Tuesday, 30 June 2009

We made it to Linlithgow!

We made it ti Linlithgow...21 more miles covered today. Patch & I are currently sitting in a caravan park in the spot our caravan will be in once John arrives. Fantastic. A day off tomorrow will go down well. John's cooked a chilly and is bringing a bottle (or two...) of red, plus other goodies including clean clothes. I can't wait!

I forgot to mention some people I've met...a few days ago I met Alex on the West Highland Way, he's over from America doing a LEJOG (same as Vince). Yesterday I met two ladies who I'm ashamed to say I don't know their names. We got talking and I ended up in the back garden drinking a nice cold Iron Bru! One of the ladies (I wish I knew their names!) also donated 10 ponds to Dogs Trust. Today I met Janice, Janet and Moira while walking along the Union Canal. They are a fab group who walk together. We passed some time having a pleasant chat, and Janice donated to Dogs Trust also. I'm told Janet is a well know author in Scotland (Janet Paisley) and I look forward to getting hold of one of her books when I get back.

Patch is doing well. She was tired by the end of today - I think 20+ mile days are a bit too much for her. John is bringing the maps with him so I may revise some bits of the route to save some time - maybe ditch parts of the Penine Way for instance.

So far I've collected 86 pounds along the way in donations - people have been great.

I'm hoping John arrives soon...before it rains...!

Monday, 29 June 2009

More Critters!

I survived the midges, then battled the ticks! Over the last 3 days I've removed 6 from Patch (I forgot to take the Flea & Tick Repellant spray given to me by Collarways - silly me) and probably another 6 of more before they've taken hold. Yuck. I'm glad I've been wearing long trousers.

Well I'm now off the West Highland Way - today we walked 24 miles to Kilsyth...it should have been around 22 miles but I went the wrong way at one point - Doh! The new critter to battle is the horsefly (or "cleg"). I'm walking along the Forth and Clyde Canal and the blooming things are constantly there. AAaagghh!

It was a bit too much for poor Patch today - she was really pooped, and the heat didn't help. Tomorrow we should be walking 21 / 22 miles to meet John for a day off in Linlithgow. We'll see how Patch does, but if she gets tired then we'll stop and wait for John to pick us up! Of course we would then get dropped off at the same spot to start walking again...no cheating!

I must admit I'm rather looking forward to having Tuesday off!

Friday, 26 June 2009


Oh my goodness the midges here are crazy!

I could be in the midgiest area yet - a campsite at Inverarnan. They are already starting to line the tent, even though I have 2 mozzy coils burning. I've had a shower and really don't want to spray myself with Deet again (horrible stuff!) so I'm hiding in my tent, feeling rather hot...watching the midges gather despite the mozzy coils. It's not going to be good in the morning! Thankfully I have a mozzy headnet that is a big help when taking the tent down, but it's not pleasant!

The West Highland Way has been very pleasant - but very rough underfoot, so for Patch's sake we are only doing 10 to 14 miles a day. All is still well, and althouh her feet are feeling it a little, Patch is still having fun.

The area is beautiful - it's just a shame about the blooming midges!

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

A rather late update!

I am sorry about the lack of updates...I've been having problems with the email link from my phone. If I go online & send a message from my yahoo address then it seems to get through ok, but the link from my phone seems to have stopped working. So for now I'll update by using the internet through my phone, but it takes a bit of battery life. Hopefully I'll be able to sort this when I get together with John in a weeks time as he'll bring my laptop.

Anyway.....we are now camped by a river 2 days into the West Highland Way (about23 miles south of Fort William). All's going well so far, although we have had to take it a little slowlyand had another 2 days off in Fort William due to Patch getting a stone in her foot. Her feet seem to be toughening up now, but it doesn't help that she's been charging around on the end of her lead hoping to get to some sheep!

I've met some great people along the way- in Evanton campsite I met Vinny who was comleting his LEJOG, In Fort Augustus I met Dave, who was celebrating his 70th birthday by cycling sheffield to John O'Groats, in Dingwall I met an end to end cyclist who's name escapes me, and alomg the Great Glen Way I met Rob and Richard who are great blokes - we bumpe into each other several times and walked some stretches together. They were great company, and Rob even held Patch while I did some food shopping!

The West Highland Way is a fabhulous walk - Patch is loving being in the mountains again, and is back to her old self (she got a bit stressed on the roads).

I now have 4 Engo patches in each boot and no more blisters! Patch gets her feet Butterbalmed each day, and I'm adamant that it's really helping any irritation to her pads.

I've been soaked for about 4 days, and today I've been baked...I'm not sure which I prefer...you can never please us women eh?!

Sunday, 21 June 2009


Trying to sort problems with blog updates!

Monday, 8 June 2009

8th June...

We passed through Dornch today - what a pretty place! I was going to have a short day but the campsite I stopped at (by the golf course) made life very difficult for dog owners with their silly rules, so I continued on instead.

Most of the walk was along a lovely quiet road, but then we had to hit the A9 again to cross the Dornock Firth Bridge. NOT FUN. It didn't help that 2 RAF jets played out the Dam Busters routing while we were crossing the bridge...poor Patch is a nervous wreck. We're getting closer to Inverness, where we leave the road for footpaths - and I can't wait!

