I'm Tom Hankinson. Here you can find out all about my progress on my walk from one end of the UK to the other.
I started out in February 2012, and finished in the late Spring of 2015.
I did it in a number of sessions, usually of a week or so.
This blog covers the overall plan and has posts for each day's actual progress.
Stuart and Elinor had eaten with us the previous evening,
but had stayed at the Royal Hotel in central Tain, as the Carnegie Lodge was
fully booked with cyclists on their way to John O’Groats. In any case, the
previous day had been their last, so only John and Susan were available to
accompany me. Susan had a blister in the ball of one foot and an inexplicable
black big toe on the other, so it was just down to John and myself.
The view down over the Firth of Cromarty
This was to be a short day, since we could start from the
point in Scotsburn (or was it Marybank?) where we’d turned off for Kildary the
day before. So it was a simple matter of getting Susan to take us back up the
road from Tain, after which we would just go back down the same route. All
rather silly, it seems in retrospect, but my objective is, after all, to walk
the whole way from Land’s End to John O’Groats.
The road from Scotsburn to Tain starts by passing a series
of detached houses in an area, according to the map, called Lamington. These
are nearly all fairly new and large, with expensive cars parked in their
driveways. Lots of horses, too. So presumably they’re largely residents’ houses
rather than holiday homes. It’s difficult to understand why this area is so
A smartly dressed local resident.
Perhaps it was the offshore oil industry that brought
wealth to the area: if so, they must be suffering now given the recent downturn
of the North Sea now that the fields are depleted and the price of oil has
collapsed. I’d thought that it was Aberdeen that got the lion’s share of the
wealth generated by the industry, but it must be more widespread. Nigg, after
all, has a lot of offshore related industry, and so too must Invergordon, and
there are half a dozen or more oil rigs moored in the Firth of Cromarty.
After this it was a stretch through woodland, where we were
offered the alternative of paths to the North. We could have taken them had we
wanted to extend the walk, but our preference was to get back early and do some
local exploring for the rest of the day.
The wooded part of the walk back to Tain
The final stretch into the outskirts of Tain were through
farmland and then a number of houses far less grand than those we’d passed in
Lamington. And then it was through the housing estate outside the A9 bypass,
and back to our hotel only a little after 11:00. There were a few spots of rain
as we approached the A9, but otherwise it was largely a bright and pleasant
morning’s walk. And the time passed even more rapidly given the excellent
company provided by John Poulter.
With the walk taking only half a day there was time to go in
to Dornoch to see the cathedral and have lunch, and then to explore the coast
as far North as Brora. Which was just as well, as it gave us an opportunity to
see the Sutherland Inn in Brora, which is right on the main road. Further
research suggested that this had declined to a dramatic extent, so we were able
to cancel our booking and get in to what seems like a much more satisfactory
We shall see!
Bright, but with a
fair amount of cloud, and occasional few shower. 12 to 15C. 7.51 km, largely
level – only 41 m of ascents and 68 m of descents. All on minor roads.