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reveries of an amateur long-distance hiker

Walking to Cape Wrath, Day 6 May 16, 2022

May 17th, 2022

Walking to Cape Wrath, Day 6 May 16, 2022

When I was young growing up in the Shenandoah Valley, the highlight of the year was the county fair. There was barbecue, cotton candy, harness racing, carnival rides, hoochie coochie shows, and of course the livestock barn. Given that many of my classmates grew up on farms and showed at the barn, it always got a careful tour. Today’s walk was a misty wet stroll— had to get out all my foul-weather gear including gaiters and slipped my way across a couple hours of seemingly empty moor. Only a dozen miles or so from the center of Edinburgh, cell service regularly dropped and the landscape was only populated by wild ducks. However, on either side were intensive agricultural areas. It was like a really long version of the Shenandoah County Fair livestock barn.

I’m still following the recommended Scottish National Trail itinerary, but this slow circling of Edinburgh reminds me of all the days it takes to get past Auckland on the Te Araroa. Tomorrow I’ll double up some of the days, stretch my legs out and make my way out into the countryside. But for today, at the end point Balerno, once again I caught a bus to downtown and a hostel that had a laundry. Out of the rain, I got everything clean, then went for fish and chips at the Malt Shovel; then a brief wander about old town which made for a complete and fairly satisfying day.

T. Hugh Crawford