Suitably rested and with clean socks a-plenty, it’s back on the road on 14 June for the final part of the trip.
First I’m heading west up the Tyne Valley from Tyneside and along the line of Hadrian’s Wall all the way to Carlisle. From there, I’ll be heading over the border into Scotland en route to the capital of South West Scotland, Dumfries.
Day 24 will see me continuing my westward track through scenic Galloway all the way to the busy ferry port of Stranraer , then its northwards once more. I’ll be taking the coastal route up to Ayr, then taking the long run into Glasgow where I hope to squeeze a quick ride on the city’s unique underground railway – affectionately called ‘The Clockwork Orange’ – before turning in for the night.
Then it starts to get tricky. I’m hoping to visit Glasgow’s excellent Transport Museum before finding a way out of the city into the hills to the north. From there, I need to find a bus which will eventually take me to Stirling and then into the Trossach Hills at Callendar.
On Day 26 I’ll enter the Scottish Highlands properly, heading up to Killin in Perthshire before catching a Postbus to Tyndrum then a long distance bus to Fort William. Buses are so infrequent in these parts that I confidently expect to have plenty of time to sit and admire the view!
Next day, I’m heading by bus to Mallaig, hopefully catching a glimpse of the fantastic curved railway viaduct at Glenfinnan, made famous in recent years by the Harry Potter films. From Mallaig, its over the sea to Skye and a quick tour of the island before settling down for the night at the achingly-pretty waterfront town of Portree.
Day 28 is one I’m really looking forward to. Its back through Skye to the Skye Bridge at Kyle of Lochalsh, then along the shores of Loch Duich to Glen Sheil, up the glen and over the mountains to Loch Ness then along the lochside to Inverness – the whole trip through some of the finest scenery on Scotland. Magical!
Day 29 in the final day of the trip, and probably one of the longest in terms of mileage. From Inverness, I’ll be catching the bus all the way up the east coast of Northern Scotland to Wick and from there into the wilds of Caithness to my ultimate goal, John O’Groats.
It all seems a long way away… and it is!
But how will I cope with a whole month on a bus?