About my blog

CLL is the acronym for Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia. CLL is the most common cancer of the blood. However, unlike many other leukaemias, CLL is incurable. Innovative research is desperately needed to provide treatments which are more effective than the derivatives of chemical warfare agents currently in use. Research however costs money.

In 2009 I walked from John o'Groats in the north east of Scotland to Land's End in the south west of England. Hence the acronym JOGLE. The purpose of my walk was to make more people aware of this insidious disease and to encourage them to sponsor me by donating to the research groups I was supporting. It was a most enjoyable experience and I met some wonderful people. Together we raised over 2000 pounds for the cause. Thank you everyone!

In, 2010, the blog was being continued for those who may have be interested in following my walking holiday in Wales. This was not a charity walk.

Sadly this year, 2013, Alan Frost, a senior member of the Wednesday Loafers, our cancer support group, passed away. Many medics will tell you that CLL can be cured by a bone marrow transplant. Alan had battled with the cure for many years. More research is needed, but significant progress has been made since I started this blog.

CLL is still killing my friends. The organizations listed at the side of this blog would welcome any contributions you would like to make towards their research.

Please feel free to pass on the details of this site to anyone you think may be interested. The link is www.cancerwalker.com

Friday, July 31, 2009

Day 25 Hareshawhead to Jedburg

APS (a proud Scotsman) was waiting for me by the time I got to the campsite gates at 7.30am which were still locked! I was originally planning to wild camp last night but having met APS deviated to the campsite.

I was dropped off where APS picked me up yesterday and initially walked on a farm track through Hawkesnest reaching the main road at Glendearg. I then headed south towards the B6374 which I joined for about a mile in the direction of Melrose. I followed this route for about a mile before heading south through Darnick and joined the B6359 to Bowdenmoor. This was a steepish climb. When I reached the A699 I turned left and after a kilometre I decided to follow an old drove road heading SSE. Big mistake! This was the most overgrown path I’ve walked but at least it was dry apart from the river crossing. I eventually reached a minor which I crossed and the track improved somewhat heading in a SE direction past a farm at Whinfield. I then headed SE until I met the A68 which I followed for about a kilometre before turning up to the old Roman road Deer Street. This was a very pleasant walk – also called St.Cuthbert’s Way and took me within 2 miles of the campsite. The last two miles seemed very long – I had been walking for 9 hours.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Day 24 Newtongrange to Hareshawhead

I left the campsite just before 8am and had breakfast in Lothianbridge. I then walked as far as Newtongrange which has a war memorial in a very nice park where I sat on a park bench and aired my feet. Shortly after leaving the area I was approached by a gentleman with an envelope bearing my name. He said that he knew who I was from the website and the envelope enclosed a very generous 20 pounds for the charity to be given in the name of ‘a proud Scotsman’. He is also a walker and has been to all the extremities of the British Isles.

I met up with him again at a pie cart on the A7 and he said that he would meet up with me again further on. We met about 2 miles out of Stow and then he said that he would drive into Stow and then walk back to meet me and we would then walk together into Stow, which we did. He then walked back to Stow to pick up his car and I carried on towards Melrose. I had just got the Hareshawhead wood plantations when he found me again and we drove to the camp site at Lauder. The first bit of the route from Gore Bridge was near the A7 but the latter half was on a quiet rural road parallel to the A7. Pastoral - quite a few encouraging baas from sheep.

Tomorrow he is picking me up from the camp site and dropping me off at the Hareshawhead plantations so I can start walking again.

On commenting on all that he was doing for me he said that this was his way of thanking all the people who had helped him on his walks. As I am a ‘people’ person
This has been a great day.

Day 23 Edinburgh to Newtongrange

Last night coming back on the bus from my day in Edinburgh I saw, I thought I saw a building in the Firth of Forth that wasn’t there in the morning. It was one of those enormous cruise ships, moored near the Forth Rail Bridge! I also did my washing. Put 3 pounds in the machine – nothing happened, tried again with another 3 pounds – nothing happened Had to bite the bullet and disturb the staff. This is a common fault. You have to slam the lid to get it going!

It rained during the night but was in the morning. I left about 8.15 in bright sunshine so I had no excuse when I managed to set off in the wrong direction! I realised my mistake after one kilometre. It didn’t matter however, as I finished up on cycle route 1km into Edinburgh which took me southwest on a very quiet disused railway track. I turned off towards Haymarket Railway station then crossed another park area where I sat on a park bench to air my feet. It was a good route if you want to bypass Edinburgh but doesn’t give you an idea of the character of the city.

As I went south the area gradually became more rural. I took what I thought was a short cut on another old railway track approaching the campsite at Lothianbridge, across farmland. It was a bit boggy and meandered somewhat. I think it would have better to have taken the main road via Tescos.

