Saturday, 23 May 2009

Day 7 - Tain Tolbooth.jpg

Rest day. Having made it to Tain I really am looking forward to my first rest day. Still when I look back I see a week where I have covered 104 miles. I have made it to my 2nd drop zone of 20. I opened my collection pot for week 1 in the presence of the owner of my current B&B raising a sum of £191.12.

I was hoping to go to the Glenmorangie Distillery today, unfortunately it was not open so I took the time to have a look around Main and relax.

Tain's Tolbooth was built between 1706 and 1733 by local mason Alexander Stronach. The tolbooth was built as a prison and a place of safe-keeping for the burgh's charters and arms.

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Day 6 - Jail Dornoch.jpg

Nearly caught up on my blogs. This one is from Dornoch which has some impressive architecture. Whilst in Dornoch I met a couple who had seen me at Dunnet Head, John O'Groats and Wick. Wow groupies.
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Day 6 - Bee.jpg

Look I've even found the time for a little nature spotting. Mind you the bee did ask for a royalty cut on any future publicity.
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Day 6 - The Mound.jpg

This was the view I got leaving Golspie heading for Dornoch. As I'm still walking on a major road I'm getting lots of people wishing me well by waving at me, beeping their horns or flashing their lights. It helps keep me walking, although I have already started talking to myself.
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Day 6 - Sutherland Arms Hotel.jpg

Thank you to Sue for a wonderful stay at the Sutherland Arms Hotel. As I walked in decor was modern and inviting, on seeing the room I was pleasantly thrown back into a victorian era. The wardrobe was antique and I dared not use it with my now smelly clothes.

I spent the evening socialising with fellow end to lenders and staff. The latter of which also offered to take my snapsack onto my next destination. I am indeed indebted to the kind generosity of my hosts.

Sutherland Arms Hotel, Old Bank Road, Golspie, Sutherland, KW10 6RS. email website

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Day 5 - The Emigrants Statue - Helmsdale.jpg

This statue is located just before you enter Helmsdale on the A9 heading North. Its is labeled 'The Emigrants'.
It commemorates the people of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland who, in the face of great adversity, sought freedom, hope and justice beyond these shores. They and their descendants went forth and explored continents, built great countries and cities and gave their enterprise and culture to the world. Their voices will echo forever thro the empty straths and glens of their homeland.
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Day 5 - Customs House B&B - Helmsdale.jpg

Meet Ann MacDonald (owner) of the Custom House Bed and Breakfast. A lovely lady who provided me with a huge fried breakfast to set me on my way. Customs House is situated next to the quay providing a peaceful setting next to the sea.

Ann also volunteered to take my snapsack onto my next destination. Hurray again. Scottish hospitality is wonderful.

Customs House, Shore Street, Helmsdale, KW8 6JZ. Telephone 01431 821648 / 643

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Day 4 - La Mirage Fantastic fish and chips.jpg

When I arrived at the Customs House Bed & Breakfast in Helmsdale I dropped off my kit and waited for Nigel and Wendy to arrive with my knapsack. Needless to say I had to wait in one of the local pubs...The Belgrave Alms. Nigel and Wendy also recommended the local fish and chip shop. I wasn't disappointed, it was cooked to perfection and I would definitely pass on that recommendation.
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Day 4 - View walking Dunbeath - Helmsdale.jpg

This photo was taken just before I walked up Inver Hill. That was tough going, the sun was beating down and I felt myself getting exhausted really quickly. It certainly brought on a heavy sweat. So much so that when I stopped for lunch I stripped off in a layby near Badbea just to let the clothes dry a little and prevent wet rubbing sores. I also took a Rehydration pack to replace lost salts.

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Day 4 - Setting off from Ballentink.jpg

Wendy took this photograph just prior to giving me a lift back to where Nigel picked me up yesterday. What is even more amazing is that they have offered to take my snapsack onto my next destination in Helmsdale. Needless to say, I most humbly accepted their offer.
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Day 3 - Ballentink Bed & Breakfast.jpg

Run by Wendy and Nigel, Ballentink is set in wonderful ideallic location, where the scenary is everything.

After 22 miles being collected at the end of the day was extremely welcome. What was even more welcoming was the level of hospitality shown to me when I arrived. I was treated to a hot meal and a cold cider... lovely.

After dinner and a shower I enjoyed the fantastic views surrounding Ballentink. Nigel pointed out some deer that come down in the evening to graze.

The quality of service, the cleanliness of accommodation and the friendly atmosphere was first class. Well worth a visit.

Ballentink Bed & Breakfast, Brochroy, Dunbeath, Caithness (01593 731498) email website

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Thursday, 21 May 2009

Day 3 - War memorial near Clan Gunn museum.jpg

I arrived late at the Clan Gunn museum which is situated just a short distance from where the A9 meets the A99. Instead I took the photo of another war memorial. One thing that is clearly apparent is that Scotland believes in honoring its war heroes.

Only a couple of miles to go before I reach my destination for today, for a massive 22 mile walk. That take my total to just over 54 mile in 3 days. Bring it on Aaaaagh.
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Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Day 3 - Hill o' Many Stanes.jpg

This place is apparently over 4000 years old. Even though I have a long walk today, I feel I must take every opportunity to see as much as I can. Although the stones are not very big it is quite impressive.
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Day 3 - All alone last night at the campsite in Wick. Sleeping proved a little uncomfortable as the ground was rock hard. Still up at 07:00 breakfast and packed up by 08:45. Paula caught up with me on the road to Dunbeath and took this photo. She also took my snapsack on to my next stop. Must confess I'm glad to lose the excess weight.
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St Clare Hall - Nybster.jpg

Discovered this memorial at St Clare Hall (Nybster). It is dedicated to the sailors who lost their lives at the Battle of Jutland. There is another memorial of a soldier which is dedicated to those who lost their lives during the First World war.

Whilst I was at St Clare Hall a photographer claiming to be from 'The Post' turned up. He took a few photos and then asked if he could take some at Keiss Castle. It was only a mile away so I said "o.k." When the photos were done he offered me a drink in the local pub at Weiss, however it looked like there was a wake going on so we decided not to stop. Instead he pulled over and let me out to continue my walk (1.5 miles futher on than I had stopped walking). In a way I feel as though I have cheated on walking 1.5 miles but considering JOGLE is 876 and I am walking 1042 I feel that it won't matter too much. But I have learnt from this experience and will be more careful in future.

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Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Day 2 setting off from John O'Groats.jpg

Having got over the initial wow I'm really here, doing this today saw the famous John O'Groats sign made up for me. JOGLE is only 876 miles so why on earth am I doing 1042? Answers in an envelope with a cheque made out to Help For Heroes.
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John O'Groats - End of day 1.jpg

End of day 1 at John O'Groats. As you can see I'm a bit cream crackered. This was just a 15 mile walk. Imagine what it is going to be like tomorrow when I up the anti to 18 miles. However it's been a fun day and I'm looking forward to the rest of it. Mind you getting the ability to blog a picture is proving a bit of a pain.
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Day 2 setting off from John O'Groats.jpg

This is day 2 of my adventure. 18 Miles from John O'Groats to Wick. Weather as you can see is a bit on the drizzly side of things but it did improve as the day wore on.
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Sunday, 17 May 2009

17 May - Day 1 - Dunnet Head.jpg

All full of cheer as I embark on 1024 miles to Lands End. First stop John O'Groats 15 miles. Weather is holding back the rain... Looks like being a good day. My son Thomas has decided to walk the first leg of my journey.

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