Day Thirteen – Martin’s Challenge

A failed attempt at getting an early start (to arrive at John O’ Groats as early as possible) was perhaps not a surprise after yesterday’s exploits! In the end a 9.50 start was a decent effort, not least as we got chatting with Terry & Renee. Terry is walking from John O’ Groats to Land’s End over the next couple of months … & we thought we had a challenge on!!

Also as we were about to set off, Seth went by (who we met earlier in Shropshire and last night at Bonar Bridge) who is also hoping to finish today. It was great sunshine as we set off and the wind was a bit behind us too. The first 24 miles to a place called Tongue were a delight and to see the sea at the top end of the country was a real boost.

Initially though, getting along the north coast proved to be very tough terrain but, thanks to the wind, we still maintained a good pace. As we stopped for a bit of lunch in Bettyhill they were selling Cornish pasties so I had to have one of those for the irony!

As we left there Seth appeared again to stop for his lunch at the same shop. Then it was time to crack on as quickly as we could to get to Thurso for a final pit stop before the final 20 miles to our long term goal. We had kept a very good pace (today proved to be the highest average speed of the whole trip) into Thurso through some great terrain with excellent sea views when we stopped at a nice coffee shop for a final coffee and cake of the trip. Also we got some food for tea from the Co-op as the b&b was going to be very isolated and didn’t do an evening meal option. As we left the Co-op, a guy who had been to John O’ Groats yesterday showed us a video on his phone of them taking the famous sign down due to some local politics- “don’t worry” he said “they are putting a new sign up on Saturday”. Not much use for us that mate!!

Anyway, we headed off towards the finish line and went through 1000 miles as we entered Dunnet (not dunnet yet, we thought!!). As we approached the finish we could see the weather closing in from all sides and as we took the left turn for the last quarter mile the heavens opened and we laughed all the way to the end, not quite believing that after a trip with virtually no rain we finally copped it as we finished!

We then did all the photo taking(except next to the sign that is now gone!!) and then headed back the 5 miles to the b&b. The wind and rain for that five miles was a real message to let us know how lucky we had been all trip. It took us 50 mins to do that 5 miles along which we saw Seth one last time as he had about 3 miles to go on his own challenge

1011 miles was our final figure. As I think Seb Coe said last year “we did it and we did it good”.

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