Setting off from home at 8.30am with Wendy, we made good time, stopping around 50 miles from Inverness for some lunch and to let the dogs out.
We arrived and met Sue in Munlochy, where we left 2 cars before squeezing all 4 of us and the dogs into one car and heading to Inverness. Parking the car we made our way to the castle where we had some photos taken and received our first donation from a little boy which made us both cry!
Following the map for the John o’ Groats trail we made our way down to the river and walked along the bank. It was beautiful with reflections in the water and lots of wildflowers. We walked along in good spirits, chatting and admiring the view.
We walked...and walked...and walked some more and eventually Olivia got the feeling that something wasn’t right. After studying the map we concluded that something definitely wasn’t right and stopped to ask a lovely lady on a bike who confirmed that we had been walking in completely wrong direction for an hour and a half. Turning round we retraced our steps and began to understand how we had gone so very wrong! Anyone who knows Kate and Olivia will know that knowing their left from their right is not a strong point. Instead of leaving the castle, turning right and keeping the river on our left, we had left the castle, crossed the river, turned left and walked with the river on our left. We collected more donations on our way back, from people who took pity on us and eventually made our way back towards the castle where we crossed over the bridge to the correct side of the river and continued on.
By this time we had already walked our 6 miles and had 2 very tired and hungry dogs. Time was marching on (much faster than us) and with the camper van still to collect and Phil (one of our drivers) to pick up from the airport we made the difficult decision to stop. The plan was to return to the car for 6.30pm, which we achieved, it was just the wrong car in the wrong place!!
On our return to the car we collected more donations and we consoled ourselves with the fact that we wouldn’t have collected these if we had gone the right way! We are so touched by the kindness and generosity of the people of Inverness. Lessons for the rest of the walk include less chatting, more focus on the map and making sure we are clear about which way is left and which way is right! All in all it has been a frustrating and slightly disheartening day but we have met some lovely people and tomorrow is a new day. Kevin was infamous for getting us lost on walks so we feel we have done him proud today!