The cliffs at the top

On Saturday I finished the main part of my journey – the walk from Lands End to John O Groats.  I wrote up a quick blog post and posted a couple of pictures.  What I didn’t do was give an account of my last couple of days walking.

I took my last section extremely slowly, even by my standards.  Once I reached the North Sea, near Wick, I only had 13 or so miles to go.  Due to a combination of enjoying the walk so much that I didn’t want to finish, and also wanting to end in fine weather, I split the 13 miles into two short half days.  On Friday it poured down all morning, so I set off at 3.30pm and walked for a couple of hours until I reached a little parking area by the cliffs, just north of Keiss.  (Pronounced Kyss). A fantastic seaside spot that Celeste and us had to ourselves all night.  And then on Saturday morning I set off at 5.30am for my final 8 miles.

The walk was along a beach and then cliff tops.  There’s no path from here to John O Groats, until about a mile or so before Duncansby Head (just by John O Groats).  This makes for rather rough walking in parts. However I was really pleased that I chose this coastal route, as opposed to the more popular road walking finish.  Only a couple of miles of it were a touch awkward, involving wading through waist high cow parsley, and an interesting bit where I had to cling to a sheep wire fence in order to cross a ditch, with the cliffs falling away beneath me.  Otherwise it was all fine and mainly grass or heather.  It’s a lot slower to walk on than the road, but I saw absolutely no one, and it was stunning.  I hope some of the photos below do it justice.

During my last few miles I decided to listen to my Olympics Opening Ceremony soundtrack.  (Seeing as the Olympics were one of the things that inspired me to do this walk).  As I walked, staring at my phone to find the right album, I suddenly stopped short.  I had been two steps away from walking right off the 200 metre high cliff.  What a way to go that would have been!  Three miles from John O Groats.  Serves me right for looking at my phone.  Anyway, I enjoyed the music and shed a tear or three as I reflected on my journey.  I didn’t feel numb or have mixed feelings.  I just felt elated and very happy.

Then all of a sudden I was there, at John O Groats, and rushing into Ian’s arms.  Yes, there were more tears.

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21 thoughts on “The cliffs at the top

  1. Flora
    What can I say? A fantastic achievement but one that only you could do with grace, determination, a smile (most of the time) and a willingness to share the highs and lows with the most fabulous stories, pictures and videos.
    I feel blessed to know someone who has done this, to be able to follow your journey, to have walked with you for about 8 of the 1186 miles (such a softy southerner!) and to have been able to cheer you on from the sidelines.
    What a girl! Well done!
    p.s. planned or thought about the next one yet, as the Flora I know will have something in her head about a challenge she wants to undertake 🙂

  2. Well done Flora! I felt quite emotional for you, the photos are as always amazing and beautiful weather too.
    what adventure will Flora and little Flora get up to next?!!

      • Thanks Flora, yes we did it in 10.55 which I was quite proud of, and I have so much respect for you and what you have done; truly inspirational!
        I’m so glad you and Grant eventually met up its really weird isn’t it …all those miles then there he was sharing a brew with Ian, amazing! X

  3. Flora, what an awesome achievement and personal challenge which not many people could complete. Really well done. Here’s to the next challenge. Take care. Simon

  4. Flora,

    What a brilliant achievement! It has been fascinatinto follow your journey and your thoughts and to see the lovely photos and hear about highs and lows and interesting encounters.



  5. Gosh Flora – I’m deeply impressed…. have actually been to John o’ Groats believe it or not… so, aware of Scottish remote – a very long time ago needless to say. Just back from Albania, far from solo, a thrilling country, suggest you – and Ian? – go there soon, wilder than JOG, very explore-worthy. Come and see me soon x Jane

    • Hello Jane! Just yesterday I was thinking about you. Albania! I can’t wait to hear all about it. I bet it was fascinating.
      I promise to come and visit. Perhaps in Celeste.

  6. Well done Flora! As I sit in bed reading this at 11.52 on a Sunday morning what is freaking me out is your early starts!

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