Linlithgow to Kilsyth
I managed to get a good six hours asleep last night, helped by my ear plugs – staying in a pub on a Saturday night might not have been the best idea I’ve ever had. Still, I slept which is the main thing.
The body was just about working as I pottered around getting myself ready but my head was still not on straight. The tough day and other things were still playing on my mind and I just couldn’t shake the black cloud that was hanging over me. Not good when there’s another long day ahead.
I patched up my right foot as best I could and got down to breakfast as early as they could sort it out. But, once it was in front of me I just didn’t fancy it at all. I ate as much of it as I could, knowing that I’d regret walking on an empty stomach, but it was a struggle. I headed out the door and picked up the canal again up the road from the hotel.
The walk started the same as yesterday’s with not a lot to look at, I was taking it a little slower though because of my right foot and hip which was playing up after walking awkwardly yesterday afternoon. The only bonus was that after a couple of hours walking I managed to find somewhere to take a sit and rest my feet. I had to do my best to try and keep this up as there were a lot of miles in front of me and I was already feeling it in my feet.
There were quite a lot of people out walking, running and cycling and I was passed by a few more barges. It was nice to say hello to everyone is it helped to take my mind off of everything that was spinning round it, including the pain I was feeling throughout my body.
Other than that the walk was pretty uneventful all the way to Falkirk bar walking over the odd aqueduct, the biggest of which was the one taking the canal over the river Avon – it was pretty high.
Falkirk marked the half way mark for the day’s walk. Here the Union Canal met the Forth and Clyde Canal and the impressive Falkirk Wheel.
The Forth and Clyde Canal sits 35m below the level of the Union Canal. Originally, the two canals were joined at Falkirk by a flight of 11 locks that stepped down across a distance of 1.5km, but these were dismantled in 1933. The Falkirk Wheel – the world’s first and only rotating boat lift – now does this job, and it was certainly a site I can tell you. It was a shame that there wasn’t a barge waiting to go up or down but you could see how it would work.
Also at Falkirk I had to go through the Falkirk Tunnel, a 631 metre long tunnel that cuts through solid rock. It was constructed because a powerful landowner objected to the prospect of being able to see the canal from his house, Callendar House.
It was a bit spooky in the tunnel even with the lights, which to be honest didn’t give off all that much light. It was a little treacherous under foot too as the cobbled pathway was quite wet and slimy in places. Fortunately there was a barrier stopping me falling in to the canal, which was lucky. I’m sure there are a few of you who wouldn’t even have considered walking through it?
After all that fun the walk became pretty boring again. I’m really not liking all this canal walking and can’t wait to be shot of it, what ever that may mean ahead. The only thing that livened it all up a bit, if you can call it that, was the wind. It was trying its utmost to not allow me to walk forward, at times succeeding! It was awful trying to walk along the towpath and made it very tough going, wasting a lot of energy that I knew I’d need later in the day.
I did bump into a cyclist who passed me on yesterday’s walk – he was cycling towards me today unlike yesterday – and as he came up to me he looked a little confused and stopped. We had a little chat about my walk, which explained why I was still walking along the towpath. He was very impressed, wished me luck and we both went on our way.
I was doing ok up until the final five miles or so. After all the walking into the wind and my feet now really feeling the distance I’d covered over the last two days, my body started to fall apart. I was hurting pretty much everywhere but the thing is with this walk, I have to carry on regardless. If I don’t, I don’t get a bed for the night, it’s as simple as that.
I struggled on finally reaching Kilsyth and my hotel around the same time that I rolled in to Linlithgow. I wasn’t too worried about it today as I knew I’d taken a slower pace, that and the wind trying its best to stop me as well.
I must have stood under the shower for a good twenty five minutes or so before dragging myself out and phoning the girls. All that was left to do was to get a pint, have some food and sit myself down to watch the football.
It was a better day in some respects than yesterday and I was happy that I’d managed to cover the twenty one miles with a bad foot. My head wasn’t, and still isn’t, in the right place but hopefully after tomorrow’s marathon walk I’ll be feeling better about everything. One can but hope.