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.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Flights and Walking Late Nights

Warning - extreme close-up alert... again.

You would think I would have my flights booked already. At least, you’d think that if you didn’t know how disorganised I am… generally, as a person. I’ve been phoning travel agents in the last few days. Apparently my preferred round-the-world route is ‘unconventional’. I think they mean that I’m going up and down a lot as well as round the way. Upshot of this is that I’ll be flying over 40,000 miles.

In the interests of sustainability I’ve worked out that my own personal contribution to global warming will be to raise global temperatures by 0.00000000000000000000000000001 degrees. For those of you living in low lying areas I apologise profusely.

That said, I've been making plenty use of Shanks' Pony - a much more environmentally friendly method of transport - in the last few days. Went walking with Stuart on Tuesday night - a 7.5 mile circular route from Stuart's house in West Linton.

Stuart’s palatial country residence is visible somewhere in the background of this photo. Seriously though Stuart, you are a lucky man to have such fantastic views just a few minutes from your house. (and apologies - couldn't resist using the picture with the giant sea-slug in the top left corner).

I had a meeting in Alloa on Wednesday afternoon. Used the opportunity to go up to Dollar and walk from there up over the hills to Burnfoot and back - 9 miles. Another fantastic night, great weather and reservoirs, but no-one around.

So up to 138.5 miles.

Don’t Make Me Laugh…

One of the worst things about sore ribs is that they take weeks to heal. In that time you have to be careful not to laugh, cough or worst of all sneeze. A bad sneeze could put your recovery time back by a week…

For anyone who not already in the know, the best way to stop yourself sneezing is to press the back of your tongue hard against the roof of your mouth and rub it back and forward until the tingling feeling goes away. The more vigorously you rub the better. In fact, if friends/passers-by think you’re having a seizure you’ve probably got it just right.

Back on the road, I did a long walk in a different part of the Pentlands on Sunday night, passing two of the Great Glen Reservoirs. Fabulous weather made for great views - if you look very closely, in the middle of the picture there’s a Grey Heron.
There’s a connection with one of my favourite films in this picture…

Apologies for the extreme close-ups - I look particularly terrible in this one. Would be easier on everyone if my arms were a couple of feet longer! Won’t be a problem for the next couple of weekends though – I’m off to Rannoch Moor this weekend with Tom and then down to London where I’ll be accompanied by about half a dozen folks at different stages – can’t wait, will be a change from these long solos walks.

Another 9 miles round the Pentlands and 6.5 miles through the New Town on Monday night took the total to 122 miles.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Farewell Linlithgow

I’ve got so much to do in such a short time before I head out to Belize. It all adds up to an exhausting few months. I’m not complaining at all though, most of it is a joy to do and it’s great that I’ve got the opportunity to do this. One of the most difficult things though has been selling up my house and moving back into Edinburgh.

Linlithgow palace and friend.

On Sunday I walked for 4 miles round the town and the loch. I’ve been round this route a hundred times in the last couple of years. It was strange to walk round it for the last time.

Had a great day out at Knockhill on Saturday. Gordon’s stag-weekend was a great excuse for a fiercely competitive go-karting session, which ended in bruised ribs for me (kept spinning and presenting an unavoidable obstacle for everyone else) and a superb win for Chris, who’s laptime of 35.86 would rival Jodie Kidd and Jimmy Carr.

From L-R: Bill (aka Dad), Chris, Me, Alastair, Johnny, Gordon, Gregor, Stephen.

With 4 miles round Holyrood Park last Thursday, I’m now up to 106.5 miles.