A Land's End to John O'Groats Charity Walk

 
 

Hello bloggers!

Ed and I have done it! We've made it to John o' Groats!! Hurrah!!!!!!!

The past 4 days have been pretty tough mileage wise: 28, 27, 22, 17. Am feeling shattered now but so pleased that we've succeeded despite the injuries and mental strain.

I'd like to say thank you to Norma Ann Gaughan who very kindly sponsored us back in Drymen on the second day of the west highland way. Thank you so much for your generosity!

Secondly, I would like to thank Rhona Gwillim at Inver Caravan Park in Dunbeath for discounting our stay total and for her kindness and hospitality during our stay at her B&B. Had a wonderful sleep in a lovely warm bed which is just what Ed and myself needed after getting very soggy and cold throughout the day. Thank you!

Thank you also to Paula and Jeremy, who we met on several occassions doing the Great Glen Way, for their generous donations to both our charities. Hope you enjoyed your time with your friends!

Thank you to everyone for their supportive comments and sponsorship. We have been walking for two months and 4 days for two very worthwhile causes and now all the money we have raised can go towards helping so many people.

I can't believe we've finished. I can't believe we've walked the length of Britain. That sounds mental - but we've achieved that. Nuts.

Anyway, today Ed and I are heading back to Edinburgh for a couple of days to visit Ed's cousin Lissie and to have a rest AND the steak meal we promised ourselves as a reward! Then Sunday, we catch a flight back to Cardiff and I start my PhD on the Monday morning.

Well, it's been a tough, trying two months, but we've met some super people along the way and have been amazed by so much beautiful British scenery. What an adventure! Thank you everyone, and especially to my fiance Ed, who, without, I wouldn't have been able to achieve this. Ed has been my rock. He's been patient, understanding, encouraging and just wonderful. Thank you darling.

Carlie.



 
 

Hello bloggers!

Am very much enjoying my rest day - John and Antonia have been very good to Ed and I and I've been able to devour two books, wash all my clothes, have a heavenly bath and eat plenty of chocolate. Bliss - and we're only 5 walking days away from John O' Groats.

However, I must admit I'm feeling quite nervous about the next few days now that we're coming to the end. I hope I don't get shin splints again or go over on my knee again or acquire any injury. I am actually nervous about reaching the end. Maybe angst is a better description. I just don't know how I'm going to feel. Happy? Relieved? Sad that the adventure's over? Anti-climatic? Disappointed? Proud....? We've walked a hell of a long way but I still don't feel particularly proud of myself. I am pleased with all the money we've managed to raise though, very.

I think when what we've done finally hits me, I'll feel more happy with my achievement. Five days....

Carlie.



 
Day 50 - Alness 09/11/2008
 

Hello bloggers!

Today, Ed and I are walking from Beauly to Alness in the highlands. I think Ed could have stayed at Beauly for several days and spent a lot of money there as there was a tweed shop with rolls and rolls of different tweeds all raring to be crafted into jackets etc.

We are currently about half way through the day at a town called Dingwall. The pressure is on now - only ~12 days until we are due to finish but there has been an unexpected twist in the tale. It's not compulsory for me BUT the introductory week to the PhD course begins on 22nd Sep, which is ten days earlier than we've been planning our walk for.  I would feel really awful missing this week out of principle so now Ed and I have decided to make some final changes to our walk. We have now planned to up our mileage as Ed is confident  we can get to JOG in 8 days from now. We can get to Edinburgh two days after that and catch an earlier flight home. Ed has admitted it will be pushing it, so it really will be pushing it! But I feel confident that we can make it too. Plus, I'd really like to get back to start my course, even if it is the introductory week. It would be  rubbish to begin the course feeling I've not attended everything - call me picky.

Spirits have been a bit lower the past few days as we're so close now yet so far. I'm starting to get a little homesick now too but am very excited about reaching the end! What a feeling it will be!

I shall lbe in touch as soon as we get to another library en route to let you know what we've finally decided on doing. In the meantime, wish us luck for the final push!

 
 

Hello bloggers,

Ed and I are currently sat in Fort William's library and are feeling extremely pleased with ourselves as we have just completed the west highland way. Eight days of beautiful breathtaking scenery and magnificent mountains. Wow wow wow. I highly recommend doing it as a holiday to anyone! The highlands really are a magical place to be.

