Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Chapter One. The Highland Fling. John O' Groats to Inverness

"Where's she taking us now" groaned the rucksack and the orange hat, as they were dragged reluctantly from the depths of the cupboard.
"Guess what?" I said, as we boarded the coach at Victoria, "You know how John O' Groats seems like a dream to us now? Well, it's about to become a reality, we're walking backwards!"
They may not have been impressed, but the new recruit was very excited. "I say, I say, Mr Coach Driver, are we REALLY going all the way to Inverness? Boom! Boom!"
"Calm down, you're a walking stick, not Basil Brush. We've got a long journey ahead of us, and as you've got the toughest job to do, we'd all better try and get some sleep" I said, stowing him and the others into the luggage rack.
The bus was full, but finding an aisle seat at the back of the coach a nice girl from Perth offered me her window seat and then probably regretted it.I spent the next five minutes invading her space by dropping pens, paper, and food supplies on her lap, before deciding to pop to the toilet before "lights out"
Closing the door, I expected "lights on" automatically and when this didn't happen, groping round in the dark, I pressed the red emergency button! Oh dear, this was not a good start. Sheepishly, I made my way back to my seat, glad that the lights were low.
On the subject of sheep, sleep was hard to come by. I was worried about this task I'd set myself of walking 900 miles in 60 days. Not feeling half as fit as I was last year, with an average daily mileage of 18 miles, this first leg of 120 miles, mostly on the A9/A99, was going to be a tough one. So, I tried the equivalent of counting sheep and although counting the cars on the M1 to Scotland doesn't quite evoke the same spirit of travel and adventure,as "The New Jersey Turnpike" I did eventually drift off.