Well, it’s not really, but I’m on the Black Isle and find my thoughts drawn to Johnny the depressive painter from The Fast Show so it seemed appropriate. Actually, grey would be even more appropriate as it’s rather rainy today, which is why I’m glad this is a day off – I got somewhat wet on the way here yesterday as it rained pretty much all afternoon, and soon discovered that my map reading and measuring had been slightly in error as what I thought was a 17-mile day turned into a 22-mile one. Still not quite as bad as the time in the US when I forgot about the existence of Kentucky and ended up driving for 22 hours though.

But, I’ve made it here to Ardachy where Trevor and Nita have kindly volunteered to put me up, or put up with me for a couple of nights while I rest my feet and count my blisters.

The important thing is that I’ve done 111 miles so far since I started this time last week – in fact, almost exactly one week as I’m writing this – which means I’m over 10% of the way to the finish and perhaps more importantly, only have a little further to go on roads before I get to switch to the paths and tracks that will take me all the way to Edinburgh, and I’m rather looking forward to that. The A9’s not been bad for walking down in the most part – it’s pretty wide and there’s not too much traffic – but constant walking on tarmac can get quite wearing after a while. I have had a few breaks from it though, most notably an enjoyable walk on Saturday afternoon from Brora to Golspie along the coast path and passing underneath the Ruritanian vastness of Dunrobin Castle, but it was nice to turn off it yesterday to head across Easter Ross and the Nigg peninsula, knowing that the only bit of it I have left is the stretch over the Kessock Bridge into Inverness tomorrow.

Which reminds me, here’s my schedule for the next week or so:
Wednesday 2nd: Avoch to Inverness
Thursday 3rd: Inverness to Drumnadrochit – the first stage of the Great Glen Way
Friday 4th: Drumnadrochit to Invermoriston (actually the Loch Ness hostel at Alltsigh)
Saturday 5th: Invermoriston to South Laggan
Sunday 6th: South Laggan to Gairlochy/Spean Bridge
Monday 7th: Spean Bridge to Fort William – the last stage of the Great Glen Way
Tuesday 8th: Day off in Fort William
Wednesday 9th: Fort William to Kinlochleven – beginning the West Highland Way

Overall, things are going well – my body seems to be adjusting to the strain pretty well – everything’s still working, and there’s only been one burst blister so far, and from now until the end of the West Highland Way, the distance I’ll be covering on most days will likely be shorter (though on rougher terrain with more ups and downs), plus there’ll be more for me to see than cars rushing past on the road.

That should do for now, though please remember to donate if you haven’t already – I’m currently on target with fundraising, but knowing there’s money coming in helps to spur me on. Even though I am losing weight and gaining muscle, I’m not doing this for my health!