The final day, it sounds weird saying that after being on the road for a month. When an adventure ends, a new one begins & I’m sure there will be plenty more adventures of varying kinds coming my way for the remainder of the year. I sit here at home while I write this appreciating the homely comforts which aren’t available’on the road. But I also sit here, quite simply with less desire to actually do anything. The amount of options and choices available within an arms reach aren’t as fascinating as they once were… Back to the days of stirring my tea with a spoon instead of my finger, Back to the days of using a proper toilet, you know like the ones made of ceramic with a wooden seat. It’s been emotional, no actually, it IS emotional.
The last 11 days of this walk have been the hardest physically. There weren’t really any hills or mountains, but the last 11 days was pretty much walking on road, which is the hardest terrain to walk on in my opinion. Gimmie 3 mountains in a day over 20 miles of road.. As you come to the end, all sorts of thoughts & emotion are conjured up. The realization that I’ve walked such a distance still hasn’t really sunk in.
Me and Adam briefly talked about the difficulties we have encountered during this trip & although there were challenges, I can confidently say we approached the challenges with ultimate vigor, like a bull heading for a red rag. Perhaps it was the humorous daily racist splur that came out of our mouths which helps us maintain a bit of sanity. Some of which shall never ever be repeated..
But you know, 1 of the most difficult aspects of this journey wasn’t at all the walking, it wasn’t the distance, it wasn’t the physical extertion, it wasn’t the foot problems. It was actually doing it with someone else. Pretty much 24/7 we are in each others presence. Me & Adam go back a few years, we’ve been through a lot and understand each other fairly well, 1 thing is for sure. We both love food & are both as stubborn as Iron girders. A combination which may have ended badly if it wasn’t for our experiences together as friends. After a long days walking it can be easy to lose oneself & be completely irrational. The ‘london cut’ shines through at times, even to the point where the Scottish can’t help but laugh at us. The amount of times stood for 20 – 30 minutes in the supermarket or in a cafe, arguing about what we are cooking tonight or ‘no, its your turn to get the cake, i got the last one’. A scots man put it in to perspective for us at Loch Lomond ‘your walking 650 miles together and you’re argueing over a pound’ LOL. When it’s put like that……
Netherless, a great test of characther for both of us & and certainly a major learning curve. What is seen in others is often what we hold in ourselves, deeper levels of acceptance have to found in order for us both to function together as friends.
Today, the walk itself takes us further up the busy A9 before turning off to the A99. Drivers beep encouraging us with these last steps. Up & over some ‘hills’ & John O groats is seen in the distance. I don’t know why but I was expecting John O Groats to look like the cliffs of Dover. I was wrong ofcourse. it’s a tiny little village, with some craft & tourist shops. A nice pub which does a cracking meal & a load of bikers crowding round the John O Groats marker getting there picture taken. When we reach the marker, we both kinda want to do something , but we dont know what. I turn to Adam and say ‘ so what now? are we supposed to get naked and jump in the sea or something? ‘ We opted for sitting down and letting it all soak in. What a journey..