It’s not all pubs and Freemasonry, but they are often the best bits…
I have had some amazing support and encouragement from friends, family and and the wider Masonic community since I started this little adventure on New Years Day and I'm very, very grateful. It was always my plan to visit Lodges that are situated on our coastline but I have also tried to be sensible and accept that I'm not going to get into every one of the Lodge buildings. Equally, I have to rely on a good amount of luck to arrive at a given place when they actually have a meeting taking place while I'm there.
As you know, it was always my intention to head back to Lincolnshire in March, May and October, to see my family but also to attend my own Lodges meetings. I would have continued with my walk into Scotland for another week but I had been invited to a Lodge visit in Edinburgh and in Berwick the following day so it made sense to stop walking for now, attend the meetings and head home a bit earlier than intended.
I got back into Endinburgh on the Thursday evening and the meeting wasn't until the Friday night so I had a chance to rest up for a day and do a bit of sightseeing around Scotlands capital city. I did run the Edinburgh marathon back in 2014 and I spent a few days playing tourist with my wife Michelle and my son Lewis but it was a long time ago. Actually, from memory, my body was in bits that time too as we walked the streets taking in sights and the architecture.
I decided on another first this time though, to save some money and to sample the hostel living experience, I booked myself into a 52 bed hostel just opposite Waverley train station. I had originally booked a bed in the 6 bed room and I was surprised to find that the five other beds in the room were taken. I went back into the kitchen which was also the reception to hire a padlock for the locker and asked if they were very busy at the moment, incredibly they weren't, the quietest they had ever been. A short discussion with the young lad and I moved into a 16 bed room in which there were only 2 other people, a much better idea...
I never served in the Navy but the triple stacked beds made it all feel very cramped, not to mention that although there were 52 beds in the place, there were only 4 showers and 2 toilets !!! It was fortunate that there were only about 10 people staying, I can't imagine what it would be like with 52 people rammed into the place. It was nice and clean however and at only £48 for 2 nights in city centre, it would do and I did manage to dry my tent and my kit out. I never considered that they wouldn't have an iron or an ironing board but why would they ??? The place was used by backpacking students on the whole !!! I had a meeting to attend, The Provoncial Grand Lodge of Edinburgh's Installaion meeting which was being held in Grand Lodge and my kit had been in my rucksack for weeks so looked like I'd slept in it. I wandered into town to find a dry cleaners, I found one but they wouldn't let me iron my own clothes so instead I had to chat up Mags.
The first time in over 30 years that I've allowed anyone to iron my shirt !!! I remember my dad telling me when I joined up that I should never let anyone iron my trousers or my shirts, you'd look a bit of a lemon if you were getting ripped a new one on parade because of the state of your kit if you admitted your mum or your wife had pressed your kit !!! Thanks Mags, you are lovely and did a cracking job, no tram lines on my sleeves either !!!
Anyway, a very interesting meeting in Grand Lodge, a second night in the hostel and then back on the train down to Berwick on the Saturday for another Installaiton meeting.
The only reason I was returning to Berwick was because I had heard that the Lodge there worked a very interesting ritual being a mixture of English and Scottish. I had met the Master Elect a couple of times while I was visiting various Lodges in Northumberland and he had personally invited me to watch him being Installed as the Master of the Lodge. The members of the Lodge certainly didn't disappoint the ritual was excellent and indeed, very interesting. I was blown away by the roll of honour in this Lodge, it is usual to see a plaque or a dedication to those members of the Lodge that paid the ultimate sacrifice during the Great War but St David's Lodge No. 393 had lost soo many men.
More very generous donations and a wonderful festive board which went on quite late, these guys knew how to enjoy themselves. I stayed in a really grotty Travelodge that night, I'd rather have been in the hostel but I wasn't overly bothered, I would be home tomorrow and sleeping in my own bed...
I'd been away for nine weeks, walked just under 450 miles and I needed a break. This first leg of the adventure was done, this first attempt at writing a blog had been a challenge and I'd had some good feedback so I hope to make some changes when I return to the walk after a short break.