Day 82 – Oakbank to Linlithgow

Saying goodbye to Arran, Rowan and Isaac as they dropped me off was very hard. Rowan told me cheerfully to “be brave, Mummy” and with that advice I was off on my own. The persistent drizzle didn’t help my mood but as I walked through the woods it stopped and by the time I got to Mid-Calder the sun had come out.
The walk from there on follows the river Almond, and then a feeder channel up to the Forth and Clyde canal at Lin’s Mill aqueduct, where I had a hasty lunch before the rain started again in earnest. The aqueduct was somewhat nerve-wracking; the towpath is narrow, cobbled and slopes downwards towards the canal, and in the rain it was very slippery. I was too nervous to take any pictures, but I made it safely to the other side and followed the towpath from bridge 19 to bridge 43 for Linlithgow.
The towpath was pretty, but dull – there were very few boats, no walkers, and little to see except empty fields and the trees fringing the canal. It was also very hard underfoot and I was glad to reach Linlithgow.
I had treated myself to a room at the Star and Garter hotel, which turned out to be an excellent decision. An enormous bed, and even better a HUGE bath, which I wallowed in whilst reading PD James. Luxury! The staff were incredibly helpful and friendly and it was a great start to walking by myself. Slightly worried by the prospect of a long canal towpath day tomorrow…

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