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  • Chris Jones

Day 132, 133. Sun 13th & Mon 14th Aug. Stranraer to Glenluce.

I slept like a log !!! One of my eyes had decided to stop working overnight which will be something to do with my allergies but I woke up alive which apparently is always the best way to wake up... my eye opened when I dunked my head under a cold tap and my blood shot eye retuned to normal by the time I'd finished my bacon butty and two mugs of coffee. Breakfast as well, once again thank you to Matt and Fiona, dinner, bed and breakfast, that was very kind of you both, I'm very grateful to you both. 😍

Matt dropped me back in Stranraer at the start of the Mull of Galloway Trail and while I was sorting myself out I was amazed to read the sign informing me that there is now a path that you can walk from The Mull of Galloway, the most southerly point in Scotland, right up to Cape Wrath which is the most North Westerly point in Scotland. My arse !!! There was the same claim made on the East coast where you can allegedly walk from Inverness up to John O Groats on the John O Groats Way, another fairy tale dreamed up by the sign writers I assumed. All I can say is take up the challenge and let me know, clearly you can walk these routes as I'd nearly managed to do but I can unreservedly assure you, there definitely isn't a continuous path on either route. Don't let that deter you though, I'm sure you'll enjoy the challenge... 🥵😎

Even this small stretch of 24 miles included a lot of road walking, boulder scrambling and overgrown trails where I was nipple deep in nettles, gorse and tick infested soaking wet grass. Perhaps the word 'path' has a different definition when translated into Jockaneese !!! 😏 no matter, I had decided to walk this stretch simply because I wanted to go to the most southerly point as I had already been to the most, easterly, northerly and westerly points so I needed the full set, there was also a Masonic Lodge at Drummore which I assumed must be the most southerly Lodge in Scotland. To keep within my own rule of trying to stay in sight of the sea, I didn't have to walk this odd shaped spit of land, I could have just cut across at the shortest point and carried on walking around the coast. Actually, while I'm having a good moan about the paths, or lack of them, I need to get this off my chest so please bare with me, this will only take a minute.

Being a sickly child, I've had asthma since I was 2 years old which isn't a problem, 51 years of learning, for z long time I've been in complete control of it. I do need to use an inhaler twice every day and I have tried not to which doesn't end well so I have accepted my curse isn't going away, I just need to control the ailment by using the inhaler, trying to keep fit by staying active and trying not to put on weight. Easier said than done being a beer monster that also likes his chow !!! I carry an inhaler and a spare but because I've been away from home for the longest stretch I'd finished one and the spare was getting very low, I knew Michelle had collected my prescription and we would be seeing each other in a week or so but I knew I'd run out before I got a replacement so I'd end up suffering. After researching the contact details for the chemist in Stranraer, I called my doctor at home and asked them to send a prescription, they said they would but then called me back the following day to say they couldn't because the English/Scottish systems don't work together. 🫣 I therefore asked Michelle to take a photo of my prescription and send it to me which I presented to the chemist, explained my predicament and asked if they could help. They agreed to help, asked me to return in 20 minutes but informed me that unfortunately, they would have to charge me for the prescription which I didn't mind as I have to pay for my prescriptions at home, not being entitled to any handouts. I'm nearly finished I promise, here's the best bit...

I returned 20 minutes later, joined the queue again and watched five people in front of me collect their drugs and walk out without paying because of course, following devolution Scotland joined Wales in abolishing prescription fees as they felt it was a 'tax on ill-health'. I got to the front of the queue and the lady, clearly very embarrassed handed me the bill for this single inhaler....

Seriously ??? Naturally I asked her if she'd made a mistake. 50 quid for one inhaler ??? There was an even larger queue behind me waiting for their free drugs, I was standing there dumbfounded clearly in a state of shock not quite knowing what to do so I clicked my card on the terminal, took my inhaler and walked out... I'm not going to swear and get my blood pressure up and I'm certainly not going to get all political about this but wtf ?? I completely agree that I should pay for any medicine I need, why should it be free, the state shouldn't have to pay for my unfortunate ailment but there is something clearly amiss here. If I didn't pay for my prescription monthly I'd pay £9.35 for each item on my prescription in England which clearly isn't even close if the actual cost of this particular item is just short of £50. Does that mean that every item is massively subsidised in England, does this mean that this Sottish pharmacy just ripped me a new arse because I'm English or does this mean, and I fear this is more likely the reason. The pharmaceutical industry are one hundred percent, complete, total and utter robbing bastards !!! Bugger, I just swore didn't I, crap, I just did it again.,. 😡🤬 50 quid for a little piece of plastic containing a thimble full of powder which doesn't cure my asthma, it just helps to control it for next 30 days... Totally mind blowing... I've known for a long time that the pharmaceutical industry has nothing to gain by curing any of us of our ailments, that wouldn't be good for profits would it, much better to try to keep us in a state of controlled comfort without us dying or completely getting better... that'll keep the shareholders happy.

