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470 miles

1000milesby 1000milesJul 26th 2014
It is with great sadness that I waved goodbye to Scotland yesterday. I can't really believe this section is over. I feel very much like I have unfinished business here, like maybe one day it will be a place I return to, for something more than a trip - maybe a home.

The last 4 days through the Borders meant Scotland went out with a bang. I hadn't really thought about this part of the UK before, it wasn't really on my radar, but my god, did it deliver. I think scenically these few days have been some of my favourite from the whole trip.
I left Edinburgh on Tuesday with a heavy heart, I was waving goodbye to the friends I had made and it was pissing it down with rain again. In fact my heart was so heavy it was 3pm before I'd poured myself back on to the road. In many respects it's easier to keep going without comforts on this trip - as soon as you let them in, being exposed to the elements seems all the more taxing than it did before.

As I navigated my way out of the labyrinth that is Edinburgh, I wasn't particularly excited about what the day was destined to bring. It didn't take long for me to have, without any doubt, the most beautiful evening of my entire life.

Because it had been so cloudy and rainy in the day when the sun finally set as I tootled down the empty country lanes I could have been brought to tears by the view. It was an expanse of nothing but green hills, roaring pink and orange skies and complete and utter impenetrable silence. Aside from the odd farm, it's isolation like I've not experienced on this trip before. It was just unbelievable and no photo I could provide you with will ever do it justice.
It's light until fairly late so I finally called it a day at 10pm and popped into a farm to see if I could sleep in their field. As always, the farmer couldn't have been more obliging - he even stopped his ravid dog from tearing me to shreds. Nice of him. Unfortunately, as I settled in for the night, the Spanish Armada kicked off outside my tent. I stayed up and shat in my pants for about 5 minutes but so filled with noodles and beans sleep soon took hold. All was explained in the morning when the farmer came over for a chat with some apology raspberries (nothing says sorry like a punnet of fruit).

'Im soo sorry about last night, I completely forgot you were camped in the field, me and another farmer went on a killing spree (his words, not mine) - we are getting rid of all the foxes and the rabbits ...' Ah rural life.
My final night in Scotland was another classic example of the continuing train of warmth and hospitality I've been met with on this trip. The day itself was easily the worst day I've had in terms of physical pain. All this time on the road has left me pretty well equipped mentally to deal with most things - I have a bag of mind games so wide and varying I can generally talk myself in/out of anything. That day was the only day that non of my bag of tricks seemed to take the edge off. My pain was mostly blister related but the knees offered a little stomach punch to the situation. It basically got to the point where it was insufferable to run on my heels so I had to dance along the road like a fairy on my toes - not only does this result in you looking like a tit, it is also exhausting because you are using your body in an entirely different way.

This is not to say that the whole day was a right off. I stopped for a few hours in the evening and rustled up some pretty delicious rice and lentils, took my shoes off and lay in the grass admidst a view you could die for with not a single soul except some sheep. In fact it was so perfect that I proceeded to fall asleep. This meant I was left trawling the road looking pretty dishevelled at 9pm at night. Sometimes, I'm not very good at putting a lid on things and saying - 'enough'. In hindsight this was one of those evenings. Rather fortuitously a farmer doing his final rounds for the evening found me on the road and insisted that I head in the direction of his brother in laws farm a few miles away. By the time I arrived at the farm, the whole family was waiting in the garden for me - before I knew it, I'd had tea, a warm dinner and a bed. I haven't really cried on this trip out of sadness, or frustration or anything negative - there is no point, I'm often alone and I think crying only serves a purpose if you have someone to cry too. The only times I have been brought close to tears have been the positives, the times when you are so overwhelmed by human kindness that words don't seem to cut the mustard. I left the next morning stuffed with bacon and eggs with even the grandparents coming out to wave me off. I ran the marathon into England the next day in one of the quickest times I've done on the whole trip (still with said blisters). I always knew this thing was mind over matter but there has been no greater demonstration of this than these two days being next to each other. Same blisters, same pain, completely different head.
Although crossing the border was a little sad, it was also very, very exciting - I mean, I had just ran across Scotland! I was lucky enough to stay with family friends just over the border and we had quite the laugh when fuelled by a few bottles of wine, John allowed Lisa to use 'his sharpest knife' to slice and squeeze all my blisters (her request). I'm pleased to say I was left with all my toes intact.

I left Carlisle with a hot water bottle and a wooly red jumper - no more sleepless nights chilling my beans in England.
I think there is a general consensus amongst the general public that I look like a bit of an idiot running around the UK in a high vis vest with a giant yellow pram. On many, many levels I entirely agree.

Having said this, the view from my perspective isn't much better.

This is what you look like drivers as you rubber kneck your way down the road. UN. LUCKY

(I have quite a bit of free tent time in the evenings, eh hum).
ACFaceby member: ACFace, Jul 29th 2014 22:03
WOW, what and amazing adventure. I've always dreamed of doing something as epic as this but wouldn't know where to begin. I've only recently taken up running and adore trail running, the sense of freedom, connection with nature and being place where nobody else is, is amazing. It the bits of my life I live for. I love the cause that you are doing this for, I could have done with using a similar service a few years back but nothing was available. Keep at it, keep smiling and enjoy every moment. Well done.
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