Today we contrived to make a mountain out of a molehill. This was meant to be a walk of between 13 and 14 miles from Watten to our b&b near Canisbay. For the records, it is slightly nearer to 13, but the reality was that Pammy and I probably walked an additional three or four miles at the end attempting to locate our accommodation.
A lovely breakfast at Loch Watten House included fresh fruit salad – yay, my favourite. Kathryn also donated £5 to our charity from our bill. Pammy was her usual schmoozing and conversation-making self while I was a bit grumpy with painful feet and an Achilles that feels like it has been stung by a big bad bee.
Dangerous Brian took our bags in the car and my shoulders wondered what had happened. It was great to be with Pammy on the road and we took a good route through quiet lanes and B roads. This included an excellent view of Loch Watten to the west.
I was feeling a bit under the weather – I think it is just being so close to the end but still having to work quite hard up some straight roads that were just at that slightly annoying level of undulating.
The confusion came when we approached a T junction towards the end. My directions that I myself had composed from Street View some months ago indicated that the b&b was on the right before the junction. Google Maps was indicating that it was to the right of the junction about a mile or more down the road. The place was nowhere near my own directions so we followed Google Maps. We ended up almost in the middle of nowhere.
We decided to head back towards the junction, thinking we might have missed a turning. A local dog walker greeted us and we asked directions to Bencorragh House. Of course, it was very close to where we had passed about 45 minutes earlier, to the left of the junction, where ironically there was a sign that pointed us to the b&b.
We were greeted at Bencorragh House with a nice pot of tea for both of us and Dangerous Brian, who turned up a few minutes later to make arrangements for tonight and tomorrow. As this is also a farmhouse, it was inevitable that when DB asked me a question, my answer was prefaced by a deep moo in the distance, probably indicating some sort of bull.
So almost there. Just a quick trot up the road tomorrow morning, around 4 miles and then all the stuff at John O’Groats. Can’t say I’ll ever want to do this all again, but I have massively enjoyed both the experience of the walk and the chance to slip a split infinitive into this sentence.
I haven’t mentioned this for a while, but many many thanks to everyone who has donated through my Just Giving page, http://www.justgiving.com/keith-spicer1 or who has given or pledged money on one of the very many sponsor forms circulating in ONS, and I am particularly grateful for those people who may never have met me but still felt motivated to contribute, some through Just Giving and others on sponsor forms handed round by some of my close relatives. As I write, the Just Giving total is £6,768 which does not include any off line donations not yet paid or collected. Many have said what a fantastic effort I have made and, in all modesty, it has not been easy peasy lemon squeezy, but it is only those donations that can make this walk worthwhile. So John O’Groats tomorrow it is, and a long journey home. Of course, many many thanks too to Dangerous Brian for arranging transport and providing the driver!
Best wishes to you all. Don’t forget to donate if you haven’t already.