I am planning to run /walk /crawl again, this time from John O'Groats down 'South' to St Albans .......... not sure how far i will get but its one heck of a journey!

Friday, 11 June 2010



Slept well - especially as it was my last night in Scotland!  Had a mild bit of back pain (which i dont know where it's come from as i have still not had to wear my pack the last few days....?) but still managed a quick 'pitch and put' in the room before breakfast! Strolled down to the bus stop for the once a day service to Otterburn (yes really, only one service each day!) and paid the £3.50 single to take me the 25 miles to my next stop.

I had already pre-arranged my drop off and unlike yesterday, managed to meet the landlady early on in the day when she showed us to our new room and gave us a few directions for the walk.  The room isnt as nice as those we have previously been in the last couple of nights but it was clean and enough room so the dated look could be over looked for one night.

We walked through the village stopping at the Tourist information office which was a bit of a DIY / help yourself affair, so after collecting a couple of walking maps, we headed to the Post Office in search of some local knowledge to interpret the maps.  Fortunately we were directed to 'Grandad' who made a call to find out if the route we wanted to walk was out of bounds today .... sure enough it was!! The ARMY are in town and firing so the Red flags are out!! (i wondered if they need any new red flags with previous experience as a post box?!)

So instead of heading North of Otterburn we walked south and along the A68 which was almost as hairy as that horrid A9 in Scotland.  Fortunately it only lasted a mile before we turned off and found ourselves on such a desserted road, we only passed 2 cars the whole day!! The weather had really cheered up today and the sun shone to such an extent that coats were off and short sleeve T shirts even made an appearance!

Plenty of sheep later, we found ourselves rehydrating at a local pub and then began the return leg across an open field to join a road i could see vaguely marked on my map but not really sign posted for anywhere else.  After about 10 minutes of climbing, we began noticing an Army helicopter doing its own manoevres of collecting and dropping off practice loads and this livened up the 10th Mile considerably.  As we got closer up the hill towards where it was dropping /picking its loads up, we reached a large gate with a big warning sign .... it mainly just suggested not to touch any army debris in case it was live explosives so we began tip-toeing more carefully and continued along our merry way, all the while still being circled by our Chinook!

300 yards further on, we finally came across a large Red flag .....and warning bells began to ring!!! I quickly got out my map which had an emergency firearms number and called it hurriedly to tell them our exact location and request reassurance from 'Michael' (i asked his name out of habit but i guess it was not all that useful to know if i were shot dead!) that no-one was supposed to be firing on our bit of Moorland and to ask if he could just let them know that we were nearby!! He reassured us they were just practicing today and not planning on firing anything (again still not terribly reassuring as we approached 2 large cannon guns on the brow of the hill and more than 5 large vehicles with empty shells from previously fired ammo!!)  Hmmmm ......

Anyway, instead of getting too close to the all sining and dancing real live Action men troops, we asked the Snack Van driver if we were safe and he was happy to nod and just suggest we keep heading in our continued direction without delay!!!  Naturally we obliged!

We got back to Otterburn by 4pm having covered around 15 miles today.... it was freezing in our room so we first warmed up at the local pub - the Percys Arms and Immanuel watched the end of the first World Cup game which had kicked off.... I then warmed up with a drip drop piddly power shower (my arse?!) and then over heated the hairdryer in a bid to warm up the room a bit!!

We celebrated the end of another great week for me and being back in England (see our first English Castle here on the right!) with a meal at the aforementioned Pub but were a bit annoyed that they couldnt manage to make the starter into a double portion and call it a main course!! (it was only Pasta for goodness sake?!!!!) How tricky can that be?!

Anyway, the day had been eventful enough, as i have also managed to loose my multi vitamin tablets and my charging cable for my Garmin and so i will have to go shopping tomorrow to find these essentials for my onward journey......i cannot believe i have been away over 3 weeks now!!! The time has flown, the blisters have popped and the feet have hardened!! I guess i must be getting closer to home but i sure am missing my own bed and the children and cant wait to see them all!!!

1 comment:

  1. Since I'm a foreigner and not fully acquainted with your nation's traditions, it's good to learn the significance of red flags. But I'm not too comforted about soldiers "practicing" because that suggests to me that they haven't yet perfected their aim. I suppose I'll carry a white flag just in case!! :-)