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.
First things first I sat down and typed up yesterday’s walk. I know I should have done it last night but I don’t think it would have been the best of efforts being completely honest. It took the usual couple of hours to retrace my steps so nothing unusual there. Shame I couldn’t actually post it on the site along with the other three or four updates that. Damn you broken wifi!
That job out of the way I turned my attention to Matt’s accommodation list and started to check the places out on my phone. The signal was patchy at best so this took considerably longer than it should have done but after an hour or so I’d managed to book places for the final days of the walk.
God, final days of the walk. It’s scary to think that I’m now under a week away from the goal of walking the length of the UK. I still don’t know what I think about that and I guess I won’t until I actually get there I suppose? I suspect it’ll be a mixture of relief, pride, and a little pang of sorrow. This has been such an adventure so far I’m sure I’m going to be sad that it will all be over. That’s a few days away now so I’ll try not to dwell on it too much for now.
Matt’s coming up to see me across the finish line so instead of trying to stay in John O’Groats with the one small hotel, one guest house and youth hostel – I won’t ever be staying in one of them again! – Matt and I decided that we’d spend Saturday and Sunday night in Wick, my penultimate stop before John O’Groats. I managed to sort out a hotel for the two nights getting a family room for the two of us, with breakfast and evening meal thrown in for £75 per person per night. Ok, I’m sure some of you might think this expensive but I’ve had to pay more than that for just bed and breakfast so getting dinner thrown in too was pretty good.
It’ll be nice to see Matt before heading off for the final slog on Sunday and even better to have someone there to celebrate with instead of being on my own and it all being a little bit of an anticlimax. Still, that’s a little way off yet and I need to make sure I manage to get there in one piece first before thinking about celebrating!
Jobs done I headed out my room and to the local Co-op to get supplies in for the next couple of days and to pick up a bit of lunch. With nothing to do in Evanton – I walked pretty much round the place in ten minutes or less, getting wet from the rain in the process – I planned on spending the afternoon doing some washing (I had a working radiator in the room so I’d be able to dry it all ok) and just chilling to some tunes on my bed. Much like the day off I had in Rowardennan this was going to be a proper rest day, most of which I wanted to spend off my feet so they were as fresh as they could be before the final 102 mile stretch.
And that’s exactly what I did. I spent pretty much all the afternoon lying on my bed listening to my iPod…it was great! I ate too much, especially the scrummy triple chocolate cookies and box of Maltesers. I just couldn’t resist them, and yes, you read that right, it was a box not a bag all to myself. Hell, it wasn’t like I wouldn’t walk it all off during tomorrow’s walk now eh? This is clearly a habit I will need to break very early on when I get back home?!
I popped out to make the evening’s call to Alice and Elisa as I knew (hoped?) I’d get a better signal outside compared to the rather bad signal in my room. It was only a quick call as they were both pretty tired after a day out at the seaside. I hate it when I don’t get to talk to them for very long but I could hear it in Alice’s voice how tired she was. Hopefully a better call tomorrow?
I popped in to the bar for a pint and some food – fish and chips (again) followed bt sticky toffee pudding. All very nice and filled a hole.
While I was sat there a group of people on a table across from me started on the “I’ve done bigger and better than you” tales, a lot of which were based around walking and how far they’d gone the other week etc. etc. Not that I ever want to do it but it was becoming increasingly more difficult not to just walk over and very simply say “yes, but I’ve walked 1000 miles” and leave them to it. I didn’t though because I don’t want to be that type of person thank you very much.
Dinner out of the way, and to take me away of any sort of temptation to chirp in on the bravado, I headed back to my room to sort everything out so it was all ready for a quick start in the morning. I’ve been a bit lazy these past few evenings, leaving everything until the morning to sort and pack but I wanted a good start to the final leg. I want to finish this walk in a positive way and not a “thank god it’s over” or “am I there yet?” kind of way. Hopefully I can keep the better mood and attitude of the last few days for a few more days.
It’s a sixteen mile stretch tomorrow, the first of the final six days up the roads to John O’Groats. Fortunately, tomorrow’s walk will mainly be on smaller lanes but after that, the final five days will pretty much be on the main road – boo!
If you want to find out more about this day you can see the photos I took.