Lothianbridge campsite is situated under the old viaduct. I camped under one of the arches in case it rained (it didn’t) and in the morning noticed a sign saying ‘Danger. Falling Masonary’.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Tue 28 July, Rest Day

Hi All,

Strictly this is not a JOGLE day. I am having the day off in Edinburgh and catching up with the blog and shopping etc.

First may I thank all those of you who have made donations. It does provide me with a great boost to my morale. The first 5 miles aren't ususally too bad on any one day. It's the last 5 miles that take it out of you, whether it's 15 or 20 miles in total. Knowing my walking is helping raise money for research into a cure for CLL does help to keep me going.

Thanks Chris (Jones) for the photo of my midge bitten legs. The bites look as angry as they felt on your photo. My photo was a bit washed out.

Today I've posted back to my sister 650 grams of 'things not needed on voyage', but sadly I think may be buying more new stuff than I posted back! Shampoo, AA batteries etc. The long distance walking fraternity will be familiar with the 'post it back' procedure.

I head south tomorrow, walking through central Edinburgh which should be interesting. Whilst I don't like traffic noise, I find urban areas are not uninteresting places to walk. The noise walking across the Forth road bridge was horrendous. Whilst it would be nice to wear ear plugs, odd bits of slow traffic can creep up on you from behind even in the walking lane. You need your hearing. The walking lane also used by maintenance vehicles and lots of bicycles.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Day 21, Mon 27 July, Calais Muir Wood to Edinburgh

Left the campsite at Duloch Hamlet after a cooked breakfast (provided by the site owners) by 8.30am. Although there were midges about, I didn’t get bitten!

The route, apart from the first 100 metres was either on a cycle way or pavement.

There was a strong head wind as I crossed the Forth Road Bridge and I had a good view of the Forth Rail Bridge. I don’t particularly like heights so was pleased when I was across! I made my way inland towards Edinburg and had lunch at a pub on the banks of the Almond River. I followed the river to the Firth of Forth, very pleasant, then along Marine Parade to the campsite. The tide was low and several people were walking on the causeway to Cramond Island. When I went out for my evening meal the tide had come in again. It had been overcast all day but there was a beautiful sunset that night.

I picked up my new set of maps to get me as far as Wolverhampton (my sister sent then to me at the campsite).

Tomorrow I’m having the day in Edinburg, to catch up on my shopping, recharge phones etc. and hopefully find an internet cafĂ©.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Day 20, Sun 27 July, Kinross to Calais Muir Wood

It was pouring with rain again when I woke, so I stayed in my tent hoping it would ease but at 8.30 am decided to pack up. I put the tent in the bottom section of my pack which was a lot heavier being so wet. About a kilometre past Kinross the rain eased, but it started again at Keltybridge and eased again by the time I got to Kingseat. At least I didn’t need sun tan lotion or midge repellent!

South of Kingseat the navigation got a bit tricky. A lot of new housing in areas where my maps showed tracks. (quite expensive houses - 434,000 pounds!).

One place near Halbeath I stopped to take photographs of some murals on the old leisure centre (a new one has just been built). I was looking at the map and a chap stopped to ask if he could help. Just the day before he said that he had donated to leukaemia research! South from here the road got more like a farm track and I came across an area which looked as if it was part of a scrap yard, cars, bits of washing machines etc. A large black dog leapt out at me barking ferociously. It lunged at me several times but was tied round its waist by a rope. I was about a metre away form its jaws. Then I heard a couple of people shouting at me and they said that I couldn’t go on as the route was blocked off. After I showed them my map which indicated a navigable path they admitted that I could go on, but would have to climb a fence. (There is now an alternative route via the new leisure centre which I think would be the better option). The track petered out at the fence, which was easy enough to climb over with the pack off.

I didn’t change my rote to look for a B&B so pitched my tent at Duloch Hamlet. The camp site here is more of a wild camp, a cold water tap, no showers, a composting toilet which seemed to be very effective, it didn’t smell. The owners provide wood for you to build a camp fire. (This as the type of camping I did with my brother Gordon all those years ago, except we had to look for our own wood!).

I had a good evening meal at the Queen Hotel in Inverkeithing (steak and salad followed with a pavlova with grapes, strawberries, blueberries, plums, mangoes).

My tent has dried off.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Day 19, Sat 29 July, Perth to Kinross

Left the camp site about 7.30am and got MacDonalds by 8am. Had a cooked breakfast followed by pancakes!

The walk was mainly on the road and the weather warm and sunny. There was a private track across a farm (Mains Condi), where I had my only conversation of the ‘walking’ part of the day. (I filled up with water and was allowed to use the track.). The route goes down into Pathstruie and then up into a forest -- Hard work.

I got the campsite at about 4.15 pm and collapsed into the chair in the office!

