Sandyhills to Carsethorn. 15 Miles

August 15, 2009

Southerness Lighthouse

Today the weather was much improved over yesterdays horrendous non stop rain. I initially thought that I could go across Sandyhills Bay and ford the river (Southwick Water). However the tide was coming in and I had been advised that tides are very quick and that the river would fill first and so after walking a mile or so I decided that it was too risky to take the chance and turned round and reluctantly headed for the main road which climbed above the bay.

The area is infamous for its fast tidal waters and quicksands so I think I made the right decision to avoid the shore on this occasion. I had been told last week in a church cafe at Dundrennan of two people who had go caught out trying to walk to Heston island and had got stuck in the mud and drowned when the tide came in – I didnt want to sufer the same fate as those two unfortunate souls.

After by-passing the river by walking to Caulkerbush, the road turned south and headed towards the Mersehead wildlife reserve, and the long stretch of beach that headed east towards Southernness.  Southerness is characterised by one of the oldest lighthouses in Scotland which unusually is square shaped rather than round.

After stopping at the hotel for a quick coffee I set off again towards Arbigland and Paul Jones Cottage. Unfortunately my gps was showing a path which turned out to lead deeper into overgrown nettles, wild roses and various other flora that ganged up to scratch and tear at my skins and clothes. I trained vainly to battle me way towards what I could see was the back of an orchard but gave up as the brambles and bushes were just too dense. I couldnt believe it – this was the first time in the whole of my walk that had been in such a ridiculous situation like this. (I’d been in plenty of ridiculous situations – but this was a new variety). I decided to backtrack as my battery on my map/phone/gps XDA device was just about done and I had visions of thrashing about in the dark if I didnt get my act together.

Eventually I came into a clearing that led into the grounds of what I presumed was Arbigland and by now my phone was flat as a pancake. Eventually I got back by following minor roads and using my uncanny and keenly developed sense of smell, although by now it was dark and 9.30 at night. Jings what an adventure.


Kirkcudbright to Auchencairn. 10 Miles

July 24, 2009
MacLellans castle in Kirkcudbright

MacLellan's castle in Kirkcudbright

Today I saw the first signpost for Gretna and I have to admit it felt strange as I had a sudden realisation that my big walk would soon be over.  Most of the time my mind is preoccupied with the logistics of my walks – getting from A to B and back again, planning where to park my campervan and wondering how to get back to the start of my walk each day. But now I realise I have only about 50 miles to go till I reach the border at Gretna and my journey will be over.

I decided that I will finish my walk on Saturday August 29th, and some of my friends and family have kindly agreed to come down on my last day to walk the last few miles with me. Im trying hard not to think about the end. Something in me is going to change I know that. It has been a big part of my life for four years now and its become a “way of life” almost. I will have to find another project to replace this one once I’m done. What I do know is that I would certainly recommend the coastal walk to anyone who wants to attempt it.

I have been working hard behind the scenes to get a National Coastal Path for Scotland established – I really think the time has come to create a long distance path to match the Appalachian trail in the USA and the Pacific Coastal trail. Our scenery is second to none and and Im sure if the Scottish Government had the will the path will be created.

Watch this space!!!