WB 25/26: Heading to the Highlands
Progress has been good for these 2 weeks, and I am still on schedule. I have travelled from Southend, Scotland to Fort William, Scotland covering 232 miles.
As much as I don't want to grump about the sun, the heat over the last couple of weeks has been quite tough. With temperatures not far off 30 degrees for a lot of the days. This impacts in several way firstly and most obviously it fatigues you much quicker and makes the general walking harder. Secondly you drink more water which needs to be obtained and carried, fortunately most of the time I have just been able to knock on peoples doors. Thirdly the heat obviously makes you sweat more and this eventually causes issues as the rucksack starts to rub your skin on your lower back when it is wet for a sustained period. This back issue has only recently caused an issue and is one I'm just trying to manage. Fourthly and finally the battle not to get burnt, I got bored of constantly applying sun cream so most of the time I now just cover my head with by baby cloth and I am just about winning this battle.
It was expected and planned that there would be a fair amount of off-piste walking in Scotland to stay close to the coast due to the lack of paths in some areas. I knew there were some unknowns with these even if I had tried to plan these routes as well as possible. In reality overall these have probably gone about as expected, but some of the bits I thought would be very tricky have turned out to be quite simple and other areas which i thought would be simple have been impassable. The thing with the off-piste routes is as well as at times being infuriating they have thrown up some of the most stunning parts of the walk.
Horseflies, bloody horseflies. I have had very few bites on the entire walk less than a handful in the first 24 weeks of the walk, but boy oh boy in the last week the horseflies (known as Clegs up here I believe) have come out to play. They can bite through my tops and thus my shoulders, front, sides and face are all liable to attack. It appears my shoulders are the most juicy and I would guess i have had at least 25 bites on each shoulder. I don't know if I am getting used to the bites but they are not quite as annoying anymore. Hopefully if the wind or weather changes they will reduce in number. Everyone went on about midges but it the horseflies so far which have been worst on the West Coast!
Only had 2 photos of birds these 2 weeks amazingly, so added some other animals in.
I must thank everyone for their donations which have come from a whole range of sources, and the total has now reached my target of £10,000. This will be gratefully received and used well by the Mental Health Foundation. I will not change the target but I will see how far I/we can exceed it by.
Want to Join?
A few people throughout the walk have asked about possibly joining for remote parts for a couple of days. The problem with remote parts is they are harder to get too but here are two possible options. Firstly the Knoydart Area roughly from Mallaig (19th July) with a couple of days walking including a bothy and the most remote pub in Scotland before you could get boat back to Mallaig. Secondly the approach to Cape Wrath roughly from Scourie (25th August), passing Sandwood Bay including two bothies
Mental Health Blog
After saying I wouldn't publish them last blog I am going to try and force myself to publish a mental health blog later on my experience with Richmond Mental Health Services.
Please click links below to find out more detail about each specific day:
- Day 170: Southend to Machrihanish
- Day 171: Machrihanish to Tayinloan
- Day 172: Tayinloan to West Tarbert
- Day 173: West Tarbert to Port Ban
- Day 174: Port Ban to Castlesween
- Day 175: Castlesween to Keillmore
- Day 176: Keillmore to Duntrune Castle
- Day 178: Duntrune Castle to Kilmelford
- Day 179: Kilmelford to Clachan Bridge
- Day 180: Clachan Bridge to Benderloch
- Day 181: Benderloch to Kentallen
- Day 182: Kentallen to Fort William
Specific thank yous:
Big Jessie's Cafe, Tayinloan – thank you for letting me pitch in your field.
Port Ban Holiday Park - thank you for letting me pitch for free and giving me my shopping for free.
Patricia & Robin Malcolm, Duntrune Castle - thank you for putting me up for the two nights of my rest day in your house, as well as feeding me like a king.
Kilmelford Yacht Haven - thank you for letting me pitch for free.
Sheiling B&B, Clachan Bridge - thank you for providing me with a complimentary room and giving me a lovely breakfast.
Also thank you to everyone who donated last week, and all the kind messages that I received.