Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Day 2 Mid Clyth to Helmsdale

Saturday 21st August 2010

While I'd done much practise walking before my JOGLE I hadn't got round to seeing what it was like to spend a night in my tent. So it was with great relief that I woke on day 2 after a very good nights sleep. My first ever attempt at 'wild camping' had turned out to be a resounding success!

Soon after leaving Mid Clyth I came across a small village called Lybster. I left the A99 briefly, found the friendly village shop and stocked up my backpack with drinks and snacks, hoping to find a pub for a hot meal later.

There seemed to be many cyclists on the A99 today, many of them undoubtedly on JOGLEs or LEJOGs. The cyclists were very friendly, nearly every group giving me a verbal greeting. Unfortunately the same couldn't be said of a long distance walker I saw heading north, when I called out a loud 'good morning' he completely ignored me, stared ahead and continued on his way as if I didn't even exist. I wondered if he was a LEJOGer near the end of his journey and in too much pain to speak.

Today was a hard day due to an incessant strong headwind and the bleak landscape. After resting for an hour at Dunbeath I tackled the Berriedale Braes, it's a lovely spot at the bottom, but the long steep climb up the other side was easily the toughest hill I'd come across so far. I proudly managed it without stopping. My next break was taken at the car park by the Badbea abandoned clearance village. Usually I'd like to have a look around at places like Badlea, but I was tired, I realised I was low on water and I still hadn't found an inn where I could buy a hot meal. For these reasons I knew I had to push on to Helmsdale before settling for the night.

Arriving in Helmsdale was easily the highlight of the day. By coincidence the local highland games were on. The town was really buzzing, there was a carnival mood in the air and crowds of people in high spirits. After soaking up the atmosphere for a while and enjoying a fish and chip supper I retreated to a field just out of town and settled down for my second night in the tent. Today had been a tough, bit ultimately satisfying day.

GPS data; Click Here

Weather; Strong headwind all day, overcast. Max 15C

Mileage today 30.10 miles, walking time 7hr 43mins, average walking speed 3.9mph

Cumulative mileage 62.00

I camped behind this disused cottage at Mid Clyth

Looking back over The Berriedale Braes after walking up this tough climb
A pipe band marching through Helmsdale

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Exmouth, Devon, United Kingdom
Hi :) I'm a 49yo father of three from Exmouth, a lovely seaside town in Devon. In parts of Exeter I'm well known as the local milkman where I've been making traditional doorstep deliveries for 15 years.