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Saturday, 2 May 2009

DAY THIRTEEN: TO TEWEL

Another cracking day, Grommit! Mr Grumpy & I were the last to leave the campsite this morning at quite a respectable 8:00am ; the others had all hurried off, perhaps because quite a few were trying to get to the coast today. Grumps & I took a more leisurely approach as I had only 16 miles to do to our overnight spots.

I don't know why the Fetterresso Forest holds such terrors to Challengers because it's no better or worse mapped than any other forest in Scotland. Today it was quite lovely, with warm sunshine and cooling breezes. Buzzards, snipe, curlew, lapwings and loads of LBJ's to accompany my wandering through the woods.

I was having a late elevenses (or was it an early lunch?) of 'tuna with a twist' with bread and cheese with a small nip of Lagavulin when down the track came a familiar silhouette ~ Bob Ward. He had come to this same spot from Charr bothy. I had started with Bob at Torridon (he had badly bashed his face the previous day walking from Strathcarron to Torridon), bumped into him again at Ballater and so we walked on together for the last part of my day's walk. Bob was carrying on to Stonehaven ~ that's quite a big day from Charr.
Still, he's been round the block a few times now - I think this is his twelth Challenge. A thoroughly good bloke.

So I arrived at my B&B at 2:30 in the afternoon to see the farmer bottle feeding three lambs ~ all very bucolic and good for the soul. 

It's a couple of hours to my finishing point tomorrow morning~ Dunnottar Castle and then a stroll along the cliff tops into Stonehaven to catch a train to sign in at Montrose. 

I have enjoyed the walk this year. It's been a different sort of walk on two-counts: Firstly it was the most northerly route of my fourteen official crossings, which meant fewer big hills. But the walk has been tough, all the same as there were loads of trackless boggy sections, sometimes in very trying conditions.

Secondly, I was walking solo for great chunks of it, which I am used to obviously, from my LEJOG walk. However there were days when I bumped into some wonderful characters and then time flew by very quickly.
I am physically quite tired, but mentally refreshed; ready now to take on and sort out the problems back home. I need to be in good fettle as in the next five months two of our children are getting married, which is a wonderful time to look forward to. 

Sorry if this is a longer than normal post, but tomorrow you probably won't get too much sense out of me as it's the Party for the Challengers in Montrose and I intend to have a great time. 

Lastly, thanks to Phil for organising a wonderful route and first class accommodation and travel arrangements. I know he will have missed walking it this year, but Phil, it doesn't matter, fella, as long as you can make the next ten years. 

All the very best to everyone,
Alan

5 comments:

  1. I've been following your route and it's been an interesting one, passing very close by to my front door!

    Really glad you've had a good Challenge, you deserved it. I hope mine's as good if my name finds it's way out of the hat!

    Hope Montrose is ready for you...
    Regards
    Louise

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  2. Reading the blogs is no substitute for sure, but I'm just really pleased that you've had a great time Al - you deserved it. Now, your last task on my virtual Challenge is to go to Montrose and get well and truly wellied on my behalf. :-)

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  3. Excellent. Enjoyed reading your tangential view on life and the Challenge. Glad it's been a good one for you; you deserve it.

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  4. yep well done... been a pleasure to follow you on your travels via your blog :-)

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  5. Enjoyed my vicarious trip across Scotland Alan. Reading your blog has brightened up the working days over the last couple of weeks but had me wishing I was out about myself.
    Have a good party in Montrose.

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