Friday, 31 August 2012
Day 16 Scotland begins
Day 16 Scotland begins
The odd sensation that I was touching the side of the tent was confirmed as I woke and realised that I had company. They tiny tent had withstood the demands of accommodating us both and I was pleased that the investment had proved worth its weight. I am sure that Lynn is not going to cope with such lack of comfort for very long, who would? Oh yeah, me. But at least we hadn't been too cold. It would seem that Lynn had felt the cold somewhat despite the matting beneath. Camping is a very lovely and scenic option for seeing Great Britain but far from anything remotely called comfortable. I sympathised with her experience and looked forward to the chance of a dry bed off the floor this evening. I was sure she would not like to repeat the challenge a second night in a row. Later she said that we could check into a b&b rather than have to do this again. It had rained before we got up this morning and I had to pack the tent away wet, so hoped there would be a dry patch in the weather later on. Though it wasn't raining yet I could see that it would so we both suited up ready and set off to find food and a cup of tea.
We arrived back into the village and found a lovely little cafe, used by all the villagers and many people passing through. Ashley the lady running the cafe took our order and soon brought our egg sandwiches and tea, with smiles and many questions about where we were headed and the aims of the walk. She even recommended a campsite on the west coast of Scotland which I may visit later in the year. She was impressed that I had walked so far and even more so that I was passing this village as most walkers would possibly stick to the coastal path all the way. But of course I am all about seeing the real Scotland and places where I travel as naturally as possible, so inland as well as coast is part of it. We chatted with lots of interested people before we had eaten and left. Lynn was still surprised at the reception we were getting despite being two travellers.
Back on the road again we had a target of Glenrothes but no footpaths. Walking at the side of small and fast moving roads was scary as I wasn't sure Lynn could see past me, what might be coming our way. Fortunately the good old motorists were being courteous and gave us room. I mean in truth we have right of way, but it is almost impossible if not dangerous for us to walk in the long and thorney grass at the side of the roads all day. We reached the town and walked in a riverside park before hitting the center, which was in full bloom. Amazing arrays and colour everywhere. Lynn had taken to walking with my poles as an extra support and had found them invaluable. I decided that I would try and get some more from a shop in the town, as I have become accustomed to walking with them now.
There was a large shopping precinct which seemed to fill the town, and we found the very things we needed. Poles and refreshments. Lynn seemed to eb coping with her feet, and had been walking well, but I knew there was still a big chunk of the walk left if we were to reach Leven and the chance of a bed and breakfast accommodation. I tried to blur the details as to how far it actually was. Along the route we came to a chance to get off the main road at Milton of Balgonie, which we took and passed through the village. I spotted a van similar to the one my brother drives for his work and rang him to see if it was him parked here. Lynn had not met Ben, and it would have been strange to have randomly met him so far from his home.
Out side a village pub stood a group of people smoking, but they happily welcomed us in for a drink and one man Bill Brown had made a donation before I had a chance to get in through the door and the others closely followed with their kindnesses. Lynne Collins the Lisencee and Sean and Karen who all made us very welcome shared a happy hour telling us about the village, some of its history and goings on of present day life. I was happy but not surprised at the wealth of giving people would show in support of my efforts to raise money for worthy charities and walk around our wonderful countries. I feel constantly humbled by the love and thought behind such giving and participation in something bigger than us the individuals. Lynn and I waved our new friends goodbye setting off into a storm approaching on the horizon.
Before too long it was testing us to the limit, Lynn was taking it well and I kept smiling as I have habit. Not much point being down about water falling. We have wet weather gear and my spirit was strong to reach Leven only 4 miles away. Lynn announced her surprise when we shortly reached a sign to the small town, but it was still over a mile before we entered the heart of it. A few cars took some puddles really close and poor Lynn copped for it on more than one occasion. I didn't laugh you understand, merely vented some trapped air from my lungs....
The first two attempts at accommodation were a kings ransom, and even though Lynn had offered to support me with this type of help I was pleased that she didn't want to spend huge amounts at this stage. We were helped by a young man on the desk of the Caledonian Hotel, who found that a pub called the Windsor Arms had some reasonably priced rooms above. We thanked him for his kindness and walked around the corner to find that yes a room was available and at a fantastic rate. Lynn booked us in and we went up to shower and change and get ourselves dry. When I returned from the shower Lynn had fallen asleep but woke and said that she didn't fancy going out again to eat, so I went to the supermarket and brought back some supplies for a late meal and preparations for the following day. Lynn was having a drink in the bar downstairs and Mel the girl working on the bar, asked me all about the walk and why and said that she was impressed at our courage to walk and my dedication to have walked so far and for so long.
Once dinner was eaten we were looking forward to sleep, but I still had chores to do. I hung the tent in the room from the curtain rail as it was still damp, but it should be dry by morning with the central heating on full blast.
Lynn was asleep faster than you could say night night, and I closely followed. Day 16 Scotland came to a humid and warm end.