Hike Southbound through Britain with Daryl May
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Dornoch firth, looking inland (west)
DS6 Dornoch Firth stitch
DS6 Dornoch firth
Days S1 - S20                                                                    Scottish Highlands
Day S6 - Golspie to Tain
Day S5                               I need a doctor                   Rest days 1 to 7
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Northbound Home
Wednesday, Feb 13, 2008

Time of departure: 8.15 am
Time of arrival: 4.30 pm
Place departed: Golspie, Highland
Place arrived: Tain, Highland

Miles: 18
Cum miles: 94.7
Percent complete: 9.8

Bed sign Dunbius Guest House, Tain ***
Cost for bed and breakfast: 30 ($60)
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DS6 The Mound 2
DS6 The Mound
DS6 Frosty meadow at dawn
DS6 Frosty bridge bolt
Top: Loch Fleet and The Mound. Below: A frosty morning in Golspie

Today's walk was dominated by blister pain in the morning, but it subsided under the effects of Ibuprofen in the afternoon. Only then did I take in my surroundings. Leaving Golspie, the route runs over "The Mound", a monolithic hill near a causeway carrying the A9 across Loch Fleet, a birding area with quite extensive sandbanks at low tide. Then one heads inland and up a long hill leading to the Trentham Arms Hotel, before a descent (Dornoch off the route to the east) until one reaches the coast again to cross Dornoch Firth using a one-mile bridge of that name. Under today's calm conditions, the bridge was no challenge at all.

In fact, the weather was perfect again for hiking, always clear and calm, with the temperature rising from about freezing in the morning to 10 degC (50 degF) in the afternoon.

Pain relief after lunch helped me resist stopping in Dornoch after ten miles, and go on to Tain, about 18 miles. There is nothing wrong with a short, ten-mile hike, of course. The problem arises in that it’s tempting to stop after ten miles virtually every day. So what's wrong with that, you might ask? Well, nothing really, if you don't mind this hike taking three to four months, depending on your route. That's a good bit longer than I feel I can give to it. Fifteen miles a day lets you finish in two to three months, also depending on your route, and I'm quite happy to choose a short route too.

Of course, 15 miles a day isn't all goodness, either. I find it exceedingly grueling at my 64 years, even without a killer of a blister. As it is, I've been gritting my teeth to keep going at all.

In Tain, I found the Dunbius Guest House on Morangie Street as you steer off the A9 to access the town. It seems a nice place, well-equipped and spotless.

I mentioned that I couldn't inspect the blister properly, because of its position. I was also unable to see it in a mirror because my foot blocked a view of the image. Well, this evening, I took photos of it using the delay-timer feature on the camera, which allowed  me to put the camera on the floor with my foot hovering above. It's rather worse than I thought, and probably more than just a blister - a 1.5 in by 2.5 in swollen, nearly-bloody mess. I think it needs medical attention, better dressings, rest, then new boots. I'll see how it looks and feels in the morning and make decisions then. At least, being in Tain, I'm within reach of medical help, if necessary by bus to Inverness.
 Day S5                                  2007 and 2008 Daryl May                   Rest days 1 to 7