But now onto the update!
Day 23-Sunday 27th April:
A couple of new characters to introduce today: firstly, a rather drunk tramp (or 'man of the road' as Gill much more tactfully put it to me!) who had a rather severe warning regarding the lads' forthcoming visit to Falkirk: 'Ye'll need to be sharpening ya sticks if ye are gannin thro theer'. I have to say in defence of Falkirk, though, that I've looked all over the web for details about the town and the only real thing of interest I could find was that it was just named the best town in Scotland for shopping...so it can't be all bad! Secondly, the John's made friends with a cycling couple called Jamie and Karen; bonding over a couple of pints, a good time was had by all, and promises were made to keep in touch in the future. Altogether now: aaaaaah!
As for the rest of the day...the sun finally found Scotland by way of the Firth and Clyde canal, and just to round things off nicely, the lads were able to find a camping spot in the close vicinity of an Indian takeaway restaurant.
Day 24-Monday 28th April:
A day of sightseeing and more friendly faces. As the journey continued along the Union Canal, and past the (now famous) Grange Oil refinery, a visit was paid to the Falkirk Wheel (as displayed in the pictures above). The Falkirk Wheel is apparently the world's only revolving boat lift (see, another thing for Falkirk to boast about!), and according to Gill, can lift boats 100 feet out of the water and into another spot...pretty impressive! The lads also met up with Cath and Brian Jones, a couple that John S met after reading Cath's book 'Keep Right On to the End of the Road'-the story of Cath's own walk from JO'G to Land's End, and a highly recommended read (and incase you were wondering, that is Cath on the first picture above!). This provided the Johns with a good motivational kick, as Cath joined them for eight miles of the walk, and Brian took the backpacks ahead in the car to give them a well-deserved break.
It would appear, however, that meeting friends along the way was making John and John rather cocky at this point; when rain returned later on in the day, they decided to seek shelter on...a stranger's doorstep! Not surprisingly, they were soon greeted with a suspicious gentlemen wondering just why two grown men, complete with enormous backpacks, were crammed next to his door-but having received an explanation, he was happy to let our lads stay there as long as they needed! Unfortunately, this generosity did not stretch as far as their campsite for the night, where the lads were subjected to a bit of a tongue lashing from the owner of the land (who was apparently not as charitable as the rest of the country). Still, he begrudgingly allowed them to stay overnight...and we'll all now know not to extend courtesy to any Linlithgo farmers if we ever find ourselves passing along that way ;-)
Day 25-Tuesday 29th April:
Scottish hospitality returned today, as well as a touch of humour. The lads left the Union Canal and made their way through Broxburn (HQ of the Glenmorangie company, for all you drinkers out there!); en route, they were not only the recipients of fresh pork pies from a local baker, but made yet more new friends when a couple by the name of Florrie and Theo Carson invited them in for tea and lemon cake (I'm starting to think they're going to end up putting on more weight than they lose over the course of this walk). The people around Broxburn must be very kind indeed, as they were even invited in for cake by another lady later on in the day...though, unfortunately, the lads were still full of Florrie's delicious cake and had to politely decline the offer. There were also a couple of 'crackups' by passers by throughout the day:
'Are you sure you're on the right road for Mount Everest?' (by a group of young lads)
'Come on, we're 80 years old, and we don't need them!' (a group of pensioners, mocking the lads' use of walking poles)
At least it meant they weren't able to let all the hospitality go to their heads!
Day 26-Wednesday April 30th:
A more depressing, and extremely wet, day. As the Johns slowly made their way over the Pentland Hills, they found themselves ankle-deep in mud on more than a few occasions; in the end, defeat was admitted for the day and camp was finally made in some woods nine miles north of Peebles. Just to top the day off, it was realised that neither of them had any dry clothes left (let's all pray for some nice weather in the forthcoming days to improve matters before Gill and Pam arrive at the weekend). An evening meal was made of the 'delicious' concoction of beef barbeque noodles, streaky bacon, a bread bun and best of all, 'Bean Feast'-or, meat flavoured soya beans. Mmmmmmmmm.
And that's everything up to date! As I just mentioned, the weekend will be brightened up by a visit from their better halves this weekend, so expect a detailed report on the lads' condition and morale next time from Gill!