On my day off in Edinburgh

Days 65, 66 and 67 From Dunbar to Haddington

Having spent a very pleasant night in Dunbar in the company of the cousin of a very good friend of mine, I continued towards Edinburgh Day 65 (Saturday)

The day started with heavy rain so I put on my waterproofs and trudged along a very long and very lonely road that runs for miles alongside the A1. It is a zillion times better than the A1 in that it has relatively little traffic on it – an immense relief as the relentless whoosh zoom and rumble of traffic an uncomfortably short distance from my ear was beginning to make me crack Guantanamo-style – and is blessed with a pavement the whole way.

I had to chuckle to myself at one point despite the rain and increasing pain in my feet because I found myself walking along a pavement that was suddenly 10 feet wide for no apparent reason. I mean, hardly anyone walks along it and indeed looking far back for miles along the straight road and ahead for miles I could see I was the only person on it!

First there are miles of dangerously busy roads with no pavement at all, then a very not-busy road with a pavement wide enough for Riverdance to give a performance without losing a single leggy Colleen to a passing juggernaut, should one happen along, which it didn’t. What is the point of building a pavement 10 feet wide to accommodate about three pedestrians a week?

I no answer for that one and still had no answer by the time I reached Haddington. Haddington is an apt name because by then I had had enough. The pain in my arches and heels – courtesy of walking boots that are the most unkind to my feet of any I have used so far – was becoming unbearable. It seemed to me the pain was like a red light on the dashboard warning you that something is awry with the machinery.

Poor boots merely exacerbated an underlying problem: my feet have been hammering against the hard road for over nine weeks with little respite. They are beginning to show signs of wear and tear.

Added to that is the fact that I was suddenly feeling exhausted and having trouble lifting legs that felt like lead. I figured over sixty days of hard walking might just have left me feeling a tad tired and I needed a break.

So I took two days off. I took a bus to Edinburgh and stayed with friends for days 66 and 67. My wife joined me and we spent a very pleasant weekend together in a fine city I like very much. Domi also brought with her the new boots donated by the kind people at Go Outdoors. I tried them out during my break and it quickly became obvious that these are much better and much more comfortable boots, which I shall be wearing from now on. To be absolutely sure my feet are getting maximum protection, I also bought some top notch sports insoles at Sports Direct.

On the Sunday exhaustion really caught up with me and by mid-evening I simply had to go to bed and rest. On Monday I relaxed with my wife until the time came for her to fly back to East Grinstead. By the end of the day I am missing her already but feel like I’ve had the break I needed and am ready to start walking again.

Today I managed to do two radio interviews. One was for Pete Dwan’s Urban Warrior show on Salford City Radio. The other was on BBC Radio Scotland. The Urban Warrior interview went well, the one for the BBC was disappointing because as soon as I got on air, the line faded and I couldn’t hear the DJ. The great Scottish public heard me say “Sorry, I can only just hear you.” or words to that effect – not exactly ground-breaking radio – before the line faded altogether. The BBC, bless them, did try again a few minutes later but the same thing happened. You can imagine how disappointed I was because BBC Radio Scotland has an audience of millions. I do thank the BBC for doing their best to help me out.

I am hoping we can try again on Wednesday using a landline or with me even going into the studio. It might even be better timing because by then I will have topped 1000 miles AND completed my walk to Edinburgh at the Royal Yacht Britannia’s berth.

So having had a good rest and sorted out the footwear I shall be on the road again tomorrow (Day 68 Tuesday). I will take the bus back to Haddington and resume my walk.

The walk will finish at the Royal Yacht Britannia and be my walking entry to Edinburgh. It will also see me top the 1000 mile mark. A big day indeed!

See you on the road!

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