And rest..

“Listen to your body” is something I have always taken seriously. When I was ill, informing doctors of all the odd things that were happening gave them a better picture of how to treat me.

On this trip, I knew a week ago that I hadn’t been recovering well enough to tackle the following days’ walk so I have finally decided to take a wee break.

I am currently in a tent on the Black Isle staring back at Inverness having walked 1161 miles and climbed nearly 2 Mt Everests! The thought of John O Groats and the next 3 months in some of the most remote places on mainland Britain is still exciting and also a bit daunting for a self-confessed Townie.

Each day brings new challenges, new people and new surroundings. I will tackle NW Scotland in much the same way as everything else I do – with a joy of being alive and a sense of nothing ventured nothing gained.

This is by far the hardest thing I have ever done. The rewards are in the pictures on Facebook and my memories of all the wonderful people I have met. This week, though, the rewards became skewed and as fatigue and loneliness set in, I doubted myself and felt like quitting on many occasions. Chimp took over and one day, I stopped by the side of the road, threw off the evil rucksack, kicked it, swore at it and sat on it burying my head in my hands.

After scoffing a banana, I soon got chimp back to sleep again and made friends again with the evil rucksack. However, this sort of event happened quite frequently this week so I knew I had to listen.

I also had dreadful weather this week which probably didn’t help my spirits. 7 miles of sand, hail, snow and rain spray leading up to Lossiemouth left me drained. (And looking a bit of a mess)

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My first nights camping felt like a reverse striptease lasting 7 hours from lights out. Each hour, I awoke colder than the last. I think I was wearing all my clothes by the end of the night.

It was nice to have not been worrying about sleep as I knew I was not walking today. So, this morning I took a short stroll to Chanonry point to Dolphin spot. They were there, jumping around in and out of the water. I stood gazing at the spectacle and for about half an hour forgot about the walk.

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Just what I needed

Hoping to start back off next week and head north to the most NW point, Duncansby Head, then John o Groats and the most northerly point Dunnet Head.

But before all that…..rest 🙂

Kieran Beardy McKiltwell xx

 

 

1000 up

On February 1st, I was apprehensive about the physical part of this challenge but not the mental side. Even with 1000 miles under my belt, I still feel the same.

I have had minor wobbles during the last 77 days walking, including a very public vlog but on the whole I have prepared well for this part. Having read many accounts of this sort of challenge I know what to expect. I also know me very well now. My chimp sleeps most days now (see earlier blog) and having trained for the London Marathon, I know the mental tricks when pain takes hold. Good luck Amelia (BHF) and Linda (Anstruther) who are running this weekend. Enjoy it. There is nothing like it.

Today was by far the most challenging day so far. A disturbed night sleep didn’t help my body recover from 20miles on sand yesterday so I set off  from Fraserburgh tired. The elevation, heavy rucksack, headwind and 15 miles sapped my energy and even several stops to tend to feet issues and sing to the sheep didn’t relieve the all over pain. I searched for distraction ideas. Some worked like trying to remember all my destinations in order but some made me loop back to the painful feet, tight calves, aching thighs and a desire to stop.

It was a farmer and his young boy in a tractor that fixed me today. He stopped the tractor and said he had seen me in the paper. We had a brief chat and his dog came and stood in front of me wagging his tail. I patted the dog and instead of attacking me (like the many dogs on this trip) he sat down gazing up at me.

The moment was brief, the story is simple but these few minutes of the 8 hour walk really spurred me on.

I got to Gardenstown and collapsed on my bed.

All day I questioned my fitness and feared the days still to come in NW Scotland but now, 4hours after the walk, I feel a lot better.

Fitness, like deterioration, comes gradually. On day one, I would not have been able to finish today. That’s how fit I am and I hope my fitness fears take a backseat after today.

Kieran

“A pain that I’m used to” – Depeche Mode

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hello?

I know it has been ages since I blogged and like most bloggers, I always feel I should blog more but I genuinely don’t have time and energy.

A common misconception when I meet people on this walk is the thought that I would have an entourage with me. It really is just me, my rucksack and my ukelele. Yes I have finally bought one.

 

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My first three chords I learnt gave me the annoying ability to play 500 miles by The Proclaimers.

I won’t try to review the last month, suffice to say there are so many kind, warm, friendly, generous human beings in this country and I am lucky to be meeting them everyday. Forget the news. Forget the media. “Switch off your television sets and go and do something less boring instead” (ask your parents if you don’t know where that quote is from)

Our image of the world from media leaves us in a negative state. I stopped reading papers 20 years ago. I stopped watching TV 5 years ago (apart from Corrie but even now that has gone negative so I don’t bother)

I am lucky on this walk to see people as they want to be not how they think they should be.

Anyway……The other day I arranged to meet two ladies and a child in Anstruther. I had a thumbnail pic on Facebook to go by. So, outside the “world famous” chip shop I approached two ladies and child and said

“Hello, is it me you are looking for?”

“No” said the lady aggressively tugging her child away from the strange sweaty bearded man.

I swung round, red faced and bearded, to see two other ladies and a child laughing at me.

Never use Lional Richie lyrics when meeting strangers.

Hope to blog more…

Kieran xx