When I awoke happily at 6 am on the sofa in the bothy I was faced with some decisions about what I would do next. My initial plan was to continue on the SUW over Cloud Hill and down into Sanquhar and then up to Wanlockhead where, if needs be, I could hopefully catch a bus back home, show my face for a few days and then take off again. But that was sadly not to be the case.
When I finally emerged from the cocoon of the bothy at 8.30 am, I found myself standing in a thick cloud which was wonderfully refreshing after a warm nights sleep (yes! it’s true – I really was warm and cosy in the bothy, even without lighting a fire!). Frustratingly I was completely out of water by this point but, nae bother, I thought, for there, over yonder running along the back of the bothy was a fast flowing burn where I could easily refill my bottles. And fill them I did, only to find that the water was a shade of yellow which a urologist might call ‘a healthy colour of urine’ which troubled me greatly. I really should stop being such a tight-arse and buy one of the water purifier bottles so that I can stop drinking piss-coloured water filled with little floaty bits. It didn’t actually taste anywhere near as bad as it looked but I still couldn’t bear to take any more than the occasional very tiny sip.
Because of this, and because the misty cloud was so thick, I rather sensibly abandoned the idea of following the SUW over the hills – I’d made the mistake of doing that stretch in the dark last time and I didn’t think my fate would be that much different in the mist; in other words, I knew I would end up totally lost and sucking on wet moss and I didn’t really relish that prospect at all.
So, onwards I plodded, up and up the forestry track, ignoring my Fear & Loathing waymarker on the right and continued on for a couple of hours, stopping only to lick water droplets off the tall grass like some strange looking deer (or a complete mad woman, you decide). By the time I finally had phone signal as I dropped down along Euchan water, I called my other half for a lift and at exactly midday I returned home to the biggest mountain of laundry that has ever existed in the world. It was then when it became very clear that my adventure was definitely at an end and wouldn’t be getting all the way to Cocksburnpath as I had secretly hoped I would.
In between laundry loads, I went out into my beautiful polytunnel den and realised that I had no idea of what had been going on in the world. Sitting with a nice hot coffee I semi-reluctantly checked my Google news feed and clicked on the first story that grabbed my interest. I really wished I hadn’t bothered. After learning that the now-grown-up baby from the iconic cover of Nirvana’s Nevermind album is suing the surviving members of the band, citing the image as being ‘child pornography’, I realised, more than ever, how much I hate the so-called ‘real world’ and understand so very little about it. Get me back on those hills as soon as possible!
Here’s hoping that one day, in the not too distant future, I’ll be able to complete the rest of the route, far, far away from wi-fi and laundry piles and where the only challenge is putting one foot in front of the other.
Here are a few extra photos taken on the adventure: