Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Day 80: Lybster

Distance: 7.3 miles
Tumbles: 1 (Al along the uneven pavement at the edge of the road)

We just figured out that today was our shortest day of the whole trip. I guess our B&B hostess was right this morning. She gave us the distinct impression that we were complete slackers for only walking to Lybster! I'm glad we did because it gave us a chance to visit the harbour, which is about a mile and a half from our B&B. But I get ahead of myself.


The weather continues to hang in for us. It was a bit misty out at sea this morning, but sunny and lightly breezy where we were. We saw the last of the A9, which turned north to Thurso, and continued on the A99 towards Wick and John o'Groats. It was slightly quieter, but as a big van screamed by me from behind as he passed a line of cars, I thought longingly of our turn onto quieter country roads tomorrow.


The land along the coast continues to be mainly livestock fields. Sheep are the predominant population, but today we had a first. A whole field of deer. I guess this is where the venison burgers we've been seeing on pub menus lately come from.

After we settled in at the B&B we headed into town. Lybster is a village that was built to support the herring fisheries of the early 19th century.


For less than a hundred years the community thrived, but by 1900 the herring had "disappeared", as the sign board noted. They didn't really disappear. The 200+ boats operating out of Lybster just caught them all. Once the herring were gone, they caught all the whitefish. So now there are a handful of boats fishing for crab and lobster and Lybster's big attraction is an internationally known glass studio.


Another interesting feature of Lybster is their super wide main street. Apparently they used to haul boats up from the harbour to be worked on, since the harbour sits about 200 feet below the town in a narrow inlet. In the heyday, the available space was taken up by the fish processing facilities, so it was up to the main street for boats that needed work. Now it just seems to highlight the quietness of the town.


Down at the harbour there's a little exhibit about the history of the town and the herring fishery. It included this super creepy display about the women who worked gutting and packaging the fish.


The bloody hands were a nice touch. We looked for headless women around town, but didn't see any.

I can't believe we're so close to the end. It will be strange not to be doing this everyday. I'll have to choose what to wear again since I won't be wearing the same thing every day. Maybe I'll stop hobbling around for the first few steps when I get up from sitting! It's going to be weird. I am looking forward to being back in Corvallis again, especially now that Ian is home from uni, as they say here. The biggest surprise to me is that I could keep going. I'm still enjoying it and don't feel like I need to stop, like I kind of expected to by now!



Location:Quatre Bras,,United Kingdom

18 comments:

  1. As for paying tribute to things related to your walk, Persia was just elected VP of the OSU Sheep Club. I'm pretty sure she only ran because I kept mailing her pics of sheep from your trip. So if you see any sheep when you get back to Corvallis, just remember they report to my daughter, or possibly to some sheep middle manager that reports to my daughter! ;-)

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  2. That is the largest her of deer ever! No wonder they have venison burgers on the menu! I will miss your blog! Thoroughly enjoy reading it daily and vicariously trekking with you. I'm hoping to get to Ireland in June and am looking into self-guided bicycle tour; you guys are inspirational.
    Lauren

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  3. Hi guys, We are rooting for you as you make the last push to JOG. I too will join in doing something in support for the next 2 days.... I'll eat my favorite Scottish Breakfast.... not the kind you eat though, Al. The day we left you we went to the Isle of Skye and stayed at a great place.... 3 Chimneys. Their food was really exceptional. For breakfast their porridge came with brown sugar, cream, and a shot of whiskey. It was the best oatmeal I've ever had! So to show my support for the next 2 days, I'll be putting whiskey in my oatmeal. Here's to you.
    Jan

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    1. Who can say no to such a great cause and perfect homage! I'm in with Jan AND will even attempt to double down on those wee drams of scotch with my porridge.

      Let the entire British Army be warned, Al and Dawn are now within striking distance!!

