I am heading off for Craven Arms today to restart my slightly adjusted journey, now making for Dunnet Head. Since recovering from my hernia operation in November, and a quick trip to Canada after Christmas, I have been back in training.
All was fine up to the end of February when I caught a cold and had to stop for a few weeks. Since then things had been going well until I made a novice’s mistake based on complacency. At the end of February I walked around 55k over two days wearing the boots I planned to use on the journey. I had no problems and I do not normally get blisters. I therefore set off for a training session confident that the boots were fine. They were but my heel got a blister which has now got worse. Unfortunately it is too big for Compeed so I am trusting that a few days in sandals, with exposure to the air, will sort it out before Friday. Luckily I have another pair of boots that I can use, which are kinder to my feet and will just have to get on with it. Last year I collected some inspirational sayings to help when things were hard and two seem appropriate. ” Stop thinking just start” and “Suck it up!”
This year I will have several friends joining me as I head north, which will be great as it will be good to have a mixture of company and also time for solitary walking and reflection. The first two weeks will be filling in the gap from Craven Arms to Horton in Ribblesdale. My brother Alan will then pick me up and take me back to West Linton and I will follow the original route to Fort William via the West Highland Way. From Fort William I will go up the Great Glen to Inverness ,and then take a week out to join my MAC friends for a week Munro-collecting in Braemar. Then it is back to Inverness and the last 12 days going up the new John O’Groats Trial and across to Dunnet Head. I will be staying in hostels, B&B’s and hotels so that I can reduce the weight in the rucksack by not carrying camping equipment. Alan is joining me for the last week for logistic support.
Many thanks to everyone who has supported me both financially and also with words of encouragement. It does make a big difference to know that friends are willing me on. As last year I will try to be as honest as possible and update the blog daily. Katy will add some photographs whenever possible.