This was going to be my last walk of 2006 and one that I hadnt ever presumed that I would make when I started this project at the beginning of 2005. This was to be a short walk from Auckengill to John O’ Groats. John O’ Groats is the UK’s most northerly town and therefore was a good place to finish for the year and also was a bit of a milestone as it meant I had finished walking the east coast of Scotland, a journey of 640 miles or so. As you can imagine, it was a day of reminiscences. I thought about all the miles walked through all sorts of weathers, including some really bad days with constant rain, but also blue skies and warm sunshine. The incredible beauty of Scotland seen so far, with good companions supporting me along the way. I also remembered the sore legs, and aching muscles and those parts of Scotland where the scenery wasnt quite as inspiring. I also remembered the changing seasons and the associated changing colours of the flora. The stark yellows of the broom and gorse, with the evocative smell of coconut from the flowers. The beautiful bluebell woods, and the purples of the thistles heathers, and rosebay willow herb.
When I reached John O Groats I quietly reflected on the journey and watched as others celebrated their own individual ends of their journeys. The cyclists, walkers and motorbikers who had finished their own hard journeys from Landsend. Of course, my journey was only just beginning; I had thought of the west coast and all the problems associated with its remoteness and difficult terrain. But I also looked forward to the spectacular beauty of its mountains, beaches and beautiful sunsets. But for now, it was time to head south for the winter and forget about the walk for a while, until next Spring.