I had about a 20 minute walk to find somewhere for my evening meal and arrived at ‘The Green’ at about 8pm. ‘Oh, you’re a bit late’ was the response but seeing that there was only one they fitted me in! Late? At 8 pm on a Saturday night? However, I did have a very nice meal (chicken wrapped in parma ham with a mustard sauce followed by a cheese board).

I went looking for somewhere for breakfast for the next morning and somehow got the wrong route back to the campsite which put a further 20 mins on to my day. Feel quite exhausted so may change my route tomorrow to avoid my having to wild camp and find a B&B.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Photo Update 2

Old hut I stayed at when crossing the Minigaig

Fountain in Dunkeld Square

Entering perth from the south

Campsite in Perth

Day 18, Fri 24 July, Inver Dunkeld to Perth

For those of you who have done this type of walking will know that there are good days and bad days. This day started out as a bad day! On packing up my tent I was attacked by midges. The rain started by the time I had walked the extra mile back to Dunkeld. So I took off my pack to put on wet weather gear, and doing the pack up again the main buckle snapped. I walked for about 2 miles, passed the railway station when I realised I no longer had my Akubra bush hat. I don’t know where I lost it. The rain started to increase. I followed the cycle route 77 to the Pass of Birnam. I then took a short cut along what was the old A9 – it is now a deeply rutted 4 wheel drive track. The ruts were a foot deep filled with water. The middle bit was grass 18 inches high hiding pot holes. A mile of it was particularly difficult. However things did start to improve and I was able to get a sandwich and coffee to go at the only shop in Bankfoot. I then headed south in gradually increasing rain which eventually became torrential and it hailed! The road flooded and passing cars threw up copious amounts spray. One couple stopped their car and offered me a lift, but I felt I had to carry on walking. (Actually the rain is not as bad as walking through midges). I eventually came to Pitcairngreen, a small village with a pub offering lunch, but I decided to walk on to Almondbank a slightly larger place, only to find no pub, no tea room! (It did have a shop).

I arrived at New House Farm, a new camp site situated to the west side of Perth next to the Noah’s Ark Golf Driving Range (where you check in for the camp site) by 2.30pm. It is a new camp site, only been open for 8 weeks with great ‘oldie’ friendly showers.

After pitching my tent I went to scout out my route for the following day. I decided to veer from my original route (as I found todays hard going) so I am now going to head for the services on the M90 at Boxden where there is a MacDonalds for Breakfast. (I had my evening meal there too). While I was walking around the Boxden services I met Sandy walking his deer hound. Sandy is a member of the Perth Hill Walking Club and he gave me some useful information for my route to-morrow.

When I got back to the camp site I met the owner who was doing his rounds. We had a pleasant chat and he asked me how I found out about the site, being so new. Well it when I was back in NZ using the net. I gave him my blog web site and a little later he returned with a very generous 20 pound donation for the charities.

In spite of finding the day quite tough I didn’t feel depressed – exercise must be good for the brain!

Day 17, Thu 23 July, Pitlochry to Inver Dunkeld

I haven’t been looking at my e-mails, blog and comments etc. I’m ringing home and telling them of my days’ activities and they update the blog. When I get to Edinburgh I will try and catch up with my e-mails etc.

Bit hard starting off the next day. Had such a great time in the pub last night it felt quite lonely on my own!

I climbed above the A9 on a quiet road to start with – a beautiful pastoral scene, very green, rain clouds scudding across the sky. I was reminded of Beethoven’s 6th Symphony. After about 7 kilometres I came to a junction. Had to decide whether to head towards Ballinouig or carry on the high road above the A9. I met a chap walking his dog and he told me that there was an A9 service station in Ballinouig so headed there for brunch and then walked along cycle route 83 to Dunkeld. Made good time (it was harder going on the high road). I went to the Inver camp site which is about 1 mile to the east of Dunkeld … which means that I will 1 mile further to go to-morrow!

I had my evening meal at the Royal Dunkeld Hotel where I met Alan and Elsa. Alan was in his eighties, a survivor of bowel cancer and Elsa suffers quite badly from glaucoma and the side effects. They had such a positive outlook on life. Alan’s arm was strapped due to RSI from spending too much time on the internet. The doctor didn’t think it was too bad until Alan mentioned that it was interfering with his golf! I passed a very enjoyable with them. They have relatives in Auckland, New Zealand.

I know that I have been going on about midges, but I now have a replacement obsession to go on about – cleggs. The nuclear armed version of the midge, who not only take blood, but flesh as well!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Day 16, Wed 22 July, Allt Sheicheachan to Pitlochry

Day 16
Allt Sheicheachan to Pitlochry
Date: Wed 22 July
Distance: 25.2 km (15.7 Miles)
Distance covered: 394.3 Km (245.0 Miles)
Distance to go: 1234.0 Km (766.8 Miles)

Day 16 Report
Left the bothy at 8.30, met another mountain biker called Dave. Just before Blair Castle I was told of a short cut to Blair, by Edward and Edward.

