LETJOG – Day 57: Tuesday 13 July – DUNBEATH to WICK (21 miles)
What a lovely start to the day! I was greeted with an ever-changing, and almost inconceivable, mix of early morning sunshine, mist and blue skies, before a very fine cooked breakfast and the super company of Rhona, my host at Inver Park House – thank you!
And, as long as all goes to plan, today is to be my last full solo day of my LETJOG walk. Rachel is flying up to join me this afternoon in Wick, and will be with me for the end of my walk tomorrow to John O’Groats. I’d like to thank you here Rachel for all your love and support throughout this challenge – seriously, I really could not have done all, or indeed any, of this without you! So my song title today, ‘Right Down The Line’, from another amazing Scottish songwriter, is dedicated to you!
Walking wise, today has been a day like no other on my LETJOG trek. A route-march, plain and simple. Walking on lanes is great – footsure and head up, one can get the serious miles in on a challenge such as this whilst also taking in the views, and every so often standing aside for the occasional slow-moving car. That’s fine. But walking the verges of a main road with 60 mph traffic is another thing, and not something I enjoy or recommend. When I realised the state of the John O’Groats Trail, and the time and labour involved in walking even a single mile, I made the decision to ‘walk for it’ on the A9/A99 today from Dunbeath to Wick. Starting early and with the weather in my favour and hi-viz donned, I ‘sprinted’ the 21 miles of highway, poling away in fury, and less than six hours later I arrived in Wick. Not much opportunity for photos, but here are a few from my first hour today:
Such a shame not to be able to enjoy this great scenery in better fashion today, so ‘nuff said about the walking! I arrived in Wick early in the afternoon for a stroll around the town and it’s lovely harbour, and in good time for a visit to the Pulteney Distillery. There I had a pleasant discussion with guide Daniel (to whom my sincere thanks for supporting the LETJOG charities), and I left suitably supplied with a couple of miniatures.
And then, in the afternoon sunshine, at Mackays Hotel, we arrived simultaneously – myself on foot, of course, and Rachel parking up the hire car, having driven up from Inverness. So wonderful to be together again! We talked about a walk around the town, but settled on a drink outside a local hostelry – they have a great place here, with some local brews, all at a good price – Wetherspoons they call it. Then to the No 1 Bistro, on Ebenezer Street, allegedly the shortest road in the world (it’s just a front door!), for dinner and catch-up time. Big day tomorrow!