I apologise for being so dilatory with posts but since Saturday night when I hitched up with the Gurkhas I've hardly had a minute.
We set off early Sunday and were in good time at Spean Bridge to have a practice of the laying of the wreath at the Commando Memorial. It went off well and the Press were, if not out in force, at least well represented.
Monday we were on the boat from Mallaig to Inverie on Knoydart and the boys started walking about 11:05.
By the time I got back to Spean Bridge, did the emails, and fielded some phone calls, its was time to collected them at the extreme end of Loch Arkaig, which has to be one of the worst roads in Britain.
On Tuesday morning I had a call from STV saying they wanted to come to film the wreath laying. When I explained we had done it, they suggested we should do it again.
Never loathe to turn down a chance to lay down in front of the Press, I agreed we would redo it at 9am the next morning.
It went very well and STV used it on their 6pm news. Its also available at STV North. I am slightly miffed they cut my third spear carrier part....
Wednesday night was spent at Corour, the highest station in the UK. The boys of course walked in , but I had to take the train from Tulloch.We had a great reception, and I caught the train back to Tulloch just as the boys disappeared over the horizon in their midge nets.As an aside, I was wearing a purple sweater, and rather than land on my skin, they clearly found the colour reminiscent of the heather ( just coming out) and formed a complete covering on the sweater without bothering me at all.
The train back in the morning is a request stop, and the only information I could get was that you just put your hand out and it stopped, like a bus. It wasn't quite like that but it did stop - eventually.
The train was actually the Caledonian Sleeper to Fort William, from London, and a youngish man got off the train at Tulloch with me.
Walking along the platform to greet him was one of the most dazzling young women I have seen in a long time, not only for her looks, but her attire. She wrapped her arms around the youngish man and kissed him passionately ( On Tulloch platform at 9am - I ask you!) and as I walked past them I heard her whisper.. " I'm not wearing any...." I hurried away. I could have been socks of course.
One of the boys doing the walk was involved with EOD ( bomb disposal) and one of the areas they have been involved in is the East End of London around Stratford. You might know that the 2012 Olympics are supposed to be there. There are so many bombs left over from the Blitz that the Army can't cope ( it has many more important commitments in this regard as you might realise) and the work has now been put to a private contractor. My informant tells me.." I have this wonderful dream that when they light the Olympic Flame, the whole lot - sportspeople, media, politicians - will all go up in one almighty bang."
We stayed last night in Kingussie in a proper hotel, so we were able to have baths instead of showers. One of the local GWT committee had laid on a reception for us, and we collected over £1500. Nairn RBL came all the way down and handed over more than £800, and a local arranged a raffle for a bottle of whisky which raised over £150. There were a party of Germans staying who had to be persuaded that they needed a ticket - and as luck would have it, they won the bottle. Give them their due, they put £10 in the collection tin.
So today I came over the Cockbridge to Tomintoul road that the BBC always says is closed in the winter. It's easy to see why as its high, steep and exposed - except you can get to Tomintoul quite easily from the other end. People always imagine the poor souls shivering in the village waiting for the spring thaw.
I'm now in Ballater which benefits from Balmoral just down the road - though I have to say the weather this year is identical to last - pouring. The boys set off at 6:20 this morning and I don't expect to see them again until nearly 8pm. Last year, the best moments of the whole week was them appearing out of the rain at Linn o' Dee.
I'm keeping my fingers crossed - they will have done 42 miles of heavy duty by the time they get there.
And we'll be having curry again for dinner...
Give online at www.gwt.org.uk