27 April 2019

Today’s blog update comes from a sunny but blowy Swanage in the aftermath of Storm Hannah. I finally left Adderbury on Wednesday. The removal men emptied our house on Tuesday and took our belongings up to Yorkshire on Wednesday where it is now being stored in a forty-foot trailer where it must stay until we find somewhere new to live. The only set back was discovered when we arrived at our caravan in Swanage. The removal men had accidentally taken a small suitcase which contained all my underpants and socks. How mean is that? Our car was packed to the rafters when we set off for Swanage and after a search, my wife and I managed to retrieve four pairs of underpants and two pairs of socks. How odd is that? It made me think what else might be in there if we carried out a proper search!

Another surprising fact emerged during the move. I have not had the time to do any walking this week, but I kept my mobile phone in my pocket all the time during the moving process. And in three days I clocked up over 20 miles. So, on my virtual walk, having left my last resting place of just north of Carrbridge, I have now reached the dizzy heights of Inverness. And that means I now only have 147 miles to go until I reach John O’ Groats as starting this week, I pick up the cleverly named John O’Groats Trail which starts at Inverness Castle and tracks the coast right up to the Visitor Centre at John O Groats itself.

Meanwhile, this week, on my virtual walk, the first small village I reached was the wonderfully named Slochd. The naming committee probably meant to call it Sloshed, but they were probably all too sloshed to read their own minutes. And it is here that I crossed over one of the very fine military roads built by General Wade in the 18th century. His task was to improve transport and increase fortifications in the Scottish Highlands in case the 22,000 strong local male inhabitants rose up against us horrible Englishmen. He did a good job, and the cost of the project worked out at £90 per mile. I’m not sure if this is with or without VAT!

Here is a picture of part of the road near Slochd.

To be honest, it has worn well. In fact, it is in better nick that some of the roads I encountered during my recent trip to Antigua.

My thanks to one of the Adderbury Lakes working party for alerting me to General Wade’s military roads.

And this week’s facts stick with a construction theme. Just up the road is Findhorn Bridge, and this was designed by Sir Owen Williams and the cost to build it was just over £36,000. Now like most people, I tend to take bridges for granted. Not so TheHappyPontist. He is a fellow blogger who describes himself as a bridge designer and admirer. He enthusiastically arranges his own holidays around visiting bridges. If you want to know anything about a bridge, anywhere, start with TheHappyPontist.

And of course, if you are in this part of the world, you cannot help making a slight detour to feast your eyes over Loch Ness. I do not normally write about the more well-known attractions, but I have discovered several lesser-known facts about the monster that undoubtedly lurks in these waters. After all, Mr Robert Badger is the only person who has actually touched the monster. I learned this by visiting the official register of monster sightings. Take a look:


And from here I learnt that other lakes in the world also have similar monsters living in them. Lake Okanagan in Canada is one such lake. And their monster is called Ogopogo. Why doesn’t the Scottish monster have a name? Or is it Nessie? Either way, Ogopogo is much more monstery. And that’s it for now. I hope the Day of Dance in the village went well, and I hope you all visited the Book Fair in the church. My beloved Ampthill RUFC gained promotion to the Championship today so next season it will be Ampthill v Bedford, and I will also be able to watch them when they visit Yorkshire Carnegie at Headingley. I am in Swanage until next Thursday when I travel up to Harrogate in North Yorkshire to view some houses. I am then off up to Kenmore in Scotland for a week. Who knows where I will be writing my next blog!

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