Blair Castle was impressive. A pity that I felt I needed to get along the way, rather than stop for a bit of sight seeing. It started to rain as I left, but I was on a sheltered avenue – with magnificent trees leading from the castle. I met someone walking his dogs. He pointed me in the right direction (I was a little disorientated by visiting the castle), passed an old corn mill, where I had lunch, crossed the river on a foot bridge and set off to Killiecrankie. It was raining heavily there so I popped into the Killiecrankie Hotel for afternoon tea. The receptionist was on the net, so I mentioned my blog and when the waiter brought me my tea it was ‘on the house’. Many thanks Henrietta (proprietress). I will put the money towards the charity. Very nice cream tea!

Between Killiecrankie and Pitlochry I lost my map. Luckily I met a young father with his daughter on his back, his young son by his side (T and CO – hope your Dad has time to talk to you now C!). He guided me to Pitlochry, where I pitched my tent in a very nice campsite and had my first shower in three days and did all my washing.

I found a pub for my the evening meal and met 3 fellows from Duham, who had just returned from JoG using small motor cycles, retracing a trip one of them had done more than 40 years (I think) ago.

They gave 15 pounds for the charities. Many thanks.

Day 15 Tarf Hotel to Allt Sheicheachan

Felt a little nervous when I set off, a moor in the middle of nowhere! I did know where I was but needed to find the right track. Loosing the track takes about 4 times the effort than walking on the actual track. Anyway, I walked along a river, headed towards a forest then came to a river junction, after which the track improved. Only afterwards I realised that my track had been joined by one from Kingussie. I came across Dave, who was camping which gave me confidence in case I lost my way, but the path was well defined by then. I went up the mini gaig and was heading down the other side when Dave caught me up. He was going on to Blair Atholl.

At Brnar Lodge I met another Dave walking to Kingcraig. Just before reaching the bothy I met a couple of mountain bikers (Stephen and Duncan - having to push their bikes along the boggy path!

I spent the night in the bothy at Allt Sheicheachan. It was clean and dry.

Day 14 19/07/09 Moor of Alvie to Tarf Hotel

Really good showers at the Dalraddy Holiday park for ‘oldies” – each shower had a little cubicle where you could sit abd dry feet!

Started the walk along the road which was quite busy and picked up a forestry track after 2.5 k approx. When I reached the railway I found another track leading back to the camp site (Bandeloch trail) – it goes to Kincraig. At the PO in Kincraig I bought a bottle of Barr’s Irn Brn (fizzy drink). I then walked to the aquatic centre at Loch Insh, had a snack and then headed towards Insh. Just before Insh I turned south on to a forestry track, marred by a plague of house flies. The track seemed to peter out, but I eventually found an indistinct path – wasn’t sure if I was on ‘the track’ or a deer or sheep track. It was heavy going, boggy/heather terrain – I had to concentrate where my feet were placed.

Eventually I arrived where I thought the bothy at the Tarf Hotel should be, spent an hour looking for it, no luck. (I had downloaded the co-ordinates from the web, so will check when I get back). There was a hut marked on the map about a mile away, some what decrepit, but the roof was intact. It was beside a river and there were a lot of midges! I set my tent up in the shed, in case it rained!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Day 13 19th July 2009 Tomatin to Moor of Alvie

At the B&B in Tomatin had the best English breakfast so far. It set me for the whole day (I needed it)!

The walk was harder than I expected - it was uphill all the way to Slochd, the highest point on the A9, I think. I took a photo and also one of the railway's highest point, also in this area.

30+ cyclists passed me, the track being National route 7 for bicycles.

I deviated at one point and took a short cut on to a mountain biking track - at least 4 mountain bikers passed me including Alan who stopped for a chat. Alan, normally a hill walker, had a day off mountain biking.

Having taking the detour, I climbed approx 600 metres and walked along the ridge hoping to see the path to the east - I didn't find what I was looking for, but could see Aviemore in the distance. I didn't want to head directly there as I thought it would add a few more hours to the days walk. I put a couple oy way points into my GPS and headed off country. This was reasonable streneous alternating between bog and heather. I did finally come across where the path and track crossed but decided to carry on cross country. I crossed a river , climbed another hill and when I got to the top of the saddle I saw Moor of Alvie. Just two more hours!

Really good campsite - Darradale - when they heard that I was trying to raise funds for a charity, gave me back my camp site fee (to go to the charities). I had about a 30 min walk to the nearest pub for my evening meal. Made sure I filled up as my next two nights are planned to be in bovies!

