Planned kilometres: 21 (cummulative 1660)
Kilometres walked: 21 (cummulative 1727)
% Completed: 95.2%
Pubs visited: Belgrave Arms, The Bannockburn Inn
Pints: 3 (cummulative 209)
Kms per pint: 8.3
Blisters: 0 (cummulative 4)
Brora to Helmsdale
I think that I jinxed myself with the weather. After talking with people about the weather forecast and how it was going to be sunny for the rest of the trip, the forecast sunshine had disappeared, and it was cold and overcast today.
I took this photo of a sign in my hotel room bathroom. I am not sure how many people have been putting tea bags or nappies down the toilet, but as I have seen his sign in a couple of hotels, someone must be.
After reading other people’s blogs I decided to do the John O’Groats (JOG) trail today as most people had said it was a good route.
The first part of the trail was through the Brora golf course and along the beach. There were no golfers on the course at 9:30am and only a few cows sitting on the tees and fairways. I was lucky that it was low tide when I started as there was lots of sandy beach to walk on, however after an hour or so, the sand disappeared and was replaced by pebbles.
The JOG ran alongside the A9 and train tracks and beach and in many sections the trail/beach was very narrow. I spent most of the day walking along the beach and only using the tussock grass track when beach got to rocky.
There was no one else on the beach as I walked and my foot prints where the only ones that I saw in the sand. Walking on the sand was great for my sore feet as it was very soft, but I think my leg muscles will be very sore tomorrow as it was effort to get traction.
At one stage of the trail I came across a caravan grave yard which was just before a large camping ground.
As I was taking photos of the caravans a young lady came up to me and asked me where I was walking to and when I said I was doing Lands’ End to John O’Groats (LEJOG), she said she was doing the same but with a bit of a difference. Cal is going to be the first person to do LEJOG on a Stand-Up Paddle Board (SUP) and was also on the last few days of her trip. I also got to meet Cals support crew (her parents and boyfriend)
Cal had started her trip in early May so was doing LEJOG a lot quicker than me, but we may finish on the same day. We quickly discussed routes, weather, blisters, midges, etc. Cal gave me a couple of Tunnock’s tea cakes (chocolate marshmallow biscuit) as she said she had got a box of 36 from the company. They were great as part of my lunch.
Cal is on Facebook – “Cal Major – Paddle Against Plastic” if you want to look at her journey, here is a link. https://paddleagainstplastic.com/2018-lands-end-to-john-ogroats
As I was walking down the beach in a bit of a day dream I happened to glance over at the sea and saw a seal staring back at me. Once I said hello and started have a closer look there were a few dozen seals all watching me walking down the beach.
Further along the sand disappeared completing and was replaced by rocks.
At this stage I left the beach and decided to do the remaining 3 kms to Helmsdale on the A9.
Helmsdale most famous resident is Barbara Cartland and she is celebrated (as evidenced by this portrait/display in local museum) for what she has done for the town.