Though a straight line appears to be the shortest distance between 2 points, life has a way of confounding geography. Often it is the dalliances and the detours that define us. There are no maps to guide our most important searches; we must rely on hope, chance, intuition and a willingness to be surprised.

Friday, August 18, 2006


Another of the big treks I wanted to do was to walk the length of the Forth & Clyde and Union canals, from Glasgow to Edinburgh. I’m doing this in sections. On the very first day of the 500 mile walk, 8 weeks ago now, I covered the stretch from Linlithgow to the Falkirk Wheel. Last week I did Edinburgh to the Bypass. Having little time left and a lot of walking to do, I’ve been trying to fill in the gaps.

With feet more than a little blistered from the river walk, the craziness continued on Sunday. I drove to Falkirk station in the afternoon, dumped the car and ran 13 miles along the canal to Croy station. Hadn’t intended to run the whole way, but misjudged the distance and needed to get the 18:12 train back to Falkirk (Scotrail aren’t exactly generous with their Sunday service) to pick up the car.

On the Monday night I drove to Broxburn and dumped the car again and walked along the canal back to Edinburgh for another 9 miles.

In the flightpath. In the current climate, it’s surprising that I didn’t get lifted for loitering under the main Edinburgh airport approach. Then again, the canal has some pungent aromas in places and it’s amazing how easily you can throw sniffer dogs off the scent if you can find a suitably thick thicket close to the canal.

The only island on the Union Canal?

I had a night off and a few jars on Tuesday. I then took the train to Linlithgow on the Wednesday evening and met up with my karaoke partner, Jackie. We walked from Linlithgow to Broxburn, which was 5.5 miles as the crow flies but 9 miles with all the meandering the canal does. Picked up the car from Broxburn and drove back into town.

Dr Doolittle strikes again. He may look like broon breed but Jackie and I found this little critter to be very much alive and well and furreting about on the path. What is he? Is he a wee mole? Answers on a postcard.

In between all this, I walked for 4 miles round Bellisle Park in Ayr on Sunday morning, did 6 miles along a leisurely route to work and back on Monday, 4.5 miles on Tuesday morning and another 7 miles on Thursday along an even more unlikely route to work. I can count walking to work as long as I don’t go along a route I’ve done before. With only 10 days to go and 100 miles + to do, I’m taking some fairly circuitous routes. Praise be for flexitime.

All this meandering took me up to 377 miles.

ASIDE: Never let it be said that walking is always an easy or dull sport. (It’s certainly not chuffin easy at the moment!) After my close scrape with the bull, I was interested to see that at least I had been luckier than this poor blighter:
A HILLWALKER was in hospital last night after being bitten by an adder while walking on Goat Fell in Arran on Saturday. Robert McGuire, 44, suffered a severe allergic reaction to the bite and had to be taken to hospital by air ambulance.
The snakes have a distinctive zig-zag pattern down their backs and, unlike other UK snakes, have a broad, angular head with an upturned snout.
Must watch out for those snooty adders.

1 comment:

Sturt said...

Indeed that very same man, I believe, is up on charges for handling the adder, which apparently is a (well-known) crime on these shores.