5th August 2010

Nat’s big walk – Gairloch to Tongue

Viv Alexander

The latest from Nat as he heads to John O’Groats and asks – why have some road signs got bullet-size holes in them?

I am pleased to report I am in a very positive frame of mind. I am flying around the coast and just last week finished the western side of the mainland UK. My friend Tom Greenough came up to join me to mark rounding Cape Wrath, as did Gil Scott, who also joined me earlier around Oban and is the man behind this website for a national Scottish coast path.

View from Kylesku Bridge

View from Kylesku Bridge

I was very grateful for the company of both as it gets tough walking on your own!

Some conclusions on the west side of the UK? It goes in and out a lot and is very up and down.

Grabbing a lochinver larder pie

Grabbing a lochinver larder pie

Some landowners are great, and the paths are incredibly well maintained. Others seem to have gone massively out of their way to make your time as difficult and restricted as possible. The latter are obviously very bored or sad people. The coast should be for the public, not  one person’s property that they seldom use anyway.

I was  amazed at how much of the west coast is blocked off, through industry, military use or power stations. The Somerset coast path, for instance, does its best to keep you away from the coast as much as possible! Thankfully, much of it is still open and walkable, though clambering over barbed wire fences and falling down cliffs seems to be part of the bargain….

An odd thing I have noticed, which someone here may be able to help with. Often, on the remotest roads, you come across road signs with holes in them. Many, bullet-sized, holes. Are these bullets? Or perhaps massive hail stones? Or very rotund rust? Whatever the reason, I tend not to camp too near… If you know, let me know!

So over the John O’Groats this week, and then it’s the long slide down to Portsmouth. If you live on the east coast be sure to get in touch on the website, always happy to see a friendly face!

Nat Severs

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