Today: 5.4 miles
Total so far: 1687.0 miles
Percentage Completed: 100%
(Click map to enlarge)
The above figures give the bare facts: One thousand, six hundred and eighty seven miles walked and the Job 100% completed.
This morning I walk with Derek & Marian the few miles remaining and have my photograph taken by the very nice chap at John O'Groats with the famous signpost. I sign the book for End to Enders in the gift shop as the hotel is all shuttered up.
I don't know what sort of book I was expecting to sign, but it was a standard Collins hard-back type exercise book just like you would find in a bothy. This is right, as anything more grand would add a layer of unnecessary silliness. It's the walk that is important and the reasons why you are walking. I search for Daryl from America's signature and also for Charlie's who I met on the Pennine Way but do not find them. A pity. Perhaps they are in the Hotel’s book?
The John O'Groats Hotel looks quite forlorn, but it has to be said: John O'Groats is so much better than the appalling 'Land's End Experience' and so it is a good place to linger.
Then we are off once more to the Real Finishing Point (the capitals are Very Important here!): Duncansby Head; the point furthest away from Land's End on Mainland Britain.
Duncansby Head: Furthest point away from Land’s End on Mainland Britain
It is a gentle walk and by the time we arrive, there a small party of well wishers there to support me: Pat & Julie (the wardens from JOG Youth Hostel and TGO Challengers), Val Machin and Janet (more TGO Challengers!) Lord Elpus and Miss Whiplash (aka Phil & Tini - Even More TGO Challengers!) and of course, Derek & Marian – also TGO Challengers!
The reception committee at Duncansby Head
We knock the top off a bottle of Champagne and the more beardy types finish off Derek's whisky as well (was I the only the one there with a beard? - ooh dear.)Photographs are taken in front of the lighthouse and I remove the Osprey sack for the last time on the walk.
I am asked how I feel. I am not sure. It has all gone to plan, because the plan was a good one. I suppose I have just been the chap who carried out a well made plan. Yes, it has been a long way. I have had fabulous weather on the whole. The scenery I have passed through has been top-drawer and some of the people I have met, unforgettable.
The support from fellow TGO Challengers, and others, along the entire length of my walk has been quite amazing - their generosity, help and moral support a breath of fresh air; human kindness and the occasional phone call to lift a flagging spirit at just the right moment, quite exceptional!
I shall leave this entry now and try to summarize a little more clearly after I return home, so do drop by to visit the blog - it is not over 'til this skinny old bird sings!
And - a last appeal:
If you have enjoyed my reading my struggles and tales and feel you would like to donate then do please visit the link at the top right of this page to my Sue Ryder Care page and donate as much as you can afford, as right now the Sue Ryder team is caring for a critically ill patient, supporting them and their family when all hope for life has been lost. They did a magnificent job for my father, Jeff Sloman and all his very large family!You know you should; you know you want to. Do it for me, there's a poppet! Thank you Alan