Hike Southbound through Britain with Daryl May
Click for Northbound hike
DS1 DNM at Groats Hotel
DS1 Sunrise
DS1 Start finish line

Days S1 - S20                                                                   Scottish Highlands
Day S1 - John o' Groats to Lower Reiss
                                       Headwind in Highland                             Day S2
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Northbound Home
Friday, Feb 8, 2008

Time of departure: 8.15 am
Time of arrival: 2.00 pm
Place departed: John o' Groats, Highland
Place arrived: Lower Reiss, Highland

Miles: 13.7
Cum miles: 13.7
Percent complete: 1.4

Bed sign Wellington Guest House, Wick ****
Cost for bed and breakfast: 30 ($60)
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Left: The JOG sign has no "arms" when the official photographer isn't there
Right: A fierce wind impeded first-day progress

DS1 JOG sign DS1 Windblown brush

The first day of the hike was brutal, and the only consolation was that things could have been worse.

I set out from JOG at sunup, 8.15 am. Just a few minutes earlier, the clouds had turned a wonderful orange when splashed beneath by sun rays from beyond the horizon.

It wasn't too cold, and it was mostly dry - but headwinds battered me all day. In the morning, they were 20 to 40 mph; from noon more like 60 mph. [Later I learned that it had gusted to 79 mph.] At times steady, at times blustery, it was often hard to walk, even when leaning forward. In the afternoon, my steps were as short as 18 inches - and often they were merely balancing efforts to the left or right.

I was aiming for Wick, about 18 miles. But as I toiled against the headwind, feeling increasingly wacked, I realized that I'd done enough for a first day. So, at Lower Reiss, after about 14 miles, I hitched a four-mile ride into Wick, where I had booked at the Wellington Guest House, a place I knew from the past. Of course, I first marked my Lower Reiss stopping point on my map (58deg 29.345min N, 3deg 8.638min W).

I will return there tomorrow, depending on the weather, and arrive in Wick the way a hiker should.

                                                              2007 and 2008 Daryl May                                               Day S2