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"End to End via the Margins"
-the diary of a walk.

- Watten to John o'Groats

Diary

This website;- This diary site will stay up at least until the end of the summer, and longer if I have the server space. I'm hoping to make another entry in the next few days, with some general impressions. The sabbatical report and various other things will be accessible from here when they are ready. The End photo is now up.

Thanks;- To more people than I can count. Thanks to Janet and Hannah for their help and support. Thanks to all of you for your encouragement. Thanks to Anne and Doug for looking after Hannah. Thanks to Lisa for lending us her mobile phone. Thanks to Iain and Janette and others for looking after the hamster. Thanks to Gwen and Peter and Claire and Michael for checking on the house. Thanks to all the people who put me up, some of whom didn't know me until I turned up on their doorsteps, some of whom found themselves doing this at the last minute, and who didn't get anything from me in return. Thanks to all the B&B landlords and ladies and YH wardens who put themselves out beyond the call of duty. Thanks to all those who contributed to Christian Aid. Thanks to all those who prayed for me, both when I was with them and when I wasn't. Thanks to all those who walked with me, for forty miles or two - it was a real encouragement. Thanks to the proprietors of shops in unexpected places, who, by staying open, enabled me to feed myself. Thanks to people who fed me, or did laundry, or carried my bag, and people who answered The Questions. Thanks to people who gave me water. Thanks to those who helped fund this journey and helped plan the educational content. Thanks to the many other people who helped in any way, seen, and especially unseen. Thank you all.

Odd information;- I have received this in an email...
1 The Church of Scotland minister at Dornoch jokingly claims she single handedly has revived tourism in the region - having married Madonna at nearby Skibo Castle !!!
2 The story goes that the reason the railway has such a large loop in it up to Thurso is that the Duke did not want the train on his land

So the day's walk... was fine, quite ambitious for distance, the excursion to Duncansby Head recommended by someone I met on the A9 a couple of days ago adding four miles, and another six miles over two days added by walking to/from the campsite near Watten instead of having a pickup on the direct route... 49 miles in two days. But who cares? I don't have to worry about my feet anymore.

The midges have started, but the itching soon passed after I left the campsite. (Wonderful place - mirror in gents hung up with baler twine, and pipes lagged with what appeared to be fence wool). Soon I was passing a quarry which now appeared to be landfill. The single track roads were quite busy, it being Saturday morning and lots of trailer loads of various stuff about. There are bigger farms around here, mostly livestock, although later in the day I was walking through moorland again. I saw plastic bottles of milk on doorsteps. On a previous day I'd seen one with a purse, presumably left out for payment. I guess people are more trustworthy up here. There was a calf licking lichen off a fence post.

I crossed the small hill near Brabster in a light hail, first fruits of a shower cloud. Suddenly the Pentland Firth was there, and the Orkneys, closer than I had expected. Progress again, and the larks were celebrating for me. The NCN1 reappeared (not sure where it had been for a couple of days), and on the A836 I briefly got the feeling I was running out of land.

With Janet and Hannah, and sister and brother-in-law, I went to Duncansby Head for the sake of completeness. The tide had rushing round the headland.

And so we went down to the end. There were a fair few tourists there in the sunshine (there had hardly been a soul at Land's End in the mist). So that was that. I felt like any tourist anywhere and we had an ice cream.

Pictures from today...
Upended flagstones often make a wall. Flags used to be exported from the north coast
The cliffs of Hoy, in the Orkneys, seen from near Brabster. Meaning; "I'm nearly there"
Whatever the differences in this island, our young men all died in the Great (meaning "big") War. These memorials have been there all the way
Church by the sea at Canisbay
Five door Austin Metro with phlox
Bob, Hannah and Janet at the End
Memorial at the end of the road
Prayer
Living God, we give you thanks
for what we have completed,
projects, jobs, courses of education.
We thank you for being with us,
whether we knew you or not,
we thank you for all that was done.
God we offer to you all that has not been completed,
and never will be;-
jobs cut short by unemployment,
ministries that never worked out,
courses dropped out of,
lives cut short by war or accidents.
God heal the wounds,
help us with the loose ends,
the torn, incomplete relationships.
God, life and death can be cruel:
help us by Christ
who knew the cruelty of our world.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer

© Bob Warwicker. The words here may be reproduced freely, but not for gain, or without attribution. All alterations must have the permission of the author.