Finally, some sun
Cessford Travel Blog› entry 12 of 19 › view all entries
I start my day depressed, a little sore, and seriously homesick. I miss Jeff. I miss sunshine (the day is dry but gray). I miss dry ground. I don't want to walk. I want to go home. I wouldn't mind breaking my leg so I'd have a really good excuse not to go on. Not a major break. Maybe a hairline?
But....I walk. My pride won't let me quit on the 2nd day. The group is very friendly and I suspect they all sense my dragging spirits. I'll.....try.
About 30 minutes into our walk (a much easier start than yesterday), the sun comes out. Praise God for sunshine! Despite the forecasts, it turns into a lovely sunny day and stays that way all day. Soon, I'm shedding fleece jacket and rain shell. I'd shed the damned waterproof pants (I have shorts on underneath) but that's just too much work.
It is, however, still crazy stupid muddy in many many places. It rained overnight and even a day of sunshine isn't enough to sop up this soup. But the terrain is much more varied today. Woodlands, meadows, ridges, pine forests. I love it and......the camera has completely given up the ghost and I don't have but two pictures. I'm even more sorry than you are because it was a lovely day.
At one point, we're walking past a field and an entire herd of cows scurries over and lines up along the fence to watch us pass. We look at them for a while, they look at us. I'm not sure but perhaps previous groups carried cow snacks?
Another time, a deer comes tearing around a bend, spots our group, gets a most human look of suprise on its face, and tears off in the other direction.
Passing a field of sheep, one poor half-grown lamb races up and down the fence line bleating piteously. We soon realize he's on our side of the fence. not the sheep side. Apparently he thought he was quite the tricky little bugger and snuck out. And (being a sheep, not one of God's most with-it creatures) can't remember how to get back in. We were no help.
As we walk along a (very fast moving river) we see a family of swans -- two parents and in between them 4 signets (baby swans). The parents are pure white. The signets are gray brown. Everyone in a line with Mom and Dad at front and back. The first signet in the line is apparently quite tired of swimming upstream (it does look like quite a lot of work, given the speed of the current) and is working mightily to climb up on Mom's back. He gets about half-way up and Mom ruffles her feathers, dumping his little feathery butt back in the river.
Undeterred, he gives it another go. This time he manages to get all the way up on her back and ride in regal splendor down the river (I'm sure much to the disgust of his brother and sister signets). Oh, how I wish I had a picture!
Our lunch was on logs under the trees on the top of a ridge, looking back across the "undulating" farmland we'd just crossed. The other slowpoke and I keep making fun of how the land "undulates".
The group is friendly and supportive, though all waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay stronger hikers than me and Mr. Slowpoke. One lady, in particular, is a little Irish woman who now lives in England. She's short and round and has a full halo of white hair, rosy cheeks, a ready smile, and glasses. She just looks like everyone's ideal of a grandmother. And you also just know she's the kind of person who will get you into a lot of trouble if you actually let her. She strikes me as someone who would cheerfully get us all arrested if left to her own devices.
She and another walker are also just mad for the flora and fauna and she's educating me about the flowers and plants of Scotland as we go. She practically squeals with delight over each new flower she finds. She goes nuts for roses.
Yeah, it's all pretty cute.
As I get to know the other walkers individually, I enjoy and appreciate them more. I'm still strugging -- today is 12 miles -- and I'm still a bit homesick but my spirits have lifted considerably and I'm grateful for the group. We form and re-form little subgroups all day, taking a chance to get to know each other.
When we round the last bend and see the church that is our destination (and the little white van that will take us back to the hotel) Mr Slow Poke and I practically jump up and down in delight (if it wouldn't hurt so much). He immediately snaps a picture (mostly of the van, I suspect).
Tonight, I have a sore hamstring and blisters across the bottom of my toes. It's the mud. The sliding around is wreacking havoc on my feet and my thigh muscles (adductors and hamstrings in particular, for those of you in the know). I'm limping a little.
But dinner is a glorious affair (the food is really good at the hotel). I sit across from another woman and we get into an extended conversation on English food, especially their obessession for sticky pudding desserts. It's quite educational.
At the post dinner coffee, I'm given a major hard time when I announce (along with Mr. Slow Poke and his wife) that I will not be walking on Tuesday. I need to rest the hamstring and tend to the blisters. The group is aghast that I would let a little thing like a pulled muscle and toes full of blisters slow me down (who are these people? Retired English cyborgs??). I inform them that their jibes only work on those who have any shame, which lets me off the hook.
I plan to sleep in on Tuesday. Oh, yeah, and maybe update my travel blog. :)