WB 23/24: Smiles in the Sunshine and Tears in the Rain ...
Progress has been good for these 2 weeks, and I am still on schedule. I have travelled from Irvine, Scotland to Southend, Scotland covering 255 miles.
There have not been any major issues, though a couple of times I have had issues with lethargy beyond the normal and one time I actually felt quite sick.
Other than that no particular issues, other than a footbridge missing and a couple of suspect paths.
I have been told many horror stories about midges since the beginning of the walk. So far, they have been only a minor annoyance, I say annoyance rather than painful as the few bites I have had you would not even know had happened if you didn’t see the little red spots. They are an annoyance when they are around as having lots of anything buzzing around your face is annoying. But any wind, rain or being too hot and they do not seem to appear, and when I am walking it appears I am too fast for them. So it is only when I have a snack break or putting up my tent that I have had any issues and probably only about 5 times in total and even then only for short periods (partially because I have just jumped in tent or got walking for these few times.)
I do know they could get worse as I head north, and I am prepared with my spray and head net.
Is it Getting easier?
This is a question I have been asked a lot. It is not an easy one to answer but in essence I would say no it is not getting easier. There are some logical reasons for this for example fewer shops, less signal for planning/diary, and even the kit is getting older so for example it is harder to adjust backpack to make it comfy. On top of this the routes in Scotland are harder to plan and can be harder to follow and I predict this will become more of an issue the further North I get up the West Coast. Maybe also though it is fitter my body slowly builds up more and more fatigue.
To counter this things don't faze me as much now, and I presume I can get through most things though this doesn't fully stop the anxieties.
As of Thursday I believe I was halfway through my predicted overall mileage, 3060 miles out of 6120 miles (amazingly even though the mileage has at times differed by up to 50 miles due to diversions and unwalkable parts, by the halfway point it was only 3 miles different to my prediction/plots). Weirdly it won't feel like I am halfway till I get to Cape Wrath from when every step will be closer to London.
I have passed many static caravan parks, many golf courses, several nuclear power stations. I have seen many types of scenery high cliffs, sandy beaches, dunes, flood plains, big cities, river banks. I have had all types of weather rain, wind, snow, hail and even a Scottish heatwave. I have seen a lot of wildlife with Peregrines and Otters being my highlights so far. My body has sometimes not agreed with the walking but it is still going and I expect many more interesting things, some good, some bad for the second half.
I have had a lot of emails on the walk, but in the last week or so I have had 4 all quite similar from parents (3 of them I don't even know how they found out about the walk) with children with mental health problems. They all said how following the walk is helping their kids and how one managed to get out for walk after not leaving the house for a very long time. It was really nice to receive these emails.
These emails also help as I have had to decide not to publish any more mental health blogs, this is half due to time constraint but more due to the fact that i can't seem to make myself publish the 10 or so I have written as I am anxious about doing so. So I feel it better just to take the pressure of myself. What I will try and do though is include little things in the weekly blogs. But the emails show me that the walk as well as helping me is having an effect on others as well.
My Mental Health
A brief note to say that it is hard for me to deny the walk is helping my Mental Health, as only months before the walk I was still often unable to leave my flat, yet now I am out every day, overcoming many obstacles and pretty much treating the walk/diary like a job though an enjoyable but tough one most of the time. That's not to say there are not brief moments where my mental health demons rise to the surface.
Please click links below to find out more detail about each specific day:
- Day 155: Irvine to Fairlie
- Day 156: Fairlie to Gourock
- Day 157: Gourock to Dumbarton
- Day 158: Dumbarton to Cove
- Day 159: Cove to Mark Bothy
- Day 160: Mark Bothy to Carrick Castle
- Day 161: Carrick Castle to Dunoon
- Day 163: Dunoon to Ardtaraig
- Day 164: Ardtaraig to Carry Point
- Day 165: Carry Point to Grogport
- Day 166: Grogport to Carradale Bay
- Day 167: Carradale Bay to Campbeltown
- Day 168: Campbeltown to Southend
Specific thank yous:
Ferry Row B&B, Fairlie – thank you for providing me with a complimentary room and a lovely dinner/breakfast.
Alec & Liz, Gourock - thank you for letting me stay at yours for the night, as well as cooking a lovely meal.
Julia & Peter, Cove - thank you for letting me stay at yours for the night, as well as cooking a lovely meal.
Carrick Farm, Carrick Castle - thank you for providing me with a complimentary room and a lovely dinner/breakfast.
Craigieburn Guest House, Dunoon - thank you for providing me with a complimentary room for the 2 nights of my rest day.
Anton at Ardtaraig - thank you for letting me use the Beaters Bothy to shelter from the storm.
Carry Farm Campsite - thank you for letting me pitch for free.
Carradale Bay Holiday Park - thank you for letting me pitch for free.
Argyll Arms Hotel, Southend - thank you for providing me with a complimentary room for the 2 nights of my rest day, and a lovely dinner.
Also thank you to everyone who donated last week, and all the kind messages that I received.