Monday, March 5, 2007

Day 44 : Edinburgh to Linlithgow

Tuesday 27th February 2007

Distance Walked: 22.9 miles
Start Time: 9:34
End Time: 17:20
Elapsed Time: 7:46
Weather: Wet and windy
Distance walked so far: 843 miles

“There’s a reason why there’s so much water in the lochs over there, y’know” the landlady says, as she belays the morning sausage.
“Oh. Why’s that?”
“Because it never stops raining. Aye, reckon you’re in for a drenching.”

The price for walking all the way into Edinburgh is that I have to walk all the way out of it again, but thankfully the suburbs to the west are more scenic and hospitable than the southern passage and, though the rain is heavy, I have a luxurious supply of Jelly Babies to see me through the hard times. As the grim flats and warehouse outlets merge with the ring road and motorway junction, I slide down to the Union Canal which I’ll follow for the next day or so as it slithers towards Falkirk.

This is another path that has apparently benefited from recent investment and the walking is certainly easy but, christ, it’s dull. The project to regenerate the canal may have opened up the area to pleasure seekers, but there’s not much pleasure to be had. It’s drab, litter-strewn and brown. Not a sign of boats, cyclists or walkers. Even the sporadic wildlife looks depressed.

I tip-toe through the turds as the rain relentlessly falls. The Union Canal is famed for being at a single level for its entire length, winding around the hills and avoiding the possibility of interesting scenery or shelter from the elements. Walking along it in the rain and wind is a thoroughly miserable experience, and I’m left hoping that the decision not to go directly north from Edinburgh wasn’t a catastrophic mistake.

Even the bizarre highlights of the day, the huge slag heaps of rubble near Broxburn that stand like Ayers Rock above the grey, concrete estates, don’t elevate the walking above the mundane. At least, when the huge deluge arrives, I discover that the sexy coat is actually waterproof after all and that the moisture that had been gathering inside whilst walking the hills was purely internally generated.

But the coat doesn’t protect the feet, and the combination of leaking boots, driving rain and unforgiving towpath has resulted in bruising and an interesting blister beside the left big toe which I probe thoroughly once ensconced in the safety of the Star & Garter Hotel in the slim town on Linlithgow. With another day of pounding canal walking in store, I resign myself to the prospect of another stretch of struggle and strain.

Song of the day:

Shelagh McDonald
“Waiting for the wind to rise”

There used to be a time /
When I knew where I was /
And people would say to me “Are you crazy?” /
And I’d laugh at that /
There was no doubts, no complications /
Life was a game of situations /
For me to play, from day to day


Anonymous said...

You are a star Dave, been following your walk from the beginning, keep trudging on,the best is yet to come!
Somerset Hillwalker

Ben Joyce said...


Whatever shall I do with my lunchtimes when this great walk is over? Sigh.

Back to Scrabble and porn probably.

Mustn't grumble.

Anonymous said...

Have you considered walking all the way back? I will miss your posts. DPC

DaveG said...

Thanks for the support Mr Hillwalker. It means a lot.

Ben - Your comments are great!

Cheers DPC - I haven't thought about how i'm getting back yet, or what i'm going to do next. I'm open to suggestions though. Thanks for the encouragement