Across Europe, vol. 9: From a mountain called Hope


Tongue, Scotland

19 November 2011

Dear fellow-travelers,

As of tonight, perched on the starless edge of the Kyle of Tongue, the Scottish Highlands are behind me, and with them the push north to 58º.  The blue horizons of the Irish Sea, the sprawl and the crazy-quilt colors of Liverpool, the cold roaring darkness and horizontal hail of the Lakes, the highway miles through the Southern Uplands, gray smoky Glasgow with its unexpected glow, and golden twilit days across the wild north, over bog and mountain and innumerable waters, past.  The sun going down on Loch Hourn.  An auburn silver-laced expanse receding into cloud from Buachaille Etive Mor.  Snow underfoot, leaves turning – wind-rime and beechwood, as though once more in Bulgaria, in April, still wondering what lies ahead.

It’s time to see if I can make this last.  From here I head east to John o’ Groats; and while the original idea was to finish by walking the east coast down from there to Edinburgh, there are things now that matter more, and I’m not sure my body could recover from it anyway.  Instead, from John o’ Groats I take buses or trains back to Glasgow, and dart the last days of this walk out to Edinburgh from there – I reason the continuous trail of footprints, if forked, still holds.  A celebration at last instead of an ordeal.

It feels right.  It feels worth however many thousands of miles this has been; a brightness of heart and spirit on the edge of new life.  Now I just need to convince my feet and my knees that they’re still feet and knees in the morning.

Hope all is going well,


Next: Across Europe, vol. 10: A doorstep

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