Rest Day 18

on Jul 26, 2010 | 0 comments


Yesterday evening I retired to my room early with the intention of taking a little lie down and then heading back to the bar for a few more drinks. As it happens, I was so tired after the last few days and four pints of Guinness in a very short period of time yesterday afternoon, I couldn’t motivate myself to go back downstairs.

I ended up trying to get some sleep about 9pm but as always happens, I didn’t actually manage to drop off until gone 11pm! Why does that always happen when I’m so tired? I don’t understand.

I dragged myself out of bed to get some breakfast, knowing that I had some important work to do and I didn’t want to be sat there hungry trying to sort out the last few days  accommodation. The breakfast was good – probably the best thing about this place so far – and I was ready to start the day.

Day 64

on Jul 27, 2010 | 2 comments

Evanton to Tain

I can safely now say that the Novar Arms Hotel isn’t all it makes itself out to be. After another uncomfortable night in my room – awful bed, wafer thin pillows and curtains that may as well not been there – I woke up feeling worse than I did before taking a day off! What a waste of time.

I got down to breakfast early to find a dozen or so cyclists already there. I was worried that it would take ages to get my breakfast and get off but it didn’t take too long. I made sure that after finishing my breakfast I settled up the bill before getting stuck behind and severely delayed by the cyclists checking out. I grabbed my stuff and headed out the door slightly earlier than usual.

As well as feeling exhausted before I started, nothing seemed to be working this morning. My feet and ankles didn’t want to work, the pack felt heavier and more awkward than ever and my shoulders were already aching. This was going to be a hard day and the sooner it was over the better.

Day 65

on Jul 28, 2010 | 4 comments

Tain to Brora

Ross Villa was a complete change from the previous two nights in the Novar Arms hotel. I actually managed to wake up and feel rested from the previous day’s walk. In fact, I felt better than I did after my rest day in Evanton which is just wrong. I guess it just goes to show how bad my room really was?

Ok, my feet still hurt, especially my left foot, but there wasn’t a great deal I could do about that other than potter around on it while I sorted my stuff out and hope that it’d start to work properly sooner rather than later.

I went for my usual 8am breakfast which was lovely. I was pretty confident it’d keep me going for a good few hours so I was hopeful when I hit the trail that I wouldn’t be stopping too soon in to the day’s walk.

Day 66

on Jul 29, 2010 | 3 comments

Brora to Helmsdale

Lesley was right, the bed in my room really was comfortable and after a very long day on the A9 I really didn’t want to get out of it this morning. But, that attitude wouldn’t get me to John O’Groats so I tentatively put my feet on the floor to see if they were working, which they were although things were still a little on the painful side.

I pottered around as per normal hoping that my feet would ease up a bit before the day’s walk and going down to breakfast I was hopeful that things were looking as though they might be ok.

Breakfast was fantastic! There was so much of it I couldn’t eat it all even though I really really wanted to. It certainly set me up perfectly for a day on the road.

Belly full I finished off sorting myself out and popped downstairs to settle up. Lesley and Andrew were lovely and I really enjoyed my very short stay at Pandora’s B & B.

Day 67

on Jul 30, 2010 | 0 comments

Helmsdale to Dunbeath

I had a reasonable night’s sleep even if I had to put my earplugs in. The noise from the A9 was a bit annoying and there was one of those air fresheners in the room that goes off every fifteen minutes or so. I guess the room used to be a smoking room at some point and, having clearly not been decorated for some time, the air freshener was keeping the stale smoke smell from the carpet etc. at bay?

That kind of describes the Belgrave Arms hotel across the board: tired. Don’t get me wrong, the bed was comfortable enough and Craig, the landlord, was a lovely chap, but I’d certainly not want to stop there for more than the one night.

I wasn’t feeling the best this morning and had a headache to boot. Maybe it was the room, maybe it was just because I was exhausted after two tough days – physically and mentally? I don’t know, all I know is I wasn’t right this morning and really didn’t fancy anything for breakfast, but after the last disaster back on the Pennine Way of walking on an empty stomach I tried to eat something.

Day 68

on Jul 31, 2010 | 0 comments

Dunbeath to Wick

After a really good, quick day’s walking yesterday I awoke feeling pretty good. Yes, my feet were a little bit tender when I first put them on the floor but by the time I’d pottered around sorting my stuff out they were actually feeling pretty good.

Not having even gone downstairs last night after going to my room I didn’t know what time breakfast was. All I could hope was that as I sorted myself out and go downstairs at my usual 8am it would be about the right time. As it goes, my breakfast was ready before 8am which meant I was running early by the time I’d eaten it and grabbed the last bits of my gear.

Toremore Farm B & B was perfectly adequate for a night’s stay, and I was very grateful to Mrs. McDonald for giving me a bed for the night as she’d had a fall recently and was struggling with a very swollen wrist. Everything looked very difficult, especially making my breakfast for me.

Day 69

on Aug 1, 2010 | 7 comments

Wick to John O’Groats

It’s weird to think that today will be the final day of this little stroll of mine. Getting my things together on my bed, as I’ve done every day for since starting this journey, I wasn’t sure how I felt about it all to be honest.

Matt and I went down to breakfast and I had my usual cooked mound of food. I really wanted to make it to John O’Groats without stopping for lunch if I could. I guess we’d see if that would be the case or not?

Breakfast out the way I strapped on my gear and left Matt at the front of the hotel. Yes, I could have taken an easier day today and left pretty much everything in the room but then I wouldn’t be able to say I’d carried everything so that wasn’t going to happen.