The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Friday 27 May 2011

Day 11 - Tarfside to North Water Bridge

Tuesday 24 May (0715-1410)
Distance: 16 miles?
Weather: fine!

Packing away took a bit of time, what with three people in a very small room and kit strewn everywhere, but we were away by quarter past seven. Along with Jon we were to walk alongside the River North Esk first to Edzell and then on to North Water Bridge. None of us had intended to go that way, but after 10 days of wearing waterproofs Mick and I had decided that our priority was simply to get to the coast via the quickest route.

That we had no maps for the change of route was a bit of an impediment, but with some trouble I had managed to borrow the right maps off people the night before and photograph the relevant sections (not that I would recommend relying on photos of maps, displayed on the small camera screen as an acceptable way of navigating!). The problem I'd had was that although most people seemed to be intending to go the same way, few of them were supposed to be going that way and thus the lack of the correct maps was a common problem.

Jon did have a map as far as Edzell though, and the route isn't complicated anyway. As long as you keep the river as close as possible on your left you can't go too far wrong.

Edzell is another of the notable places that features on many a Challenge. Everyone there seems to know about the event, and the Tuck-In tea room is a honey-pot. It would have been wrong to walk by without paying it a visit and after tea and lunch I enjoyed a most fantastic bit of fruit loaf before we set off again.

News had reached us at Tarfside that the bridge out of Edzell was closed, followed by the news that it was passable with care. When we got there the ends were blocked by barriers carrying big 'Dangerous Bridge' signs, but nothing actually said that it was closed, so the pen knife was put into use to undo some cable ties (without damaging them at all, I should add) and one by one we went across. The problem was that the support for one set of planks was missing at the far end, but whoever went first located the problem without falling through so we all got across without a problem (and I did duly replace the cable tie to secure the barrier once we were all through).

The walk down to North Water Bridge was then entirely unremarkable, being a few miles down a very straight road.

In common with the other days of the trip, as the day went on the wind speed increased and it was fairly windy by the time we arrived. Incredibly though, it was the first day of the trip when waterproofs were not required. A few light raindrops had been felt for a few moments earlier in the day, but as a complete contrast to the previous day, the weather was fine. So fine that on reflection our run-for-the-coast was unnecessary.

As the evening wore on and a chill came into the air, a few of us headed over to the games room and out came the table tennis table. It was there that Mick's Challenge could have come to a very embarrassing end. Moving across the table for a shot he got his Croc caught on the carpet and took a nose-dive to the floor. Fortunately he was uninjured, but can you imagine if he had been unable to complete the last 9 miles of a 925-mile walk due to an injury sustained playing ping pong?!

Click here for TGOC Day 12

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