Day 108 Has seen 10.2 Miles walked and some wonderful people met along the wonderful coastal path of the Firth of Forth. 

A beached fish at Newhaven Harbour!
A beached fish at Newhaven Harbour!

It was an early start to walk the dog, feed myself, feed the dog, wake the children and ensure all set before leaving to catch the 0724 No 59 bus to Stirling station. Despite the failing head torch half way round the walk in the woods by the ponds slowing my progress and the torrential downpour necessitating a change of attire and a towel dry for the dog pre breakfast I managed to gather my kit and be at the bus stop on time. Sadly it was then a no show for the bus. I looked at the timetable for the next bus. If it ran bang on time it would get me to the station with 6 minutes to spare. The buses generally ran 10 minutes late. It was going to be very tight with a strong possibility of missing the train I was hoping to catch. As I sat head down looking up train times to see what the effect would likely be on the planned walk I suddenly heard a cry ‘Archie, Archie!’ I looked up. ‘Do you want a lift to Dunblane station?’ I had just stripped off my waterproofs so, of course, it had started raining again. ‘Yes please’. I ran across the road and jumped in. What a stroke of luck and thank you. 

Allan and Kathleen whome I met at Newhaven Harbour
Allan and Kathleen whome I met at Newhaven Harbour

Once at the station I bought my ticket and jumped on the train. Checked my plan. All good. Back on target so I texted Allie to confirm all was running to plan to catch the connection to Dalmeny. I was on an earlier train. Apart from giving Allie cause to rush down to the station to meet up with me it was perfect. Time for a quick Mocha before catching the connection to Dalmeny. 

Once at Dalmeny and walking, because we had taken our waterproofs off it started raining again! It rained on and off as we walked so the waterproofs stayed on or we weren’t going to get anywhere. We walked from Dalmeny station, through the delightful village of South Queensferry and through the chalming Dalmeny Estate along the John Muir Way and up the River Almond in to Cramond and lunch before heading back down the River on to the waterfront and along to Newhaven Harbour. All the time the sound of the waves lapping against the shore, the occasional call from a Seagull, and the gushing sounds of swollen rivers rushing their excess down stream in to the Firth was our background music. The occasional couple passed but then and without warning I would get a pull to speak to some of the passing couples. The first was the delightful family Alex, Leilani, Elodie who were returning home chasing after the remainder of their children cycling home after Primary School. I just got a sense to chase back after them to say hello. They stopped turned and engaged us in the most delightful conversation. I handed Alex a flyer and I very much hope that they do come to join me on the journey.

It was lunchtime so went to the Cramond Falls Café for a delicious bowl of soup and a toastie. We chatted about all sorts of stuff and delighted in the snug warmth of the café. As we chatted a gentleman from Fife, in the café at the time approached us and engaged us in conversation about the walk we were doing. Again I sensed that I was to introduce the challenge to him. I gave him a flyer and very soon we discovered that his wife has just been given the all clear after a prolonged battle with a tumour found in her tonsil but that had spread. I was hugely relieved to hear of such a success story and the gentleman completely understood what I was going through. Sadly I forgot to get his name but I very much hope that he too does come to join the journey. It was a pleasure to meet him and to hear of such positive news of a battle being won. I pray that it never comes back. After the gentleman left we stayed for quite some time and got quite deep in to theological and psychological discussions and various subjects on life so were quite drained by the time we realised it was actually nearly 3pm and time to leave. My phone clearly understood the depth of our conversations and how cerebrally tired we now were so as I tried to type in Cramond Falls Café it autocorrected it to Cram Mind Falls Café!

Alex, Leilani and Elodie
Alex, Leilani and Elodi

So tired was I that as we left the Café I was completely disorientated and tried to go in completely the opposite direction. So convinced was I in the direction we should be going that when Allie questioned the direction I was trying to head in I just wasn’t convinced until she pointed to the river. We needed to follow the flow of the River Almond as we had been. Duh!! I was being really stupid. Allie was navigating so there was a good chance that we would make it!! As we walked along the waterfront another couple passed us after a number of people had passed us but with this particular couple I got another nudge that I should turn, catch them up and introduce the challenge to them. I was so glad that I did because I was lucky enough to meet Alan and Kathleen whose Cousin had sadly just passed after a fight with a Brain Tumour. I was so sad to hear of such news but Alan and Kathleen were hugely encouraging and steeled me to continue fighting. Thank you and it was a pleasure to meet you both. I do hope that you come to join my journey. As we continued walking, reflecting on the wonderful people we had met Allie took me to one side, sat me on a bench overlooking the Firth and prayed for and with me. As she did so I was hugely thankful and squeezed in my own little quiet prayer for Allie. I had noticed that her leg was becoming increasingly painful. She was being brave and trying not to show it so I asked that God might heal her leg too.

