There really was nothing in between. It would have been cheating to put the names of the few houses in between because they were so remotely away from the track that I couldn't really have said I was there. Oh, maybe Cailness—I got close enough to see their coats hanging up and their windows and doors open. I have no idea how they get there though, because there was also no road. No road, but I was able to get a phone signal?
The fact that there was no road was the only reason I was technically on the road. I had no other way to get to the bed I had booked at the bunkhouse here in Inversnaid. But if you thought I was a misery yesterday, you should have seen me today. The following was how the conversation with myself went for the first hour and a half stint—on a loop:
I feel like I am in a cone of cold-induced misery.
Sorry, to hear that.
And this hill has been going up for an hour. How can that be? There is no where to go up to.
I'm not really sure, sorry again.
And I can't even stop and have a break otherwise I will be eaten by the midges. Don't you know that once one of the female little suckers bite you, it makes a chemical deposit so all it's friends know where to find and eat you. I am a marked woman.
Yeah, I can see the marks there. Maybe you shouldn't scratch them so hard.
(Glare) And I only got three or four hours sleep again. Every time I coughed, I banged my head on the top bunk.
Mmm, poor you.
I know, I'd cry but all the fluids in my body have been redirected to my nose.
Excuse me, I am just going to step off this cliff.
The second hour and a half was mostly along the lines of 'oh, maybe the drugs have kicked in, this is okay'.
I was going downhill.
And then the track turned treacherous and back up the hill, and I started to feel sorry for myself. And moan. And some poor guy stopped and asked me if I was okay. I just said: 'I have the flu'. Sorry dude, I thought you were asking for an honest answer. Although the honest answer would probably have been 'I have a cold': flu sounds more dramatic. Then I had a coughing fit while two elderly people raced past me like I had the plague. When I finally got to Inversnaid there was a grand hotel sitting on the shores of the lake (I had thought there was only the bunkhouse), and a little sign that said 'Bunkhouse—one kilometer up the hill from the hotel'. I was almost prepared to forfeit my payment and ask for a room at the hotel. Then I saw a building that I thought was the bunkhouse and started up the stairs thinking 'must have been hundred meters up the hill'. I was half way up the stairs and realised that the building didn't really look like a refashioned church (see left). I started back down to the road with the realisation that unfortunately I had read the sign right. A woman stopped her car and asked me where I was going. I explained my idiocy and she drove me the kilometer (seemed like more) to the hostel. Her son freaked out when I came in and called him by name.
So what to do now? I am sharing the world's smallest four-bunk room with Lisa, from Switzerland, who will be subjected to a night of coughing in exchange for a six am start. She's getting up so early because tomorrow's first seven miles are on a rocky, scrambling path between a rock and a loch. And it is going to start raining at eleven, according to the weather forecast. After five bad sleeping nights, and predicting a sixth, I am not sure a six am start works for me (even though I will hear her rustling her plastic bags then). I am fairly sure a walk along a precipice in the rain doesn't work for me either. My accommodation for tomorrow night is fourteen miles away. I really want to get to seven hundred k's. All these considerations. But I am still tempted to catch the ferry across the loch at the civilised hour of midday, and access the facilities that come with the side of the loch that has a road—buses, trains. Access, not necessarily use. Who am I kidding?
Two more things that I have discovered deet can do: if applied to your red-raw-from-blowing nose, it can make you leap about seventeen feet in the air from pain; if applied to your ears in order to keep the midges out of them, it can then ensure that your i-pod earphones become stuck to the inside of your ears, requiring a rather painful bandaid like removal.
Let's see what a night can do for this green lurgy in my body.
Good night to Inversnaid, good night to you.