It was great to have navigated across country using the GPS (gave me a bit of a high!) - but I was a little anxious that I may have made the wrong decision. All that ends well etc. !!!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Day 12, Saturday 18th July Inverness to Tomatin

Rained all night. My legs were itching so much that I couldn't get to sleep so tried just using the liner and wrapping my shoulders in the sleeping bag. Woke at 4am, cold! However got back into the bag and slept until nearly 8am. It was still raining, but not so hard.

It took about an hour to get to the roundabout where I picked up General Wades Military Road - more like General Wades Military stream - the track is very overgrown with grasses up to my knees and shrubbery up to my shoulders. It took about 2 hours to get where the track crosses the B9154. The going was much easier then, being through a forest. The track runs parallel to the A9. Somewhere along the line I took a wrong turn and found myself on the A9. I back tracked for about 15 mins and found the correct path again only to halted by a raging torrent! Usually this is a stream, but no way I could tackle the torrent! So I back tracked again to the A9.

I reached the B&B at Tomatin, where I was able to dry out everything and had an excellent evening meal.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Day 11 Inverness Campsite

Managed to get into my tent for the night before the rain started. Still raining when I woke, so I spent another two hours in 'bed'. Warm and humid - midge bites still itching. At 9am it was dry enough to walk into Inverness. At one time I thought that I was looking at the river in the distance, but it turned out to be flooding on the road!

I tried to get my pack repaired by a cobbler but he couldn't get the stitching in near enough to support the rods. Had two goes and said that as he couldn't guarantee what he had done there would be no charge. Found another cobbler, who put in a bit more stitching in the pack harness and he charged me 4 pounds. I have not too much confidence the stitching will hold, so I will not be able to tension the straps to fit the pack snugly to my back. However it should be better than having a 3 inch steel spike sitting near my buttock.

I am now going to try and buy some small quantities of soap, shampoo and foot powder to last until Pitlochry. I leave for Tomatin tomorrow, where I hope to get into the one and only B&B. I intend travelling along General Wade's military road.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Day 10 Thursday 16th July, Dingwall to Inverness

Left the campsite in bright sunshine after the previous nights storm and had breakfast at Tescos which included black pudding!

I am following the main cycle route on Jogle, some parts of whichare on paths, some on the side of the road. Quite a few cyclists passed me heading North, but none stopped to chat. However when I was crossing the Kessick Bridge, met a cyclist coming the other way, not heading for John of Groats, but heading home after a 6 week cycling tour of Germany and Poland! Whats more somewhat to his suprise I recognised that he had a Rohloff speed hub!

I stopped every hour or so to powder my feet. Blisters still sore.

I am now in a camp site in Inverness. Went to look for a pub for a meal, couldn't find one but came across a Whitherspoons.

Day 9, Wed 15 July, Gravel Pit to Dingwall

Day 9 Gravel Pit to Dingwall
Date: Wed 15 July
Distance: 25.4 km (15.8 Miles)
Distance covered: 241.8 Km (150.2 Miles)
Distance to go: 1386.5 Km (861.5 Miles)

Day 9 Report
I set off to Dingwall. Had a snack at a bakery in Alness and then headed off to Evanton on a walking/cycling track. I was passed by 3 cyclists heading south and two heading north. They photographed my legs which are creating quite a bit of interest. The midge bites are impressive angry looking purplish weals!

I climbed up to a view point overlooking Cromarty Firth where I met Jill, whose sister had died of leukaemia. I was also passed by another cyclist Steve, who stopped to have a chat.

In Evanton I stopped at a cafe wondering if I dared take off my boots. I need not have worried. Henk and Di, from Brisbane were there with boots off! They have spent the last 3 months making their way up from Lands End.

It rained on and off all day, but at Dingwall I was able to pitch my tent in sunlight and the tent dried. However while doing my washing, we had a terrific downpour, thunder and lightning too. Parts of the camp site are flooded; by sheer chance my tent is in a dry spot. While waiting for my clothes to dry I chatted to someone from York. One branch of his wife's family had emigrated from the highlands to New Zealand several generations ago so they have travelled all over NZ visiting relations.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Day 8, Tue 14 July, Invershin Castle to Gravel Pit

Day 8. Invershin Castle to Gravel Pit
Date: Tue 14th July
Distance: 26.4 Km (16.4 Miles)
Total distance covered: 216.4 Km (134.5 Miles)
Distance to go: 1411.9 Km (877.3 Miles)

Day 8 Report
Left Invershin and am heading in the direction of Dingwall, but will wild camp somewhere on the way. You would not believe the flies - as bad as Australia, including clegs (horse flies). I have my trousers tucked into my socks, plus over trousers. I also have an articial head band of midge bites, just below the brow of my hat. Still itching!
I passed the Falls of Shin (waterfall), just south of Achinduich. There is an alternative hill route, but I am sticking to the flat.