We pressed on and reached Newhaven Harbour. 10.5 miles completed we popped in to Porto and Fi for a celebratory Decaf Mocha and as they had no flapjacks had to settle for a Chocolate Brownie and vanilla ice cream. I know it was a risk but it was a risk worth taking. It was delicious and no seizure. Still feeling great!!

Frances and Ken (and me!) on the train home
Frances and Ken (and me!) on the train home

Dropped back off at the station in perfect time for the train back to Dunblane and what a journey that was. Firstly I was delighted to discover that our conductor for the journey was no less than the fabulous Donald who looked after us all so well on the same train back on Day 83 which spookily enough was after another walk in Edinburgh with Allie which finished at the Porto and Fi in Newhaven! Our meeting, shaking of hands and wishing of a Happy New Year was then a perfect springboard to introduce the challenge to Chris who had sat opposite me. As I did so I noticed that the couple sat on the other side of the aisle were also listening so I handed Frances Mary and Ken a flyer also, adjusted my seat and addressed all three at the same time to tell them about the challenge while encouraging them to enjoy a glass of wine and watch a video!! Sadly it was time for Chris to leave so I grabbed the opportunity for a quick photo and he thanked me with Frances Mary and Ken for the story. Then sadly it was also time for Frances Mary and Ken to leave but only after they had a little more detail from me and they had told me about all the fabulous work they were doing for Cancer Research with the Rotary Club. It was delight to meet all three of you this evening and I very much hope that you also come and join me on the journey.

The last few miles back to Dunblane and then home was the perfect opportunity to tuck in to my veggie pick and mix bag not eaten at lunch. Tenderstem Broccoli, Carrots, Tomatoes and red grapes. Delicious.

A great day and tomorrow I get to pick up my new bike from Callander. The ice has thawed so I feel the top road in to Callander coming on. A good week this week so no posts planned for the weekend but you know me!!

Have a lovely weekend.

The Forth Rail Bridge from Queensferry
The Forth Rail Bridge from Queensferry

The challenge in numbers in total since the start:
Days completed: 108
Total Miles Cycled: 593
Total Miles Walked: 554.5
Total Miles Run: 30.3
Total Miles Paddled: 7
Total Distance Cycled, Skied, Ran and Rowed in the gym: 8.4
Total Distance Swum: 700 metres
Total Miles covered under own steam.1193.9
Total Height Gained under own steam: 31,973 feet
Mountains Climbed: 5
Hills Climbed: 18
Days of Voluntary Activity: 6.5
Organ tunes learnt and performed: 5
Salmon Caught: 0!
Curling Matches played in: 5
Curling stones placed on the button (the centre of the target): 1
Weight Training Sessions: 8
Aerobic Circuit Sessions: 4
Press Ups: 202
Pull Ups: 51
Sit Ups: 202
People Met and Hands Shaken: 352
Pots of tea shared: 22
Prayers joined on the top of a hill: 2
Prayers joined in the street!: 4
Prayers joined in a Train Station: 1
Pills popped: 474
Days until Driving Licence (lost to epilepsy) possibly Returned: 726
And most important of all – Money Raised as at Day 96 – £5,802.77.

Considering I started this challenge 20 weeks ago very quietly with no target beyond a fiver, thanks to the brilliant advice from a friend of mine, I am absolutely thrilled and again thank you all. So far that is £60.44 for each and every day that I have managed to find the will and energy to do something worthwhile and my goodness it has been worth it for my peace of mind, for my healing and for the five wonderful charities you are supporting through your generosity. Long may it continue. May I also ask however that if you are not sponsoring me to please consider it for as much or as little as you can afford. My rate of revenue raising has slowed from £70.00 a day to £60.00 a day so please sponsor me and encourage your friends to as well.

Thank you all for your incredible comments and support. Please continue to spread the word.

If you see me around do please give a cheery hello and shake my hand or toot your horn and give a cheery wave to show your support and encourage me on.
Thank you

Yours aye