The first thing I needed to sort out after I said a reluctant goodbye to Juliet at the Baliifgate B and B was my boots.
The prestigious company GoOutdoors have generously donated a super pair of boots and I plan to pick these up when I reach Edinburgh. In the meantime. I was hoping my current pair would last until that time to save having to buy yet another pair.
But no such luck. The heels of my current pair had worn wafer thin to a point where it was becoming uncomfortable to walk in them and pain in my heels was warning me that enough is enough. I did not have much choice but to get another pair even though Edinburgh is only about a week away.
I found a shop in Alnwick selling outdoor gear and when I explained to the lady there that I was on a fundraiser for the Drug Free Kids campaign, she rang her boss and the upshot was that they let me have a £120 pair of boots for £60.
So now I am wearing the new boots and the old pair are in a bin in the Alnwick town centre. New boots have to be broken in and I don’t have the option of doing it gradually so I had to endure a bit of discomfort. It is not that they are chopping my feet up or anything that drastic, just that a degree of discomfort is inevitable when one wears new boots for about nine hours on the trot.
Anyway, it didn’t stop me reaching my target, Seahouse, after a nine-hour walk in the unaccustomed sunshine and heat. Having never really come to terms with the wind, rain and cold I guess I will now have to never really come to terms with the blazing sunshine as well. Such is life!
I had the magic moment along the way, which I recorded on video around lunchtime, when I got my first sight of the Grampian Hills in Scotland sitting dark as autumn heather on the distant skyline. I felt quite emotional as it became real that I have just walked from East Grinstead to Scotland (almost). You’d think it would already be very very real wouldn’t you? But somehow, taking each day at a time and working on the next 15 or 20 miles without thinking too much about the bigger picture, each day becomes real but disconnected from the whole. Then there are moments when the pieces come together like a jigsaw and I step back and see the whole thing and realise that, oh my God, I really did just walk all that way!
Best not think too much about how much walking there is still left to do. I am now at 935 miles (about a hundred miles longer that a walk from Land’s End to John O’Groats) and two days away from crossing the Scottish border.
The Links Hotel in Seahouses is putting me up for the night: a very smart room with ensuite and comfortable bed, full English breakfast in the morning and generosity that warms your heart. The management of the Links Hotel in Seahouses have now joined that gallant band of hoteliers and B and B owners ready and willing to support the cause of effective drug education for our children. They set a great example for others to follow.
So that is Day 61 done with at least two weeks of sunshine and heat to wade through as summer does not so much arrive as pounce.
Heading for Berwick on Tweed!
See you on the road.