Hike Southbound through Britain with Daryl May
Click for Northbound hike
Looking towards Glasgow from Rutherglen
Glasgow view
Days S21 - S27                                                                     Central Scotland
Day S26 - Rutherglen to Larkhall 
Day S25                                    A utility hike                                        Day S27
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Scottish Highlands
Central Scotland
    Southern Scotland
North of England
English Midlands
    English West Country

Northbound Home
Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Time of departure: 9.15 am
Time of arrival: 3.15 pm
Place departed: Rutherglen, Glasgow
Place arrived: Larkhall, S. Lanarkshire

Miles: 13.5
Cum miles: 341.2
Percent complete: 35.1

Bed sign Carlin Cottage, Larkhall *
Cost for bed and breakfast: 28 ($56)
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DS26 May's restaurant sign
Today, in good weather, I completed the job I didn't complete yesterday - that of putting Glasgow behind me. I passed through Blantyre (whence came Scotland's epic explorer, David Livingstone). By lunchtime I was in Hamilton which I had hoped to reach last night. It's pretty well the most southeast of Glasgow's dormitory towns. Then I was clearly in the country, though it was rather drab and featureless.

Now there's nothing to distract me from hoofing the southern uplands for six days or so to reach England. Nothing except normal challenges, that is, plus Easter. Already, the normal accommodation challenges have forced me into a long day tomorrow, in forecasted poor weather, to reach Douglas which isn't really on my route. But nothing more suitable was available. I have also booked in Crawford for the following night because of the holidays.

I covered about thirteen miles today, something of an achievement if I were to mention my rotten gut, so I won't.

Overall, as you can see, it was a "utility hike" without highlights.

Carlin Cottage got a single star by my rating, partly because of pervasive cigarette smoke smells, and I'd probably have given it no stars except that you might think I'd forgotten to rate it.

I am contemplating shortening the rest of the route to increase the chance of catching my flight. This will principally delete "Offa's Dyke/Wales" and substitute "Severn Valley-or-Welsh Border/English Midlands". It could make all the difference between a difficult, slow routing and one which lets me roll along enjoyably.

When I mentioned this rerouting to friends, a couple were quite appalled. "You'll be missing the best part," they both said.

And that caused me to think that short hikes can most easily be about scenery and exploration, while long hikes are about getting there. A short hike can focus on the Lake District or Offa's Dyke. On a long hike, you're hard-pressed to find that amount of time; your focus is on your destination. I have yet to find a short distance hiker who understands this.

Also, as age takes its toll, it's even harder to do the extra miles each day or climb the extra hills needed to go to scenic or out-of-the-way places. The armchair reader may find it harder to see this than the man weighed down with a pack.

But, of course, we're all different. Here is Hobson's Hiker Personality Scale:

1. The "Wandering Minstrel". Makes no plans. Destination unclear. Kit is casual. Pack weight and contents unknown. Money needs undefined, runs short. Diverts according to whim. When he gets "there", has to be told. Documents nothing

10. The "Ramrod
". Plans meticulously. Destination is defined and unchangeable. Kit is thoroughly researched and optimized. Pack weight is minimized, contents controlled. Money needs calculated and provided for. Never changes his route. Reaches destination on-time, checks it off, documents all.

When I set out, I hoped to be about a 5 on this scale. That seemed to strike the right balance. Now I think I'm more like an 8.

Day S25                                  2007 and 2008 Daryl May                                  Day S27