The best bit... scroll back up and look at the receipt... 'The beauty of Gordon's is the price'... 🤣🙄 indeed Gordon, absolutely beautiful...

Anyway, move on Jones, you've been fleeced, get over it and organise your life better in future... so, here's a nice picture of a really good looking, fit and healthy bloke standing on top of of lighthouse on the most southerly point in Scottishland, just to cheer us all up... 😁🤩

There, that's better, can I carry on now ? I'd received a message from a brother living down near Drummore saying to give him a shout when I got close and he would meet me. I wasn't entirely sure what was being offered and he did say in his message that he was busy for most of the day so when I called back I wasn't surprised to get his voicemail. I left a message and having walked 18 miles already I decided to check into a campsite and call it a day, it was raining on and off so I'd finish this stretch in the morning. The campsite had closed but the warden was outside his motorhome so I asked if he had any pitches available for a backpacker, one small tent no electric required... 'Er, yeah, 23 or 24 quid I think it is mate' was his reply !!!

I had a quick check in the reflection in his window, just incase someone had written on my shirt, Please rob me, I'm a moron... 🫣 £23 for a small piece of grass and a shower, what is wrong with these people ? Appealing to his charitable nature, I thanked him, explained what I was doing and that I couldn't pay that much, he just shrugged and said "oh well then, good luck" so I turned and walked away. I had rations, and water, I would wild camp, no big shakes.

I was chatting with an old lady outside the campsite saying hello to her little West Highland Terrier and my phone rang, I was Phil, he would pick me up in 10 minutes, he had a bed ready for me but first we needed to go to the pub, his suggestion, not mine... 🤩🍺 well I wasn't expecting that.

Phil was big ex Navy, ex Birkenhead Fireman with a huge heart. He pulled up, jumped out and gave me a big hug, 10 minutes later, I was in his local pub, pint in hand being introduced to the locals. Mark and Wendy who own The Ship Inn told me to order whatever I wanted from the menu, on the house...

Fed and watered we then went round to the lodge for a look around, Mark from the pub also being a Freemason joined us and so did another ex Navy chap who isn't yet a Freemason but has been invited to join.

Phil then drove us back to his house to meet his wife Heidi and his daughter Eloise and their big daft lab who's name has completely evaded me. What a beautiful family who had decided to leave their roots on Merseyside to set up a farmstead up here on the most Southerly tip of Scotland. They keep cattle, sheep, bees and grow their own vegetables and after suffering the most devasting tragedy a family can probably face, they have decided to concentrate on the important things in life to live the best best life they can. Family and a slower, more sustainable healthy life are clearly what we should all hold most dear but do we ?

After another great nights sleep, Phil took me down to the lighthouse which I was chuffed to bits they allowed me to climb, 120 steps to the top. I'd seen plenty of lighthouses on my walk but I'd never been up to the top of one which was fascinating and offered a great view of the 9 tides. This was a treacherous stretch of coastline in a boat.

Heidi was heading up to Stranraer for a Rotary meeting after lunch so she kindly dropped me off at Sandhead which was back at the top of the Mull of Galloway and I carried on walking around the the top of the Mull. This took me past East Fruegh which was once a First World War airfield for Naval airships, used to counter the extensive German U-boat activity in the North Channel. It later became an RAF armament training base used for training observers, navigators and bomb aimers and I was amazed to learn that 617 Squadron, The Dambusters based in my now home town of Woodhall Spa also trained here testing 'new' bombs on the ranges.

After a couple of hours of walking I realised I was experiencing some increasing pain in my left calf around my Achilles tendon. I stopped to get my boots off to give it a rub to try and work out why it was getting sore but couldn't work it out so carried on. After half an hour of further road walking I experienced what I can only describe as a sensation that resembled a guitar string snapping which resulted in a sharp stinging pain in my Achilles and my leg shot up backwards nearly kicking me up my own back side !!! Oh, bugger I thought... this doesn't feel good... 😫 I'd walked nearly 2000 miles with no real injuries, I feared the worst so after a short break when I applied a good hand full of deep heat, I hobled on for a further 4 miles to a Glenluce where my map showed there was a campsite.

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