Peter cycled off into the bright, sunny morning, aiming for Wick, where he was getting a train home, to Kent. I planned to take a trip to the Orkneys, spend one more night at the B&B, then make my way home the next day. I walked down to the harbour, and brought a ticket for the "maxi tour." The Pentland Venture - a stout boat which looked built to withstand anything - took about forty minutes to cross the Pentland Firth. The captain said we might see whales, and although like most passengers I looked hard, there were none to see.
At Burwick a coach collected us, and we spent a day touring the main sights: Skara Brae, Scapa Flow, the Standing Stones, Stromness, Kirkwall with its magnificent Viking Cathedral, and the beautiful little Italian Chapel. One reason I wanted to make the trip was because my father-in-law, Les, had been stationed at Scapa Flow in the second world war. I had a great day, ate too much, took some photos, and enjoyed the sensation of not walking.
Later in the day, we returned on the ferry, and I started to think about going home. I found out that there was a coach down to Inverness, where I could either get the train, or hire a car. The following morning, I waited for the coach at 10:30. I met Robert, who had finished cycling Lejog last night. It took him 22 days, with a friend, but he had done it in 76 hours when younger! The coach was driven by driven by the lovely Lesley. Gordon, her steward, got me a coffee, and we arrived in Inverness at lunchtime. It was strange to be driven through Scotland and recognise the places I had walked, flying past in a fraction of the time I had taken. For some mad reason, I decided to hire a car, and drove home, setting off at around 3 p.m., and arriving home in Basingstoke at 12:30 a.m., covering nearly 600 miles.
I have heard from Paul, who finished his walk - despite wet feet. He is planning to do Lejog next year. John and Jean arrived in John O'Groats the day after me, I heard recently that they were walking around Mount Blanc! Richard finished Lejog in July, having taken a route much longer than mine. He got married in October, congratulations to him!
So that's it - the end. What have I learned? If you have an ambition - do it! Would I do it again? Yes - indeed, I will, as well as other walks which aren't quite so long. The last word goes to Bilbo Baggins:
The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.