Day 48 & 49, Thurs, Fri 23rd & 24th March. Dunmore to Rosyth.
I returned to Edinburgh yesterday on the train after having had a lovely break at home with my family. I'd only been away for 9 weeks but it was lovely to catch up with my kids, grandkids and of course, my long suffering wife Michelle. It felt a little strange to be back at home, my own bed, good home cooked food and no solid plans, other than to relax and get some much needed rest. The sleep was actually more needed than I realised, for the first 3 days I slept solidly for 12 hours each night and also managed an afternoon nap each day on the sofa... appart from walking the dog around the block I hardly did any walking and I never even looked at my rucksack, yet alone put in on my back...
Through a mutual friend, Bob, a Skegness Freemason, I had received a message from a lovely couple that had lived in Skegness for 30 years but had returned to their native Scotland to look after ageing parents. Hazel & Derek had kindly offered me a bed to get myself sorted out and back into the walk. They live slightly inland towards Sterling so I jumped on a tube to get me out of Edinburgh city centre and Hazel picked me up and took me back to their house.
A plan was formed over dinner and a rather nice bottle of red wine that the following morning I was going to walk from their house back to the bridges and cross over the river to Rosyth. I would then be collect and return to their lovely house and then the next day, Hazel and I would walk back to Rosyth but on the other side of the river.
So, that's what I did. I left some of my kit at their house so as to get back into the walk gently with a slightly lighter pack and after Derek dropped me off past the oil refinery I walked back to the Queensferry and Forth road bridge crossings. A light lunch in South Queensferry and then over the middle of the 3 bridges. The Forth road bridge is now shut to traffic, only busses and pedestrians & cyclists while the Queensferry crossing is rammed with all the traffic and the beautiful old Forth Bridge carries the trains. What a magnificent structure and a real pleasure to see so closely while walking accross the central bridge.
Built in 1888 with 55,000 tons of steel it is an incredible structure. It is said that at least 73 people died during its construction, 'elf n safety wasn't all that back then was it...
Once I got over the bridge and up through Rosyth, I'd walked 16 miles which was probably too much on my first day back so Derek came and picked me up, back to theirs for a hot shower and another lovely meal and a comfortable nights sleep. The following morning, Hazel and I walked 8 miles or so on the other side of the river and got as far as Limekilns before we had to finish up so Hazel could get home and so I could get away and get ready for the Masonic meeting I was booked into in Rosyth that night.
Thanks guys for your hospitality, I look forward to seeing you both again when I'm done and repaying the compliment. 🥰
I was met in Limekilns by Peter who had driven up from Lincolnshire to meet his brother Tony who had driven down from Aberdeen. The three of us met at the hotel and nipped out for a lovely Indian meal before visiting the Lodge. A lovely building with lots of Navy history, being based in Rosyth, indeed both Peter and Tony were ex Navy so a good night was had by all. There was no ceremony but a very interesting lecture about Robert Burns, I always wondered what all the fuss was about but now I know. He did a lot for Freemasonry as Freemasonry did a lot for him, a very interesting lecture indeed.
Peter had to get back to Lincolnshire the following morning so after a bite to eat we said our good byes. Tony was going into Edinburgh to see his daughter so he kindly drove me down to Limekilns as we had made arrangements to be shown around the lodge there. What a place, the building dated back to the 1200's although the lodge had met in various other places over the years. I was blown away to see the sitation on the wall of a former brother, also a Sapper in the First World War.
Brother/Sapper Adam Archibald who was awarded the VC for galantry and although injured in action, he actually lived until 1957. What was really interesting, he served in 218th Fld Company Royal Engineers, the sister unit to 219 Fld Sqn RE in which I served. Very humbling and can you imagine the conversation you'd have, sat by the fire supping a beer with such a distinguished chap.
An amazing story and a truly amazing lodge room, definitely on the bucket list to make a return trip to this lodge to watch a ceremony.
Visit done, Tony very kindly dropped me back down to the Forth road crossing where I'd already walked to, the journey continues and I am now in Fife and walking the Fife coast path which will take me all the way up to Tayport where I'll cross the river Tay to Dundee.