We are both feeling happy and healthy - no injuries, no blisters. We are, however, both peppered in midge bites. We spent one night camping on Rannoch Moor and it was fine until the morning when we woke up to very still weather and our tent absolutely shrouded in a black mist of midges. Horrendous. To top it off as well I had a very bad stomach that morning and had to do my business on the moor asap that morning. Where we camped was quiet and out of view of passing walkers (which were bound to be few at that time in the morning) and so I whipped on my top, mosquito net, socks and boots and braved the midges. Now my bottom and nether regions are absolutely covered in bites and are rather itchy and sore. Nice. Nat, you would have absolutely hated it!

On the plus side of things we have some amazing pictures which we will put up on here eventually!

So...~2 more weeks of walking to go! How exciting! Am feeling on top of the world that we've made it so far. Looking forward to our day off tomorrow, will be good to rest the joints. Have definitely got fitter and stronger as the pack doesn't feel that heavy anymore!

Loch

 
 

Well hello there bloggers!

Ed and I are happy to announce that we're in bonnie Scotland at last!

What an amazing sense of achievement it was to cross the Scottish border (5 days ago now).

I believe I wrote down our plan up until Lockerbie. We have stuck to this plan and from Lockerbie we walked to Moffat, where we then took the next day off as we'd been walking for 6 days and walking rather long distances too! From Moffat we walked to Crawford and the next day took us as far as Strathaven (pronounced Stravern) where we were met and picked up by Ed's brother Andy and Sister-in-law Gayle.

So, yesterday we took another rest day so that we could spend some quality time with Andy Gayle and their son Ben who is 1 in October. Gayle and I slaved away in the kitchen for hours cooking for Ben whilst the lads slobbed on the sofa watching the Olympics closing ceremony. Really enjoyed myself - it has been an absolute pleasure staying at A&G's.

Today Gayle dropped us back at Strathaven where we have now walked into East Kilbride town centre where we are currently sat in the library blogging away.

Tomorrow marks the end of B&Bs and back to the packs and good old camping and army rations. We head through Glasgow to Milngavie where we shall camp and then the next day sees us begin the West Highland Way which looks very exciting indeed! Fabulous scenery (weather permitting) and no more traffic!

Really, the last part of our walk can be viewed as three stages now:

1) The West Highland Way - Milngavie to Fort William (from where we shall hopefully blog next and this should take about a week to complete)

2)The Great Glen Way - Fort William to Inverness. This will also take about a week to complete but we shan't complete the whole trail as we need to come off the trail in order to reach Invergordon where we shall be staying with a friend of Ed's brother Ian.

3) A9 from Invergordon to John O'Groats - This will take about a week too - maybe a little bit longer. The final stretch - shame it's on roads but how super it will feel to reach the end!

Thank you to everyone who has donated! It really spurs us on when we see that we have the backing of so many people.

Ed and I are high in spirits and have no injuries (touch wood!) at present and can't wait to see what the rest of Scotland has to offer us. Take a look at a map of Britain and look at Scotland closely and you'll see that it goes on for quite a long distance - way beyond Glasgow and Edinburgh!

Carlie.

 





 
 

Hello bloggers!

Yes, you read correctly - we are in Preston!

Apologies for taking a while to update you but this is the first real chance we've had to get to a computer since the rest day in Church Stretton. The rest day did my leg the world of good and I am pleased to report that with the help of my good friend Ibuprofen my shin splints are pretty much gone and I can walk well again. Phew!

We have had to alter our route slightly to catch up with the mileage but we are making good progress. From Church Stretton we walked to Wem - from Wem to Tarporley - from Tarporley to Warrington - from Warrington to Preston.

We have recently been out for two lovely meals. One with Ed's schoolfriend Steve Tong and his girlfriend Catherine in Church Stretton. The other was in Tarporley where we  met up with Ed's godfather Ian and his wife Val. I thoroughly enjoyed their company and the food was superb!

I'd like to say a huge thank you to Lynn and Allan from the Highlands B&B in Church Stretton Shropshire for their very generous donation to the Alzheimer's Society. Thank you so so much!

Yesterday we had another rest day as we'd covered 100 miles in 4 days and so were feeling rather sore and tired. We're raring to go again today and I am very excited about reaching the Lake District tomorrow.

Coming into Warrington we got absolutely drenched. We got caught right in the middle of a torrential rain storm with thunder and lightning and huge hailstones which really stung when they hit you. The roads and pavements were like rivers and our boots got completely filled with water. We couldn't have been more wet if we jumped into a swimming pool! We checked into an Express Holiday Inn that night and managed to dry all our clothes overnight thankgoodness, but that has been, easily, our worst day of weather. It can't get much worse than that!

