Days to go: Zero!
Here's the picture we've been waiting to put in the blog:
Yeah, baby, that's right - we made it! It feels great. Really great! Maybe we'll post something more eloquent later, but for now, that's the best I got: it feels great!
Today's walk, taken on its own merits, was pretty unremarkable. Eighteen miles, most of it on a straight single track road through very gently undulating tiny hills, alternating between moorland, forest, and pasture. We cruised through it, as you might expect after 1200 miles, and given the significance of the day for us. We'd polished off twelve miles by noon, when we stopped for lunch, and we made it to the signpost before three.
We really wanted the signpost picture, and we knew to get it, we'd have to do business with the signpost man.
That's because the sign is not a run of the mill public sign - it's owned by a private company. The sign is surrounded by rope; part of the signpost man's job is to shoo off anyone who tries to sneak in and get a picture for free. The deal is that you pay ten pounds (eleven if you live outside the UK), then signpost man customizes the sign, takes your picture, and sends you a copy via snail mail. When signpost man goes home at night, he takes the sign with him. Fortunately for us, signpost man was there, and after we'd done the deal, he was happy to use our camera to take a few pictures as well.
We started the day with a cracking good breakfast! We ordered our usual: a full cooked breakfast for me, and poached eggs on toast for Dawn. First breakfast course was the normal yoghurt and cereal, which was good. But the second course, the cooked half, was just outstanding. I've learned now, after 82 cooked breakfasts, that they fall into three categories. At the bottom are the places that save a few bucks by buying cheap ingredients: fatty sausage, greasy tasting bacon, canned button mushrooms. I won't even describe what these sort of places consider "coffee". Sadly, many B&Bs fall into this category. The next level up makes things better by spending money: good sausages, and organic local eggs, and maybe even some reasonable coffee. But the best places, like the Loch Watten house, get to the highest level by spending less. They serve their own eggs (typically collected that morning). The sausage and bacon comes from the small farm next door. The marmalade is home made. That was our early breakfast this morning. It's probably my last full breakfast of the trip, so I'm very happy it was so good!
Breakfast, and a packed lunch, powered us through the walk and to the sign. But we had more traveling to do. Because we plan to catch the morning train to Inverness we're spending the night in Wick, at the end of the rail line, twenty miles south of John O'Groats. After our sign pictures, we checked the bus schedule. We'd missed the bus by five minutes, and the next was two hours out. So we sprung for a cab. It arrived twenty minutes after we called, and a half hour later we were checked in to the hotel.
The big downer of the day is that the eye problem Dawn had back on day 47 is back with a vengeance. This morning her eye was red and had some sensitivity to light, but nothing too bad. At least, not bad enough to stop her from walking eighteen miles to the end of the road! But during the cab ride to Wick, the sun shone in through the front window, and the pain started for real. She's sleeping now. Hopefully a night's rest will help and she'll be ok for two days of travel before seeing her doctor in Oregon.
Thanks to all of you for reading our blog these past three months, and especially for commenting! Thanks to Michael and Jan for walking alongside us for two weeks, to Larry for virtually walking alongside us, and to all of you who have put whisky in your oatmeal, or kayaked, or walked, or whatever! Your support and thoughts have meant the world to us. Really!
I'm still in shock. We made it!
Location:Cliff Rd,Wick,United Kingdom