I wild camped at a gravel pit - felt more comfortable that a caravan was there too (Danny and his wife). A beautiful spot by a river, marred by rather a lot of litter. Have got a blister on my left foot, just under my toes. I should have stopped to dry my feet off on the way. You only have one chance to get into the tent once pitched to avoid the midges, so I didn't get out again to cook. Mind you, no food means no reflux, so am sleeping quite well!

A photo of Bonar bridge

Day 7, Mon 13 July, Crask Inn to Invershin Castle

Day 7. Crask Inn to Invershin Castle
Date: Mon 13th July
Distance: 32.0 Km (19.9 Miles)
Total distance covered: 190.0 Km (118.1 Miles)
Distance to go: 1438.3 Km (893.7 Miles)

Day 7 Report
It was warm and sunny when I left the Crask Inn, heading to Invershin Castle, a somewhat long road walk. I couldn't get into the YHA, owing to a bus load of school children, but was able to have a shower for 2 pounds. I wild camped again; unfortunately it started to rain while I pitched the tent. It is murder cooking with all the midges.

A photo of Crask Inn

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Donation site issues


Some of you may have noticed that your donation has disappeared from the Charity Giving website after you made a donation. I have been in contact with Charity Giving and below are the details of what has occurred.

"There has been a temporary problem with the site which is now fixed.
Yesterday morning we discovered that a few payments have been unsuccessful
due to a human error (when uploading and testing a site improvement, one of
our website managers put the giving system onto 'test' instead of 'live' and
forgot to put it back again), which resulted in no payment being taken from
a few cards, and some donations not being made.

so we are writing to each of these to ask the donor to make the donation
again, which hopefully they will agree to do.

We send the donor a link to make the process as simple as possible. As soon as the payment is actually made, it will show on the donation page again."

If you have any queries before re-making payments,or any problems while making the payment, please don't hesitate to get in contact with me at cllwalk (at) gmail.com and I will pass on the details to Charity Giving.

Blog Organiser

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Midge bites!

Pass on way to crask

Tent set up behind a bothy

View across badanloch

Day 6, Sun 12 July, Allt Fearna to Crask Inn

Day 6. Allt Fearna to Crask Inn
Date: Sun 12th July
Distance: 26.9 Km (16.7 Miles)
Total distance covered: 158.0 Km (98.2 Miles)
Distance to go: 1470.3 Km (913.6 Miles)

Today. Richard is being sponsored by Natalie and Sandy from the United States of America. The photo is of Natalie and Sandy, Sandy loves to go for walks. Natalie and Sandy wish Richard all the best for his walk.

Day 6 Report
Today I walked to Allt Fearna, where I had originally decided to camp. The site was good - one of those old round huts, with the roof long gone. However I decided to go for another 2 kilometres where I came upon a small bovy with short grass behind it, where I pitched my tent to allow it to dry and to reduce the weight. I cooked in the bovy, but slept in the tent. It was dry but very windy. I had to get up at 1 a.m. to put out a couple of extra guys.

Left the site 7.45am and picked up water at the Lodge at the east end of Loch Choire and set off round the loch. It was very windy, just like Wellington (NZ). The good part about the wind is that it grounded the midge airways, so no further takeoffs and landings on my lower limbs!

I thought the hardest part of the walk would be the climb to the saddle separating the loch from the Crask Inn. It started to rain again, but the wind eased. I lost the path at the top of the pass and had to climb up to see the path below. It was a hard walk to the Crask Inn over very boggy country, the path being indistinct at times. For those that have walked the Penine Way, it was a cross between the Cheviots and the Brown Rigg Head areas without the benefit of flagstones.

I was pleased to reach the Crask Inn. It is a beautiful spot with a very pleasant couple running the inn. No power, no TV, apart from a generator.

My legs are giving me gyp - each little bite is inflamed and itch like mad. I will not be wearing shorts again while camping in Scotland.

Day 5, Sat 11 July, Forsinard to Allt Fearna

Day 5. Forsinard to Allt Fearna
Date: Sat 11th July
Distance: 24.7 Km (15.3 Miles)
Total distance covered: 131.1 Km (81.5 Miles)
Distance to go: 1497.2 Km (930.3 Miles)

Day 5 Report
Shortly after waking I was disturbed by 1000’s of females wanting to bite my legs - Midge season. My legs look like pink polka dot pyjamas. Took some antihistamine and set off for Kinbrace Railway Station, where I took a short break and ate some chocolate. I chatted to a gentleman working on a house, Jim Cambell. He is second person that I’ve met on the walk that has commented that leukaemia is very common in the north of Scotland.

