
without ever using. Ate some more chocolate and fig rolls; down to
just chocolate from here unless I get the stove going again. Heading
for Bettyhill on the north coast still some 12 miles or so way. Just
had a short rain storm but otherwise weather holding out fine.
Sun 18.00 Thunderstorm and lots of rain but it passes quickly. Feeling
depressed and wanting the day to end. Why did I try to do so much.
Feet hurt and i've run out of things to think about that I haven't
though about a hundred times before.
Sun 18.45 Thunderstorm and lots and lots and lots of rain. I'm walking
to higher ground and nearer to where I just saw lighning come to
ground. Feeling very uncomfortable!
Sun 19.00 reached Bettyhill. Still a mile and a half to the pub though.
Sun 19.30 Arrived at the pub and straight in to the small bar full of
all the locals watching footy. Someone commented that it hadn't been
snowing with reference to my walking poles (another variant is "you've
forgotten your skis"). So happy to have made it. Despite the jibes
they are friendly and good for a bit of a chat. They do B&B as well
and I will stay the night. I ordered steak and ale pie and apple pie
and ice cream, enjoyed it all immensely! Had a bath before getting
head down at half past nine. What a couple of days; 82 miles covered
and only 55 miles to John O Groats!