Hike Southbound through Britain with Daryl May
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The blister when I finally set out
DS8 Blister recovered
Days S1 - S20                                                                Scottish Highlands
Day S7 - Tain to Alness
Rest days 8 to 15           On the road again                               Day S8
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Northbound Home
Friday, Feb 29, 2008

Time of departure: 8.30 am
Time of arrival: 2.30 pm
Place departed: Tain, Highland
Place arrived: Alness, Highland

Miles: 14
Cum miles: 108.7
Percent complete: 11.2

Bed sign Westend B&B, Alness **
Cost for bed and breakfast: 25 ($50)
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DS8 Cold

The forecast warned of "heavy rain and severe gales" throughout northern Scotland and for many areas to the south. Seventy mph winds were mentioned.

I left Tain anyway. The poor weather hadn't arrived yet, and it might take time to spread from the west. My hope was that I'd be at my destination of Alness in time to watch the storm arrive and depart in the evening and night, leaving Hobson able to hike tomorrow too. This is the sort of timing that Hobson likes, because he does not hike at night, nor camp, so that's a good time for bad weather.

Well, my wishes were somewhat granted. It was blustery on the backroads that I took, but the roads passed through woodland which acted as a windbreak. It rained most of the day, but there were as many sunbreaks as downpours. There'd been some hail as well, and it had been cold. Soaked I was. But the wind had been milder than forecast, and I'd arrived safe and sound, so life was good. When I got to my B&B in Alness, the owners mentioned today's "torrential rain".

Passing Glen Aldie, I was pleased to find that the collapsing bridge of 2007 has been replaced by a pretty, new one, tastefully featuring a stone parapet in tune with the region. This saved a one-mile detour on muddy roads.

So how were the new boots? I must reserve judgment until I've adjusted to them. My ankles and knees are certainly aching. I must watch out for a potential blister starting on my left heel.

And now the big question: what about the big underfoot blister? This morning, I applied a Comfeel patch, something Gavin had most kindly given me. It's a treated adhesive patch, with just enough stiffness to, hopefully, spread pressure over a wider area than the blister area, while sacrificially abrading instead of my foot.

In the morning hours, I had very little pain in the affected area. But in the afternoon, I could feel the familiar "pebble in the boot". Now, it wasn't bad, and I felt I could finish the day's hike, given there were only a couple of hours to go (and no other alternative anyway). The big question is how it will feel in the morning. I have a shortish hike in mind for tomorrow, eleven miles to Dingwall. But even that can be shortened to Evanton (five miles), and that's my plan if the blister pain is evident. Meanwhile I'll apply some Voltarol, also from Gavin, which is a topical anti-inflammatory, to my feet and knees.

I've now done a hundred miles from John o'Groats. But the jury is still out as to whether I'm a crock or a jock.
 Rest days 8 to 15                    2007 and 2008 Daryl May                                        Day S8