LEJOG64: Badbea to Lybster

When I got dropped back off at Badbea everything was covered in mist and the road seemed to disappear about 50 metres in front. This meant super concentrating to ensure a car didn’t suddenly burst out of the mist and mow me down. This concentrating malarky may sound really obvious but is there’s anything guaranteed to make you switch off it’s walking along a featureless road.

The scenary (what I could see of it) stayed pretty constant during the morning. At one point the road started sloaping downhill, and it was only after I was past by three cyclists pushing their bikes uphill did I realise just how steep it was going to get. And then I realised that if what goes down must come up, and that there would be an equally excruciating uphill. Lo and behold, as I reached the bottom the mist cleared and suddenly I could see a steeply zig-zagging road ahead at Berriedale. Normally this would have phased me, however after almost twelve weeks of walking (and sans heavy pack) I though I could ace it.

And you know what? I did. It was easy, my by now overdeveloped little legs took me up it as quickly and smoothly as if I’d been walking by a canal. It made me wonder how I was going to maintain this new found strength, or whether it would all fall away after a couple of months at home.

From there on in the landscape subtly changed. Gone were the big hills and plantations to be replaced by flatter rough fenced pastures and a series of farm steads on either side of the road. Of course due to the continuing mist I could only see a field or so in either direction. Bizarrely it looked exactly like I’d imagined this part of the country to look like, like farms hanging onto the edge of the world.

In the afternoon I came across something quite affecting. It was a monument to the men in the surrounding three villages who had died in the first world war. What I was struck by was how long the list was and how sparsely populated the villages i had just past by were. You got the sense that these places must have been decimated as the result of a war dicatated by people living hundreds if not thousands of miles away. Even all the way out here, Europe’s most north westerly country, were people dying due to the shifting geo-political tectonic plates.

In the last hour or so of my journey the mist started to lift and the sunshine came out. By the time I got to Lybster it was beer garden weather, and we sat in the baking heat of the afternoon sipping ice cold drinks. Jenna had been all around and told me that certain areas were misty while others had been blessed with this sun all day. I spent the rest of the evening stretched out overlooking the cliffs at Lybster and feeling very, very relaxed. The sea streched out for miles, the sky was a deep blue spotted with white clouds, the grass underneath was fresh and spongy, and seals and birds played in the water below. I knew that soon all this would end and the ‘real world’ would return, but I didn’t dwell on the fact but instead savoured the moment for all it was worth. Ultimately peace and tranquility comes from within yourself, you have to make that choice rather than sucumb to the chaos and confusion that surrounds you. However, sitting looking at an amazing view in gorgeous weather with no work to worry you for at least two weeks doesn’t half help the process!

Sent from my iPhone

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