      MAK

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  4. heeheeeheee who can top adding whiskey to their oatmeal!? awesome plan.

    what's the deal with fastening heads on walls? is this a Scotland thing? that's just a tiny bit iffy! *snicker*

    al, if you keep wearing the same clothes every day after you get home, i promise not to say anything. :-D

    is there just one more day of walking?

    hugs, julie

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  5. Walked the covered bridge path in search of sheep, in your honor. They are sheared and nowhere near as cuddly looking as the ones you've encountered. But the llamas were furry and adorable... do they count? Maybe somewhere between the herd of deer and the little lambs??
    Barb

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  6. This week Asda supermarket has had a mad, crazy deal of just £2 for a whole Canadian salmon. We ordered 15 (we have a Jubilee BBQ planned for a few friends!). 9 salmon arrived, which was fine. Tonight we are eating Canadian salmon in your honour (maybe washed down with a wee dram!).

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  7. I was thinking how alienating it will seem to go from walking all day for 3 months to returning home...maybe you can start displaying your own rack of heads on the wall... now one of my favorite pictures!

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  8. I can't believe you are almost done wtfff! Also that big wide street is kind of creepy. It reminds me of the star trek episode with Landru.

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  9. Every time we peek at your journey we're treated to a small adventure. Each day is new. Some seem little and lovely. Some seem big and blustery. They all have a beginning and an end, and each seems well contained. But all together there is nothing contained about it. Wow! Not stopping really adds up.

    I do have a question. Didn't you get stopped a full day by snow, way back near the beginning? How did you recover to your original itinerary, or did you have to make 70 phone calls and change 70 reservations?

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    1. Ted, it just happened that they got snowed in one day before they were scheduled to have 2 days off in the next town. So they only had to shuffle two nights - where they already were, and where they were going next.

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  10. Wow is that headless women display ever disturbing! Yikes.

    I can't believe you've almost completed your journey! I will be so excited to have you back at sewing Dawn but will miss your blogs! It's been so much fun to read your thoughts about your experience. Have a great flight home if I don't connect before (I think you head home tomorrow ... ?) —Julie W

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    1. Yes, disturbing, exactly! But believe it or not, those wall-mounted women heads, in conjunction with the heads from the well near Invergarry castle, were the inspiration for the musical "Severed Brides for Severed Brothers!"

      Tony
      (although I really should have remained anonymous...)

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  11. It's getting late on the night before the last day and no blog post yet? They must be drunk again...

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    1. Yeah, doesn't that make it like the 80th night in a row? Or maybe they're just really busy figuring out what to wear on the final leg -- with so many outfits to choose from it's gotta be really tough to decide. But they'll probably try to ridiculously claim a lack of wifi in their very remote, far north coastal area of Scotland.
      Speaking of impossible, how was Mr. Neumann's run today? -- that's a lot of running miles day in day out! Maybe you might want to instead consider joining the Scotch Porridge club with Jan and me . . .
      MAK

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    2. Yea, I definitely bit off a big bite with this "run what they walk" idea. It was all fun and games the first 4 or 5 days, but I am used to running 30-35 miles a week with about 3 days off. Today's run was both depressing and uplifting, for reasons I can't explain. My schedule didn't have a 2+ hour block to put in the miles, so I went out in the morning for a very tough 7 miles that was little more than a shuffle. Tender knees, heavy legs, tired tired tired. Then 3 hours later, I was back out there for the next 7 miles and it was a breeze. I ran about 1:15 mins/mile faster than in the morning, and felt great at the end - my legs sort of "ran all by themselves". It's a mystery.

      I will be happy to be done tomorrow... :-)

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    3. Yes! A big but definitely admirable bite with the run what they walk concept. You too are hopefully "reaching" JOG today. Congratulations!! No surprise that you've developed tender knees and heavy legs at points along the way (so have they even if Alv forgets to blog about that:). And if you had not we might have begun wondering if by 'running' you really meant 'pedaling' or perhaps even (gasp!) 'riding.' "Well done, Larry"!
      Jan and I enjoyed another fine breakfast of Scotch Porridge this morning (I noticed this morning that Jan's ratio of porridge to scotch is moving from what was at first a wee drip towards what ends up looking more like soup!) You really must consider joining our Scotch "breakfast of champions" club!
      MAK

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  12. Wow. I can hardly believe that you are almost done, although it seems as though you have been gone a reeeeealy long time. We miss you and are looking forward to your return! And Dawn, I love the photo of you with the lovely VB bag over your shoulder. So stylish, even on a long walk :)

    Laura

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