In the summer of 2011, I walked from Land's End to John O'Groats (well, almost), enduring the worst weather Britain could throw at me. That journey is reported in "My 1200 Mile Summer." In the summer of 2012 I am facing an even greater challenge: I will drive the length of Britain, zooming down Britain's narrow hedgerow-lined lanes and navigating its infamous roundabouts -- with my wife sitting next to me! Follow along to see if we are still speaking to each other at the end of each day.
Adventure starts mid-July, 2012
Saturday, August 11, 2012
August 10 & 11, 2012 – Moffat to Pitlochry
Enjoying Kateryna's Seat Again
Janet and I each had a place we wanted to visit before heading much farther north.For me, it was Kateryna’s Seat – the serendipitous memorial bench I happened upon in Walkerburn just when I needed to sit down and massage my feet last year.I am still convinced that if I hadn’t come across the bench when I did, my walk would have ended.Owing my walk to that bench, I wanted to see it again, sit on it, and pay my respects to Kateryna, for whom the bench is named.
The Falkirk Wheel
Janet wanted to see The Falkirk Wheel – that magnificent engineering boondoggle linking the Union Canal to the Forth and Clyde Canal.After fulfilling our wishes, and giving Janet the chance to walk parts of both canals, we drove to the town of Pitlochry.We both recalled visiting Pitlochry some years ago, but disagreed about whether we actually stayed there.
As luck would have it, we stumbled upon a luxury accommodation in a Victorian house with the unpronounceable name Tigh-Na-Cloich Hotel.OK, the last word is pronounceable, but it doesn’t really fit.The accommodation has none of the unpleasant trappings that we have come to expect from hotels.It has the cozy feel of a guest house; but it also has a restaurant, so it’s really more than a guest house – a very upscale restaurant at that, with a menu that changes every day.We had intended to stay one night, but upon actually seeing the property, we quickly changed to two nights. Now that we’ve had two dinners in the elegant restaurant, I wish we had more time to stay longer. This is one of those serendipitous discoveries, at a bargain price – sort of like Kateryna’s Seat.
Since most of Friday had been spent driving, we needed to walk on Saturday.For several weeks now Janet has been telling me that, having walked parts of the Southwest Coast Path, Offa’s Dyke Path, the Pennine Way, the Southern Upland Way and all of the West Highland Way (and now two canals), she thinks she could actually walk from Land’s End to John O’Groats.Provided it doesn’t rain.And provided she didn’t have to carry a heavy pack.Or get any blisters.There may have been a few other immaterial provisos, but she said she could do it.
View from Footpath
So today I decided to put her to the test.I found a walk along the Rob Roy Way – 5 miles from Pitlochry to Strath Tay, with 800 feet of elevation gain – passing along a good trail, then a forest track, then through bogs and pastures – all to provide a sample of what a LEJOG walk would entail.To my surprise, Janet’s confidence in being able to do walk LEJOG hasn’t wavered, although a few more provisos have been added: no uphills, no bogs, and no wet feet.Oh, there’s one more thing:the route must be obvious – she gets very uncomfortable if I have to check the map to be sure we’re headed in the right direction.Otherwise, LEJOG is a piece of cake.