Walk Day 108 – Lybster to Whaligoe Steps

Tuesday 9th October 2018.

6.2 miles today. 1159.54 miles total.

High winds and 100% probability of rain didn’t spoil an enjoyable walk.

At one field a group of around 20 cattle were busy watching two farmers who were near the field boundary. As I arrived they switched their attention to me and lined up facing me as if for inspection. The farmer said they are a Simmental cross and curious/ friendly (he also joked that tbey are sentimental cows), and confirmed that the black cattle I’d seen were Aberdeen Angus. Sadly no photos of these very pretty animals as it was too wet for the phone.

I reached Whaligoe Steps on time, walked down to the (closed) cafe to have a look,

The John O’Groats Trail follows the fresh-air side of the barbed wire side of the clifftop path around this ravine.

took a couple of photographs, then went hunting for the bus stop.

There was no mobile or internet signal so I couldn’t ask Google. The lady I found to ask was just shrugging her shoulders as the bus came sailing past, and I didn’t see it in time to signal the driver to stop.

A three hour wait for the next bus, in rain and with temperature dropping, was my immediate future. The bus stop had no seat, a wet floor, but was out of the rain. It was also full of midges waiting for their lunch.

Given the choice between being chewed or being cold and wet I chose the latter.

I sat outside and cooked instant pasta with cheese for my lunch. It was as unpleasant as every instant pasta I’ve ever tasted, but it was hot and filled me up.

The next two hours were spent trying to keep moving so as to stay warm, and playing mental distraction games to pass the time.

One game involved moving my head slightly so that the drips from my hat landed on a lump of mud to dissolve it. It worked but wasn’t the most exciting afternoon of my life. The rain continued to fall and I got a little colder.

I still had one extra layer of warm clothes to add, including thicker gloves but was delaying the decision in the hope that the weather would change.

With one hour still to go before the bus arrived Gary, who lives close by, returned from a journey and realised that the person at the bus stop was the same one who had been there when he left some time before.

Gary offered me a lift back to Dunbeath, which I readily accepted. Thank you Gary.

Back at the B&B it only took a few minutes and a change of clothes to warm up. My wet kit is in the drying room and I’m looking forward to better weather tomorrow.

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