On my way to another wild camp, but will put on trousers to combat the midges. I had bought Horlicks for my evening drink, not realising it was the low calorie variety!

I will be staying at the Crask Inn tomorrow. The landlady asked me I minded not having an ensuite!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Day 4, Fri 10 July, Melvich to Forsinard

Day 4. Melvich to Forsinard
Date: Fri 10th July
Distance: 24 Km (14.9 Miles)
Total distance covered: 106.4 Km (66.1 Miles)
Distance to go: 1521.9 Km (945.7 Miles)

Day 4 Report
Left Melvich around 8am and am walking alongside the Halladale River. I thought that I was going to have to get my feet wet, crossing the Halladale river, but just south of Upper Big House I found a foot bridge. I only saw three people until I got to Forsinard. Route was mainly on tarmac, but the road had a good grass verge, making it easier on the feet. There was very little traffic, better than walking on the A9. I camped wild about 2 miles south of Forsinard, just off the road, down a bank. It was only after I had pitched my tent that I found I was directly under a power line!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Day 3, Thu 9 July, Thurso to Melvich

Day 3. Thurso to Melvich
Date: Thu 9th July
Distance: 28 Km (17.4 Miles)
Total distance covered: 82.4 Km (51.2 Miles)
Distance to go: 1545.9 Km (960.6 Miles)

Day 3 Report
Had a very wet and windy night at the campsite on the cliffs of Thurso
where I met the most highly qualified toilet cleaner in GB! Had to get
up at midnight to put out a couple of extrra guy lines - thought that
the tent might be blown away.

Left early heading to Melvich - this is my longest 'planned' day and am
using 4LD (4 limb drive), having started to use my walking poles.
Makes it easier on the feet. Before I headed off, I had a really good breakfast at the bakery in Thurso. I met another walker on his way to JoG, Patrick Hobbs (using poles too). He had met Sophie and her dog on the Penine Way. Masses of bikes passed me, heading to JoG, including two recumbant cyclists from USA.

It is a bit of a climb from Thurso to Melvich, but a great track. The camp site was good value at 5 pounds and the local pub does a good lasagne. Decided to wash my own clothes in the sink, (the price of the automatics being a little steep) ... but had to dry off the clothes in my sleeping bag overnight (partially dried on the line).

Day 2, Wed 8 July, Dunnet Bay to Thurso

Day 2. Dunnet Bay to Thurso
Date: Wed 8th July
Distance: 16.2 Km (10.1 Miles)
Total distance covered: 54.4 Km (33.8 Miles)
Distance to go: 1573.9 Km (978.0 Miles)

Day 2 Report
I had a good day today. I first walked along the beach to Castletown and had breakfast at a hotel their. I then walked, largely along the beach to Thurso. The walk along the coast was the best part of the walk so far. I saw some very interesting rock formations. Now I know why the camping ground at Thurso is walled with thick stone flags. I got to meet some interesting people today. First with Andrew, who cooked my breakfast at the hotel. He also provided useful information on the coastal route to Thurso. The second with the American owner of the campsite, we had quite a bit in common with our scientific backgrounds having some marked similarities. During the day I got to enjoy perfect weather for walking. In the evening the weather deteriorated rapidly, it was cold and wet. These are the just the conditions I flew to the UK to avoid! Hopefully, tomorrow by the time I wake up again the weather will clear.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Day 1, Tue 7 July, Canisby to Dunnet Bay

Day 1. Canisby to Dunnet Bay
Date: Tue 7th July
Distance: 29.2 Km (18.1 Miles)

Total distance covered: 38.2 Km (23.7 Miles)
Distance to go: 1590.1 Km (988 Miles)

In memory
Today, the first day of my walk, I will be walking in memory of my brother Gordon. The photo on the left shows him as a teenager. Gordon was successfully treated for Hairy Cell Leukaemia (HCL) but then sadly went on to develop bowel and then liver cancer. Secondary cancers are also a common feature of CLL, especially after chemo.

We went camping together in Scotland more than 40 years ago. Camping with Gordon, an ex Queen's Scout, was much more primitive than the conditions I hope to experience on my trip. I at least have a small gas stove to cook on and am hoping to stay most nights at a permanent campsite. Gordon always camped wild and collected dead wood for his fires. I remember the first night of a trip to Scotland, on deciding to set up camp, we suddenly realized we were in an area devoid of trees. No dead wood for a fire! We had to ride 10 miles back down the way we had come on his Norton 99 before we could find a wooded area to with enough fuel to cook an evening meal. I plan to eat most of my evening meals in pubs but I doubt if I will ever be served with mackerel as fresh as I ate on that trip. They were cooked and eaten within an hour of being taken from Loch Long.

