Day 83 – Linlithgow to Kilsyth

Today’s walk simply followed the canal. The novelty of walking on a flat dry surface rapidly wore off, and as the bridges slowly ticked past I became more and more bored. The scenery was undoubtedly very pretty, but there wasn’t much of interest, except the distant hills (the Ochils?) and the odd heron. I did however see a kingfisher, for the first time ever, and was amazed by its utterly improbable tropical colour – it felt like a good omen for my walk. However, as the morning wore on and still more towpath stretched ahead, my feet and legs became more and more sore.
Fortunately, just as I was starting to lose all desire to live, I arrived at the Falkirk Wheel. This is a truly magnificent piece of engineering and worth a visit in its own right. I sat and ate my sandwiches, marvelling as canal boats were transported effortlessly through the air. Excellent.
Despite the Wheel, by mid-afternoon I was becoming slightly desperate to stop walking on the canal and have a bit of variety, and by the time I reached Kilsyth I was feeling a little crazed.
Kilsyth, at least at shop-shutting time on a Friday, is not a lovely or interesting town; more a dogs-on-strings sort of place. On the other hand, the friendly staff at the Coachman Inn didn’t turn a hair when I staggered in, sweaty and travel-stained, and demanded booze. The pub was full of people having a quick after-work pint (in overalls and/or shirt and trousers) and a smaller group having an early dinner before a big night out. One woman at the bar was wearing a dress which I initially thought was a swimsuit – skintight and cutaway at the back and shoulders. It was hard not to watch her in case she fell out of it, but nobody else at the bar paid the slightest attention.
After a delicious and very big dinner (more haggis fritters, weight loss looking increasingly unlikely on this trip) I headed up the hill to my B&B at Allanfauld Farm. Libby McGregor, who runs it, was incredibly welcoming and my room (in fact a two-room cabin complete with living room and kitchenette!) was lovely. Libby lent me a book (‘Where Does That Footpath Go?’) by Carole Loader, who ran (ran!!!) LEJOG a few years ago and also stayed at Allanfauld. It’s a good read – funny and self-deprecating – and really captured what it is like to do the end to end trail, even if it put my efforts into perspective!
I opted for an early night, having resolved to find an alternative NON-canal route tomorrow.
Highlights: the blue and silver dart of the kingfishers (a second one seen shortly afterwards); wine makes everything better; the warm welcome from Libby at the farm.

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One thought on “Day 83 – Linlithgow to Kilsyth

  1. I want to see a Kingfisher and stay at Allanfauld Farm!! (There’s always *someone* who has run the trail, I wouldn’t worry about it ๐Ÿ˜‰ they’re probably nuts ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) xx

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