Tuesday 5th November – alone
Alness to Dornoch on ‘John O Groats Trail’
23.54 miles … 1,204′ ascent … 2,513 calories … 48,829 steps … 7 hours 3 minutes
After a very good nights sleep (best ever for Fiona, she even took a photo of the mattress label, Princess Fiona doesn’t sleep well very often…) at Derek & Carole’s home in Nethy Bridge, Carole drove us to Inverness, where James Stewart from Blythswood Care, then gave us a lift to where Bablu had spent the night in their yard near Alness.
I set off at about 8.45am, while Fiona went off to meet a great friend Eileen, from teacher training days, for coffee and a walk at the Storehouse in Foulis.
I made very good progress for the first 6 miles or so on minor roads.
The Canada Geese were out and about, noisy and flying in formation overhead – probably more entertaining than tonight’s fireworks displays. I met a lady out cycling who informed me she had recently met another person walking between Lands End and John O Groats … only she had been walking barefoot!! … I’m not tempted, although the skin on my feet is a bit like leather now. My feet stayed dry until I ventured up into a forest with very wet footpaths – however a nice change of scenery and I was in the town of Tain by 1pm, just on cue to meet Fiona for a coffee.
I stopped for 30 minutes before continuing along a rather indirect ‘John O Groats Trail’, but it brings variety and more safety than the A9 road. I crossed the third major bridge in two days over the Dornoch Firth.
The bridge was built 30 years ago and opened by the Queen Mother. I took the steps down to the waters edge at the end of the 800 yard bridge and walked through rough ground to the side road leading towards Dornoch – past a rather interesting bull with big horns (I am glad I wasn’t there – Ed).
Another stretch of woodland through Dornoch forest made for an interesting end to the day in good weather, past a solitary standing stone in a field.
On the final walk into Dornoch – apparently host to the best golf course in the world, I learnt that 200 years ago , before the Royal Mail or emails, there were post runners, boys who delivered news from overseas etc, by running 18-22 miles a day between towns. I can identify with them, having done another 23 mile plus today, after yesterday’s marathon.
Fiona has found a great spot to park Bablu next to the Struie Golf course, looking out to sea, our first night for a while in the camper van, after being spoilt by our wonderful hosts. Maybe there will be a bonfire in the village tonight? There is cold weather expected for the next few days, but it should be mainly dry. Only 5 days to go, if all goes according to plan, mixed feelings…
Notes from the Editor…
I woke up this morning feeling overwhelmingly thankful for so many things:
For a warm, cosy bed in the campervan
For being free to be able to do this walk and support John
For enough food for breakfast and each meal
For the stunning scenery we are travelling through
For the freedom to read the Bible together in the morning, with no fear of persecution
For the people covering for us at home
From our family and friends
From meeting so many amazing people on our journey
For endless hospitality
For the purpose that Jesus gives to our lives
For the waves breaking next to the campervan
For the diverse amount of wildlife that we are seeing every day
For our health to take this time out and enjoy the journey
For technology that makes recording this journey easier, keeping in touch with people possible and running our business from a distance OK!
For amazing weather, even when it’s windy and rainy
For peoples generosity in supporting us; financially, emotionally, spiritually and physically
For comfy shoes … and so many things it is hard to list them….. endless gratitude to God for all he has blessed us with, but also an awareness that even when things go wrong (which they do often), He is good all the time.