8/23 – Day 83 – Dunbeath to Slickly

Today’s Statistics
Distance of 30.1 miles for a total to date of 1,354.1 miles.  Vertical of 1,248′ for a total of 141,192′
Distance of 48.4 km for a total to date of 2,179.2 km.  Vertical of 380 m for total of 43,035 m

With only about 40 miles left until the end I decide that I want to break the back of the final miles today so I can have a relaxing day tomorrow.  I walk the 7 miles along the A-Road until I can turn off and have a largely traffic free experience.  Not long after I meet someone who tells me he used to be the chief architect for the local council.  We chat for about 10 minutes and as I walk away he calls after me “I was responsible for the toilet block in John O’Groats and so if you want a pee…”.

Sue joins me for the next 12 miles or so and we stop at Camster Cairns originally built about 5,000 years ago although they have been rebuilt in modern times.  These are burial cairns built at a time when the land was fertile and the temperatures warmer.  Now they are set in a peat bog.  There are two of them, the round cairn with a single chamber which I crawl into down a small tunnel, and the long cairn with two burial chambers.  One wonders what the beliefs were that would cause such huge structures to be built.  The remains of bones have been found in the cairns but the chambers would never have accommodated more than a few whole bodies or were they used to cremate bodies from the local area?

I am told that there are a lot of wind farms being built in the area and we pass many windmills at work.  The area is so flat now that there is little obstacle to the almost ever present winds.  Happily we are walking on a lovely day because it would be miserable here in a storm with the wind and rain whipping across the barren landscape only broken by the windmills and forestry commission pine plantations.

After 12 miles Sue gets a ride with Alan and they go to set up the caravan and I agree to meet with them in a tiny hamlet called Lyth.  They have some challenges with the setup and so Alan is late picking me up.  30 miles completed and only about 10 miles left.  It is good to walk on my own for the remainder of the day.  It seems that, emotionally I complete my journey today with a little cry on my own.  I can finish up tomorrow without drama which proves to be good as I arrive at the caravan with Alan to find a lovely surprise.  Mum & Dad have also come up to see me finish.

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