Thursday, March 22, 2007

Day 59 : Lybster to Wick

Wednesday 14th March 2007

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Distance Walked: 14 miles
Start Time: 9:15
End Time: 14:17
Elapsed Time: 5:02
Weather: Grey drizzle
Distance walked so far: 1168.6 miles

One of the guests of the Portland Arms had clearly heard about my quest and, as I was struggling along the road and attempting to quell the morning pains, he drove up alongside, wished me well and handed me a huge block of chocolate, before driving back again. An astonishingly kind gesture, which moves even my hardest of hearts, for this is the greyest of days, devoid of life and energy like the legs beneath me. I’ve ground to a halt. The body is deserting me, within sight of the finish.

There have been days where it’s felt as if I could walk forever, but now each step is a battle. At least there are no distractions to taunt me. It’s just the black road ahead and the dark sky above. The moisture turns to drizzle and, in the swampy lands surrounding Wick, the first swarms of midges emerge to torment and terrorise. This is the nightmare of the summer walker in Scotland, but my tasty flesh is swathed in layers of fabric and I manage to limp to the final major town of the journey without incurring their wrath.

I didn’t expect much from Wick, and that’s exactly what I got. If it hasn’t yet been dubbed the “Mansfield of the North”, then maybe it should be, though perhaps that does a disservice to both Mansfield and the North. It’s a surprisingly large town, particularly after the sparseness of last few days, but the time of prosperity here seems to be long gone. There is a Wetherspoon pub in the centre though, a rarity in Scotland, and its calmingly reassuring interior helps to banish some of the lingering aches. Tomorrow it will all be over. Some aches, I suspect, will linger longer.

Song of the day:

Nick Drake
“Day Is Done”

When the day is done /
Down to earth then sinks the sun /
Along with everything that was lost and won /
When the day is done

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