Day 1 report
Today, I walked from the Youth Hostel to Brough via Mey. There I asked a man called Mervyn if I could leave my pack with him while I walked to Dunnet Head. Mervyn invited me in for a cup of tea and we had a chat. He recommended that I go to Dunnet Head and then come back and visit him. Dunnet Head is the most northerly point on the British Mainland. When I returned he had made lunch. Because he made me lunch I told him I would donate $35AUD in his name to the charity. After leaving Mervyn’s place I booked in at the Caravan Club Campsite at Dunnet. One of the best things about a walk like this is some of the chance meetings with friendly people such as Mervyn.

Prologue: Duncansby Head to Canisbay (Mon 6th July)

Prologue: ~9 km (5.6 miles)
Date: Mon 6th July

Today I traveled on the Orkney bus to St.John of Groats. It rained quite heavily on the trip, but by the time I got to St.John of Groats the rain had cleared. At St John of Groats I had my official walk photograph taken, then I left my pack at the 'First and Last Cafe' and walked to Duncansby Head, the most easterly point of the British Isles. After I had enjoyed looking at the views, I started my prologue by walking to the YHA in Canisbay where I will spent the night.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Planned Itinerary

DayDateDayEnd location
17-Jul-09TueDunnet Bay
410-Jul-09FriForsinard Area
511-Jul-09SatAlltan Fhearna
612-Jul-09SunCrask Inn
713-Jul-09MonInvershin Area
814-Jul-09TueApproximate Camp Area to Dingwall
1218-Jul-09SatTomatin Area
1319-Jul-09SunAviemore Area
1420-Jul-09MonTarf Hotel
1521-Jul-09TueAllt Sheicheachan
1723-Jul-09ThuInver Dunkeld
2026-Jul-09SunCalais Muir Woods Area
2430-Jul-09ThuHarehawkshead area
272-Aug-09SunRay Fell Area
283-Aug-09MonWell House Farm
294-Aug-09TueRowland's Gill
305-Aug-09WedRowland's Gill
316-Aug-09ThuTom Law
327-Aug-09FriBarnard Castle
3712-Aug-09WedPonden House
4520-Aug-09ThuCannock Chase
4924-Aug-09MonShuthonger Common
5025-Aug-09TueMoreton Valence
5631-Aug-09MonWimbleball Lake
604-Sep-09FriWainhouse Corner
615-Sep-09SatSt. Mabyn
626-Sep-09SunSt. Columb Major
637-Sep-09MonSt. Agnes
659-Sep-09WedLand's End

Saturday, July 4, 2009

In the UK

Hong Kong airport was very quiet when I arrived early on Thursday morning. There were not many people wearing masks. I had a 3 hour wait then a long but uneventful flight to Heathrow. It was very hot (30C) and humid when I landed on Thursday afternoon. I then caught National Express bus to Torquay arriving about 10.15 pm.

Friday was spent last minute shopping with my sister and brother-in-law. We managed to get 2 'Cancerwalker' T shirts printed while we went for a cup of coffee and had a look around the cell phone shops. On my son's advice I got an Orange sim card for my Nokia and I am going to use that to ring NZ on the 'Camel' plan. Yesterday evening we had a very pleasant family meal out at a pub beside the river Teign.

Today we go shopping for a cell phone with a keypad to hopefully enable posting on the walk.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

In Hong Kong

Well I'm at Hong Kong airport after about a 9 hour flight. It's 6.15am and I take off again at 10am. So I have a 3 and 3/4 hour wait until my 13 hour trip to London. Don't you just love flying?! There are a lot of people coughing around me now and it was the same on the plane, hopefully I don't get a cold or flu before I start the walk.
The keyboard on the computer kisok I am using has been used by so many peoplet that many of the letters are illegible. I think I'll go and wash my hand after sending this! :)
I'm now going for breakfast,

Cheers for now


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

At Sydney airport

Hi all,

Well I'm on my way I am currently at Sydney airport.

Before going to the airport this morning I quickly made up some small business like cards with my web address on them. I gave one out at Kathmandu where I went to pick up a watch. The watch also has a heart rate monitor, all for only $50NZ. It will be interesting to see how much walking puts up my heart rate.

I managed to get rid of another card at the check-in and when I went to pay my departure tax. I think the lady there will be a bit more wary the next time she asks someone if there is anything else she can do for someone.

Trying to give cards at border controls and security is not to be recommended. Let's just leave it at that.

I was also very fortunate to meet up with some old mates at the airport from the Tangaroa (a research boat I use to travel on), another two cards gone. They can now keep up with Mr Bean's adventures whilst they are at sea (Mr Bean was my nick name on the Tangaroa).

I think the classic event of the day was trying to find gate 36A. It turned out I was reading my seat number. Doesn't bode well for my navigation on the trip.

Have to go and get some food.