Knock on wood

Where do you hide a tree? In the forest of course. Well there must have been the biggest ever game of hide and seek for fir trees going on yesterday. The walk reached the forest stage and several hours and some decent climbs later we exited the green miles slightly hypnotised by the sight of trees. I promise you that at one point I was imagining the forest track was a conveyor belt moving slowly backwards and I wasn’t making any ground at all such was the vastness and regularity of the plantation. Not for the faint hearted or indeed the lover of knowing exactly where you are on a map, pointing to a big green splodge and saying we are in there somewhere doesn’t count as navigation excellence, apparently.

There have been some truly memorable moments in D&G, no not Dolce & Gabbana for heavens sake! First up was a hill farmer who sped up to us on his quad bike with collie dog running beside him just to complete the D&G look. He chatted for a minute or two then he pulled a crumpled note from his pocket and gave us a donation. We then bumped into some guys who were putting the finishing touches to a cycling event in the area and we got chatting, we bumped into them later on and the conversation got quite emotional. I don’t know how often two Scottish males meet for the first time and instead of shaking hands at the end of their conversation they have a man hug with tears in their respective eyes. What the other customers in the Clatteringshaw Dam cafe thought , god alone knows. Gav from “rather be biking” you made a real difference to me and thank you for that (private conversation and can’t share)

The Auld Pub in Kirkconnel welcomed us and if you are driving through it’s the pink building going under the name of the Queensbury Arms, they had raised over £200 spurred on by my new pal Alison Gallacher, a terrific effort. Copies of the Saturday’s Daily Record were lying about the bar open at the page mentioning the Long Straight Walk, I very nearly offered to sign a few. It’s all getting to me!

thats it from Dumfries & Galloway



ps the Roberson household did us proud with some very superior hospitality and lodgings


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