Now the walk has been over a number of days and I've settled back rather surprisingly easy into the routine of normality, its time to reflect of the adventure and experiences of the seven weeks of walking "end to end". Initially I had doubts of getting bored and isolated, not during the walk itself, but during the evenings. This however rarely occurred; the only time I had occasion to be bored was when I forced myself to recovery during the rest days. Early evening and nights were occupied getting food and beer, blogging often after the beer, doesn't it show and preparing kit etc for the following day (and also shopping to replace lost/broken items). Never during the 45 walking days did I not want to get up and at it, even when I overslept, I think I was dreaming about walking and going through the motions in my sleep. Neither did I even question why I was doing it, sure at times it hurt, particularly on day 13, but I also knew this is what I wanted and was going to maximise it to its fullest. I meet some great people on the walk, both walking and during the evenings, all showed great interest, attention and in some cases hospitality. In most cases the accommodation, although sourced generally from the cheaper end of the market was adequate in provision and good in the person. There was exception at both ends, some exceptionally good places which offered over and above the others with a level of almost friendship rather than just hosting, and of course the other end, which I have detailed previously. All equally have been part of the adventure and now memories to be recalled with a smile and chuckle. One of the biggest surprises was my arrival at John O'Groats. Several times during the planning and whilst actually walking, I had drifted off into a daydream state, visualising and almost practised the approach along the final straight, the road into JOG's. During these moments, I considered myself being overwhelmed by emotion and a level of accomplishment. I often wondered how I would manage to hold it together as I do not usually exhibit extremes of emotion outwardly. Reality, however was completely different, I had battled against easterly headwinds for the last 4 miles, so was quite windswept and battered during the final ¼ mile straight. This was followed by congratulations from wife and brother who were there to greet me and then a photo's by the sign post to match the ones taking at the start. Then I was sweep by an immense warm of contentment and stillness. All the planning and walking had delivered me to this end. There was no need to jump around shouting, I was just filled with a calm and quietness. This was both surprising and welcoming, as it was a nice feeling to end the adventure. One which itself recognised my solo achievement, for it is only the walker who truly knows how deep his dug. During the course of the walk the GPS could and would display walking data, most was ignored; the one which mattered most was distance. I’d estimated, ignoring what the signposts say, that the walk was going to be around 900 miles, the halfway point and mental count down were all geared on this estimate. Each day I would take down the reading direct from the GPS and post it on the Blog. Only since coming back have I added it all up and can report an error in calculation of 3.25miles, the total being 903.25 miles, not a bad guess and highly satisfying that the sum was over the 900 mile mark.
Disappearing camera and MP3 were not the only losses, somewhere in the country is just over 1 stone (14lbs) of me which I managed to drop somewhere, I remember a moment when the ground shock, maybe that was it? Or perhaps the weight lose was when I shave off the beard on the Sunday, 7 weeks was long enough. This is intended to be my last blog enter on the walk, only if sometime dramatic is remember, will I add more. I intend to continue writing to the blog on other walking encounters, none planned as significant as this. I will also do a review of kit and maybe B&B’s, but time is merging most stays into one, and it’s only the extreme ones which stick out. I hope all that have read the blog have enjoyed its content, I intend on going back into it to correct certain grammar and spelling, that's a job in itself!!!
I hope I have not offended anyone, non intent meant, but if the blog has created a smile at all, please consider a small donation on the website (to the charities and not me), as comedy this good you would normally pay a fortune for. Finally, thanks to all who made it possible and all who have encouraged and lifted me with their comments, e-mails and texts.
WOW what a 7 weeks, I remember a film called 9 ½ weeks, maybe Hollywood will turn this into an Epic, from the blog script, Lassie to take the part of the dog, and they’ll have to find some ginger and grey bearded superstar to play the hero in the movie, can’t think of any who match up to the stature of me, (large belly…………)