25 May 2008

Northward Ho!

Two days, six hundred miles and fifteen coffee stops later, we finally get to Sutherland. We couldn't get further north if we tried, unless we sprouted water wings and paddled to Orkney... I am writing this with a view over the sea, just a few miles west of John O’Groats. Cripes, we’re a long way from home. But what a journey! It was one of those trips that reminded you just how rich the UK is in staggering, breath-mugging scenery. At times, I almost wanted to cry it was so beautiful. Could someone indulge me and build a Newcastle to Carlisle canal? Or an Edinburgh-Aberdeen-Inverness Ring? Mine is real ‘landscape lust’ and as we clocked up the miles, hauling over the Cheviots and through the Borders, and then cranking the old Bessie on and up over the Grampians, I’ve been filling my boots! It makes me all the more eager to venture a Pennine crossing as soon as practicably possible, because it’s one of the big omissions on my canals list and any one of the routes is Lady Bountiful as far as orgasmic scenery goes.

Our best chance at the moment looks to be the Huddersfield Narrow. Hitherto, we’ve had a slight problem there because of the Standedge limitations – we didn’t fancy our chances of a) finding a taxi that would take five dogs or b) walking over the top, getting lost and ending up in Halifax. But with BW opting for piloting boats through from next year, this clears the way for us to go back to Huddersfield, something we’ve always wanted to do since we had the old girl at the National in 2002. Blogs such as Martlet and Seyella have also given me a taste for what lies beyond so I may have to be whittling up a handspike before too long.

By the way, it’s 10 o’clock in the evening and it’s still light here. We’ve got some ‘mature’ Czech people in tents across the way and I think they must be reliving last night’s execrable Eurovision Song Contest. This political voting just isn’t funny anymore is it? Terry Wogan, on the other hand, is, and was again the only real reason for sitting through the agony. As for the UK, it comes to something when even Malta (always a bankable provider in previous years) gives you nul points and you're hammered into joint last place by Latvian pirates, Bosnian brides and sunlamped transvestites from all countries beginning with A. Okay, that last one might not be correct....it may even be a slur on transvestites....

Good to see the Edwards frères rising to my challenge of trying to outblog one another. Andy is posting from the top of a mountain, Steve from the bottom of the Stratford canal. Respect, chaps!

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