LEJOG49: Falkirk to Milton of Campsie

Inbetween today and LEJOG48 I had a rest day. I had been staying in Edinburgh for a couple of nights as a very well looked after guest of Jill and Adam. During my rest day I got lots of little bits and bobs sorted, and even got a couple of iron-on patches from John Lewis to repair my merino wool t-shirt. Not only was there the rip at the back from staffordshire but lots of little holes had appeared right around my navel where the belt buckle of my rucksac sat and my belly (despite almost a thousand miles of walking!!!) sticks out – a friction ‘sweet spot’. Hopefully I’ve artfully positioned and sized the patches so that they look like they could actually be intentional design elements in a nod to soviet constructivism. Hopefully. At the very least they’ll protect the t-shirt and I can continue using it in the future.

The one thing I didn’t really do was get a proper rest. The knock on effect of this was that I still felt a little tired the next day. Again it was a day of mostly canal walking, made more exciting in the morning by the appearance of the Falkirk wheel. I reached it by a tunnel, a little semi-circle of light at the end of which showed me where the canal continued on into thin air and then stopped. When I got out of the tunnel I walked down beside it and got a proper view. It really does look like something from a 50s science fiction film. The raised aquaduct which joins with the ‘wheel’ itself has a series of functionless semi-circular arches which serve only to amplify the feeling that you are being led into something fantastical. If I was in a barge crusing along into it I’d think I was about to be sent hurtling forwards in time, not lowered elegantly onto the Forth and Clyde canal. However I could only walk past it and remark on how it, like everything else in life, looks smaller when you actually see it properly.

The rest of the day was pleasant canal walking. I hadn’t had enough of it to be bored yet, I still appreciated being able to switch off completely. Eventually I turned off into Milton of Campsie, a small village north-east of Glasgow next to a lovely set of hills called the Campsies. While the view was lovely there were a few small signs that everything wasnt right in paradise. For example, the Spar had a sign informing customers that they would only sell one bottle of buckfast, MD20/20 or White lightening cider per day per customer. A village must have quite a drinking problem if their supermarket is rationing booze.

This reminds me of an incident in Melrose a couple of days previous that I forgot to recount. When in the Co-Op buying some booze somebody actually asked me how old I was. Given that my beaed was touching ‘wild man of borneo’ I was shocked and incredably flattered. Too many times recently people have seemed shocked when they see pictures of me in my mid 20s without a beard. They say “Brendan you look so fresh faced”, which is another way of saying that I look decrepid and haggered now. It cheered me up to think that this check-out girl thought that I might be younger than 25. Obviously the walk was doing me good!

The B&B was lovely and I ended up having a nice chat with the owners while eating my dinner. They asked me whether I’d like some whisky with my food and when I said yes they proceeded to pour me a massive tumblerful. Apparently they wernt whisky drinkers themselves and so calculated their measures on lines similar to wine. I had to tell them to pour some back into the decanter, which I’m not known to often do, such was my concern about the potential effect of the liquor.

I had a little living room to myself with a tv in so spent the rest of the night in there, watching tv and catching up stuff back home, and didn’t get the early night I so obviously needed. I knew I would probably have to pay for this in the morning…

Sent from my iPhone

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