“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)
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.
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