Our plan is:

today Preston - Lancaster     tomorrow Lancaster - Kendal

17th Kendal - Penrith             18th Penrith - Carlisle

19th Carlisle - Lockerbie! Scotland!!! So in 5 days time we should be in Scotland and what a milestone achievement that will be.

We look forward to staying with Ed's brother and sister in law in Glasgow a few days after crossing the border. But I won't say too much more now or I'll just be describing the whole route to you.

Ed says he feels he is coming to the end of the walk now and I can understand what he means as we're just about to reach the halfway mark today and we do feel very north. Accents are sounding very northern indeed. We nearly have 600 miles behind us now. That feels very good!

Thank you to Nat and Parf for updating our blog on Day 23's comments - very much appreciated! Thank you to everyone who is reading our blogs and sponsoring us, it really does make all the aches and pains worthwhile!

Carlie.

 

 
 

Hello bloggers!

Excellent to see so many people are visiting the site and supporting us -it is very much appreciated.

Bit of a set back. I feel gutted. For the past few days I have had awful shin splints and my ankles swollen to about twice the size of the other. Not good, especially with the pack on. Ed and I had a big discussion this morning to see what our options were. Obviously, our main priority is to finish the walk. Those of you who know Ed and I know how stubborn amd determined we are so we are very very determined to reach John O'Groats! Our plan now is to send the majority of the camping equipment up to Glasgow with Andy and Gayle and to walk to Glasgow but booking into B&Bs each night - will be more expensive but it's financially viable so we can do it. Without the pack I on I am sure that my legs will strengthen and we can swiftly make up the mileage.

We owe a huge thank you to Ed Riley (Ed's old school mate) who very kindly put us up for three nights at his (whilst our walk led us past his family's farm) and fed and watered us. Thank you so much for your hospitality and generosity! We owe you!

We've booked into a B&B tonight and tomorrow night here in Church Stretton (which is a gorgeous little town nestled snugly in the Shropshire Hills) and we are meeting up with another of Ed's old school mates Steve Tong and his girlfriend tonight. Will be good to catch up.

Really hope my shin splints go away or at least get better soon. It's not good for morale for us to be stationary. Plus, I am excited about getting to Scotland and seeing the Scottish scenery!

Will update you all soon on the leg and progress front!

Carlie.

 
 

Our final day staying with Nat and Parf. These past few days have passed by so quickly, back to big backpacks tomorrow.

Had a fantastic day of walking today. A steep climb to begin with to the mountain ridge and then we walked along the ridge for ~10 miles before climbing back down through fields and into Hay-on-Wye town centre. We had spectacular views all day long and the weather was perfect - a few spots of rain only and cool with a cool wind. Fresh.

Am going to miss the luxury of a comfy bed tomorrow night but our adventure takes us north-east away from Wales. We've walked 53 miles in the past 3 days - I can't thank Nat and Parf enough for their help, hospitality and company!

I'm really excited about getting on the road again tomorrow - looking at the map of Britain, we really are doing well. We've come so far already!

Carlie.

 
 

Good evening bloggers!

Another wonderful day of walking along the Offa's Dyke Path, this time joined by Parf.

We had wonderful weather - a bit muddy in places, but apart from that no problems.

We stopped to have lunch in a field which was, unfortunately, home to a lot of wasps and so I couldn't really enjoy the lunch stop as I was continuously "freaking out" everytime wasps came near me!

There were stunning views again today and, eventually, when we get our photos up you can see them! We haven't been able to put the photos up yet as Ed's left his camera lead in Cardiff and so we've got no way of transferring them onto this computer. We'll try and get them on asap as we really do have some super pics and videos already!

Carlie.

 
Day 16 08/01/2008
 

Back on the road again. Chepstow to Monmouth ~18 miles. No packs!!!

Had a wonderful day. Aunty Nat joined Ed and I today and we had glorious weather and the luxury of having only a day sack on our backs. The Offa's Dyke Path is green and pretty indeed, although you don't see an awful lot of Offa's Dyke - when you do see it, it's rather small and you wonder how it was ever meant to keep the Welsh out of England.

Feeling good as we're now heading north rather than eastwards along the south west coast path. It feels like we're going places now.

Blisters, sores and knee feeling better for having the weight of the pack off for the day. Looking forward to another lovely warm sleep in a soft squidgy bed. zzzzzzzzz.

Carlie.