19th October – Update since August

Since returning to Wantage I have been trying to sort out my hernia repair operation and am delighted to report that it will take place at the Great Western Hospital, at Swindon, on November 12th. The NHS have turned up trumps as I was expecting a much longer wait.

The consultant is very confident that I should recover quickly and be able to resume my trip in the spring. My plan is to restart at the end of March at Craven Arms, walk to Horton in Ribblesdale and then catch a train to Darlington. Alan will take me up to West Linton and I will walk to Fort William as originally planned. When I leave Fort William I will now use the Great Glen Way to journey to Inverness. I take a break there to join my friends in MAC for our May meet in Braemar. Returning to Inverness I will follow a new Trail up the east coast to John O’Groats. Two days walking on roads should see me at Dunnet Head at the end of May.

This means that I can finish the trip at the most northerly point in the UK. More important, I will not have to carry camping equipment so I can travel much lighter. The route will not be as interesting as the Cape Wrath Trail, but I am not prepared to run the risk of another hernia problem in country where the only means of escape would be by helicopter.

I was able to visit Cape Wrath, with Alan, at the end of September when we were staying at Durness. We were very lucky as the ferry was only able to operate one day that week. That was the one day when we did not get torrential rain or gale force winds and I was pleased to be in a comfortable cottage rather than a tent.

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