I had a much better night’s sleep compared to the hostel from the other night. Ok, I still only managed my usual five or so hours sleep but that’s got to be better than an hour here and there throughout the night like I managed the other night? Everything still hurt when I got up and pottered around but I was determined to have a better day, regardless of how much I hurt, so I got myself sorted out and went for breakfast at my now customary 8am. Breakfast was great and I had a good chat with a couple from Sweden who were staying there. They were fascinated with what I was doing and we sat there chatting for quite some time, longer than I’d planned on breakfast that’s for sure.
I didn’t feel too bad when I got up this morning except for a minor niggle in my left leg. It wasn’t anything major and I hoped it’d sort itself out over the course of today’s walk as it only felt like a bit of cramp, the first I’ve suffered since starting the walk if you can believe that? I got to breakfast for 8am sharp, wanting to get off as early as possible knowing there was a long day ahead of me. I was the first one there so settled down in a chair by the window and had some juice and a yoghurt to start with. Even though there was nobody else in the restaurant the service was pretty terrible, having to wait a ridiculous amount of time before someone came over to ask whether I wanted a cooked breakfast or not. After that wait it didn’t take too long to arrive so I wolfed it down with some toast, got back to my room and was all done and checked out by 8:35am. Not bad going even if I do say so myself.
I wasn’t feeling too bad this morning when I woke up, which was surprising after the nineteen mile yomp I did yesterday. I hoped this was a good sign and that I’d cover the miles to Evanton without too many problems, but then again I’ve had days where I’ve felt great to start with and everything’s just fallen apart a few hours later. Fingers crossed this wasn’t one of those days. Breakfast at the Waterside hotel was about average quality for this walk. I packed in some more food – yoghurt and actually eating some of the cold toast – and got myself sorted out to check out and start the day proper. Just up the road from the hotel I walk past a church where a lady was just about to go in. She said hello and asked me where I was walking to. I told her today’s destination but tagged on that I’d be in John O’Groats in a week’s time. She asked if I was doing the walk for charity, to which I said yes, and she gave me a couple of pounds. Thank you Bridget, every single penny helps!
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.
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.
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.
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.