My left foots blisters are improving, but they seem to have moved to my right foot. The ENGO patches that I put in my boots at the heels are doing a great job, but the blisters coming up are now in such odd places that the ENGO'S can't help.

Patch's feet have been holding up well, but today look a little tender so we'll have the day off tomorrow. It's hitting home now how much harder this is with a dog - accomodation isn't as easy (unless wild camping!), shopping for supplies / food can be difficult too, and grabbing some fish & chips or a decent meal somewhere is nigh on impossible. Also I've spent the entire walk so far watching her and worrying about her feet and how she's coping with the noise of traffic and jets. That said, I wouldn't be without her - and I think this walk is really good for her to build her confidence.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

7th June

This is Dunrobin Castle, which is a very impressive place I passed today. I had a really pleasant walk along the coast to Golspie before having to hit the A9 again. I'm so looking forward to getting off the roads!

I walked more miles than intended due to being picky about a spot to camp...but I'm now finally settled in my tent in a nice spot hidden by gorse (wild camping). I'm hoping that as the miles pass and I finally leave the roads it'll become easier to find potential pitches.

I've just looked at the Met Office website via my phone and apparently it's going to be 3 degrees tonight and ground frost. Brrrr!

Patch pooped...

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Patch crashed out on day 5!

I've been having problems using the phone to update the blog, but hopefully this one will get through!

Patch and I have both had sore feet and have been pretty fed up now and again already, but on the whole things have been really good. I've met some fantastic people.

I had a d

A quick update!

Apologies for the lack of updates lately - I'm having problems connecting with my phone - I'm using a new friends computer at the moment in the middle of a campsite! (Dee and Steve who is also JOGLE'ing - Dee is the supporting sherpa!)

Tuesday ended with me booking into a B&B in Lybster ( I think it was called Bolton House)...I haven't got the hang of the open access in Scotland yet and didn't know where to pitch my tent! Having now spoken to some locals I feel a lot more comfortable about finding a pitch. I'm used to mountain walks where there are plenty of potential pitches out of sight in the middle of no-where, rather than by the side of a busy main road!

The B&B was fab. The owner, Brenda was lovely, and the villagers I met when out and about where fabulous. In the morning Brenda took me for a quick spin in the car to see the harbour. A lovely place.

In the morning Patch and I limped a short 5 miles or so into Dornoch - we were both a bit sore! We stayed at the first campsite we came to, called Inver Camping Site. I was welcomed in - she had been expecting me apparetly...not sure quite how! The site was lovely - small, quiet and pleasant clean facilities. The best part was the shower room - well set up so I could take Patch in and have a shower! It can be impossible at many sites to do this as I have no-where secure to leave Patch!

The next day (Thursday) we continued on for 15 miles or so into Helmsdale. Patch charmed the Hostel owner into letting us stay. Helmsdale Hostel is owned by Irene. Irene really took to Patch (as did everyone else!) and provided her with a dogs bed and a pack of treats! She's fab. The hostel is very comfortable and welcoming...I had a lovely time there and met some super people. I shared a room with Lynne, who is originally british but now living in Australia and trying to now find work here so she can move back. We got on so well that I had a rest day on Friday and we out for the day together!

At the hostel also were Dan and Bob who are completing a LEJOG. They both looked in good spirits and were great company. It's good to hear that I'm not the only person to be sore in the first week!

After a second night at the hostel I walked today 10 miles or so to Brora and am currently in a very quiet campsite. It is suprisingly expensive here at 8 pounds for my little tent...particularly as the facilities are pretty basic, but the owner is very nice I must admit. I've met up again with Steve and Dee. Steve seems to be doing really well, which is great news. Dee is amazing - she's managed to turn a basic tent into a very well equiped base camp - even with this laptop and intenet!

I have a sore muscle in my foot that has improved after the day off but kicked in again 5 miles or so...I'm going to keep the mileage low for a few days to sort it out, then I can crack on again. Patch seems to be doing ok - she had a limp after resting but it soon went when she started moving. I put it down to a stiff muscle, and after yesterdays day off it seems to have gone. I'm keeping a close eye on her paws. she wore her boots for the 1st 2 days but they started to rub a little so we're without them now. She seems to be doing ok so far, but that's another reason to keep the mileage down for a little while.

I'm so looking forward to getting off the road for a while tomorrow! We will follow the coast as we head towards Dornock, and will find a nice spot to wild camp somewhere along the way.

It's been tiring, sometimes painful, and sometimes emotional...but all in all great fun and I'm so pleased to be doing this!

Monday, 1 June 2009

Post 1 continued...!

Oops - didn't mean to post the last message...I pressed the wrong button!



Blooming phone keeps sending my part written messages!

Camped next to Steve & his wife Dee, who is supporting his end to end walk by car. They were good enough to make me a cuppa on my arrival at camp...and also some fab spagetti bolognese! I've been told there will be bacon butty's on the go in the morning!

So far this "roughing it" is going well!

The Off...

We left today from John O'Groats - actually it was from the further point of Duncansby Head. We covered the 20 odd miles to Wick without bother. Patch wore her boots most of the way which did a great job of preventing some initial soreness from develping.

I'm camped next to another end to ender (Steve) and his wie