Why? – best and worst

The best – and worst – bits

I can’t lie.   The best part of this walk was getting to the end.   The sense of achievement was immense, and the relief at being able to stop, have a cup of tea in bed, be with the family again, and return to civilization was incomparable.

But along the way, there were lots of other highlights.   Getting to the top of Ben Nevis was one, and crossing the halfway mark in Wigan was another.   I enjoyed some of the towns I visited along the way, too – Chester and Lancaster were among my favourites.

Shooting lodge at Oykel Bridge. Pure joy to get here and reconnect with the world


But, aside from getting to the end, the other point that gave me the greatest sense of satisfaction was reaching Oykel Bridge shooting lodge, in the far north west of Scotland.   This marked the end of the toughest section of the hike – up the Cape Wrath trail from Kinloch Hourn.   At Oykel Bridge I could get back on line, and send an email letting people know that I was safe.   And from then on, it was a relatively easy walk to the end.

And the low-points?   There weren’t all that many, really.   I was pretty worried early on when my knees hurt so much.   But Ibulieve gel and glucosamine soon dealt with that.   And the pain from the giant hogweed burns, which I got in mid wales and which stayed with me all the way to Scotland, was a bit unpleasant.   But not unmanageable.   I also didn’t enjoy the hike up Scafell Pike all that much because the weather was so poor – but the elation at getting to the summit made up for it.   And I found the days to and from Dundonnell remote, hard, and sightly nerve-wracking because of the lack of communications links.

Stac Pollaidh and the Coigach mountains from above Glen Douchary - lifted the spirits on a tough day
Stac Pollaidh and the Coigach mountains from above Glen Douchary – lifted the spirits on a tough day

But the scenery was terrific – particularly the spectacular glimpse of the Coigach mountains, including Stac Pollaidh, from above Glen Douchary – and this partly relieved the tension.   In fact I think the least enjoyable day’s walking was actually from Monmouth to Pandy, in Wales.   The scenery was unspectacular – a lot of farmland which i always find a bit tedious – and I felt to be lacking in energy and lethargic.   It was only later that i worked out it was because I hadn’t had a proper evening meal; two days previously – something I took pains not to repeat.

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