Hike Southbound through Britain with Daryl May
Click for Northbound hike
DS22 Author in road mirror
The author, and a pig. The author is in the upper picture
DS22 One pig
Days S21 - S27                                                                     Central Scotland
Day S22 - Inverarnan to Tarbet 
Day S21                              Just like old times                              Day S23
  Southbound Home
    Start hiking here
Scottish Highlands
Central Scotland
    Southern Scotland
North of England
English Midlands
    English West Country

Northbound Home
Saturday, March 15, 2008

Time of departure: 9.45 am
Time of arrival: 3.00 pm
Place departed: Inveraran, Stirling
Place arrived: Tarbet, Argyll and Bute

Miles: 10.5
Cum miles: 280.2
Percent complete: 28.9

Bed sign Bon Etive B&B, Tarbet ***
Cost for bed and breakfast: £25 ($50)
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DS22 Inversnaid Lodge
Inversnaid Lodge across Loch Lomond; a narrow portion of road on the A82; and the author near Inveruglas hydro-electric plant
DS22 Tight road
DNM at Inveruglas hydro plant
It was dry all day, and even warm enough to take off gloves, scarf, and one woollen hat. I walked eleven miles to the B&B which, last night, I eventually located and booked in Tarbet, but I felt capable of walking further. That's a welcome development, because I need to walk quite a bit further each day if I'm to get to Land's End in time to catch my plane home.

My ankle pain is under control. I think I'm recovering, with the help of anti-inflammatories, from last Sunday's WHW hike on rocks. My blisters are also under control, thanks to patience, good dressings, good friends, and new boots. The knee pain that bothered me in the first weeks of my northbound hike is almost a non-issue, perhaps because of a knee support. My 2007 hernia repair is not getting strained. My pack weight has not bothered me at all this hike, which I attribute to better strap adjustment (there are about ten straps) and better weight distribution of the contents, e.g., I carry my water high-and-forward in the pack, and not in the low-and-rear easy-access pocket. I'm still carrying the same weight, but better weight distribution lessens the rearward forces on the shoulders.

Incidentally, I never have lower back pain when hiking, though I've suffered from it at work and at home for many years.

Basically, all I am now fighting is "cardiovascular" fatigue. I'm not as taxed if I can keep to reasonably flat ground, just as my leg-and-feet aches are less taxed on flat surfaces. What all this adds up to is "roads" and "bike tracks" rather than "rough hiking trails". The body is telling me that, and American Airlines is telling me that with my return flight date. I need to listen and obey. At 64-years old, I can't afford a macho ego.

The A82 has narrow, winding sections on today's route. You could say that this main road from Glasgow to Oban, Fort William and Inverness needs improvement. Along with narrow-and-winding, think "drainage". Extensive puddles are just what a trucker needs to give a hiker a muddy, greasy shower, and I was just lucky to be here on a Saturday when there were few trucks.

A traffic accident is probably the number one hazard for any hiker. In fact, Dr. Barbara Moore, an end-to-end pioneer, was killed that way, though on a hike in America. Here's my analysis.

Let's start by remembering that cars drive on the left in Britain. So Hobson the hiker generally walks on the right, facing the traffic, so he can most easily avoid the cars that come closest to him.

Vehicle A is the vehicle that's approaching Hobson. The driver can see Hobson and give him a wide berth, or even stop. This vehicle isn't a major threat.

Vehicle B is the vehicle passing Vehicle A. Vehicle B isn't on Hobson's side of the road at all. Unless Vehicle B causes A to swerve, Vehicle B isn't a major threat.

Vehicle C is the vehicle going along in Hobson's own direction, on the opposite side of the road. He shouldn't come anywhere near. Of course, he may cause Vehicle A to be closer than desirable. But Hobson can see Vehicle A and keep away.

It's Vehicle D that Hobson has to worry about. D is for "death". Vehicle D is the vehicle passing C right where Hobson is. Hobson can't hear D coming if its noise history coincides with C's. D is on Hobson's side of the road, and quite preoccupied with C, A and possibly even B. If the driver of Vehicle C moves to his right a bit, when he hears on his mobile phone that his wife just ran off with his best friend, Vehicle D will probably move to its right too.

Vehicle D is the reason that Hobson should assume, whenever he hears a vehicle approaching from behind, that there are two vehicles. Hobson should then rekindle his affection for muddy verges, drainage ditches, thornbushes, barbed wire, and roadkill, and even the ability to vault guard rail if it's a narrow road and both C and D are trucks.

For statistical reasons, the simultaneous presence of Vehicles C, D, and Hobson is rare. I've only experienced this once every couple of weeks. But the rarity is itself a danger if you assume all vehicle noise from behind implies just one vehicle.

It's an unpleasant subject, and we don't need to talk about it again.

Today, I found a Jacob's Fruit Bar on the road verge. I prodded it with my stick, and rolled it over. It passed these preliminary tests with flying colors, so I picked it up. Upon further examination, I saw that the corners had teeth marks, as in "rabbit". I sat on the verge, and carefully calculated my options for an hour or two (only kidding). I could eat it and develop pointed ears and mixamytosis. Or put it back, and waste a perfectly good Jacob's Fruit Bar. I decided to report that I left it behind for posterity. Heck, any other action, and I'd get accusations from Jake Ubsfrüttbarpf that it's his. Of course I could have turned it in to the Argyll and Bute constabulary and covered all my bases. But how could I do that if I've already eaten it?

Day S21                                    © 2007 and 2008 Daryl May                                   Day S23