Knowing that the weather forecast called for heavy rain early that would taper off as the day went on, we decided to take our time in getting started. So we slept in until 8. Fortunately, Lara's not feeling well was short-lived: she woke up feeling great! We had our typical hiking breakfast of cereal (the Kirkhouse staff was prepared with soy milk for us!), mushrooms, grilled tomatoes, potatoes, beans, and toast, and got started at 10 am. It was still raining, but not too heavily.
It rained on and off throughout the day, but never pounding rain. And of the days so far, this was the best one to have to deal with inclement weather. Today's hike had very little in terms of change in elevation - mostly flat until the last mile or two - and it was also mostly paved paths. A majority of the time was spent on a rail-to-trail path, the Strathkelvin Railway Path.
We passed quite a few pastures with cows and sheep and even a few horses. Within a kilometer of our departure, we passed Dunglass, a dramatic volcanic plug.
While we didn't do any Shakespeare tales today, Olivia did decide to learn a Shakespearean monologue as we walked. She and I spent a few hours working on Juliet's 'Gallop apace' monologue, something she needed to learn anyway for her Shakespeare intensive program at the Stratford festival in a few weeks. What an incredible memory she has - it is a LONG monologue, and she nailed the lines. She said that focusing on the words helped her not think about any pain she was feeling in her feet and legs. While we were working on that, Jonah and Lara were behind us singing songs.
The kids also wanted to spend some time without the folks, so they continued making up songs and walking to their own beat.
And Lara and I had a great time too. Even though we were walking in the rain, we were so happy being together as a family and away from the complications of regular daily life that we weren't bothered by the weather. We passed by and under some interesting structures, including this train tunnel.
After we left the rail-to-trail path, we joined the Forth & Clyde Canal path for about 3 miles. The kids started getting hungry while on the path, after we had walked for about 9 miles, so we took a snack break, which fortunately coincided with one of the few breaks we had from rain.
After a few more miles we made our way up the only climb of the day, and we reached Bar Hill Fort and the Antonine Wall. It was built in 140 AD and represents the northernmost part of the Roman Empire. The wall was 39 miles long, 16 feet wide, and 10 feet high! It included 19 forts and was abandoned by about 210 AD,
Remains of the headquarters and baths are still visible.
We all like hiking this part best because it brought us off paved paths. Even the increasing rain didn't dampen our mood. We hiked our way down to our end point for the day, The Boathouse in Auchinstarry.
Another wonderful inn with great rooms and food. Another night with separate rooms, though the kids said that they are looking forward to being all together again, as we will be for the next few nights. After showering and relaxing, Lara and I walked a mile into the main town of Kilsyth to pick up some supplies - snacks and hand sanitizer. Recommendation - always remember to bring hand sanitizer on these coast to coast type trips! The rain started to pick up as we walked back to the Boathouse - not a problem though since everything seems easy when we are walking without our hiking packs. (We didn't list these two miles as part of our mileage total.)
We went down for dinner at about 6. The hostess, Lorraine, was so sweet and accommodating - she made sure that we were taken care of as far as vegan meals. Wonderful! Our first night with something other than Indian food - a welcome change. And after dinner we retired to our respective rooms to read, write in journals, blog, relax, and eventually to sleep. After a slight nap, I wrote my blog and actually lasted until almost 10 pm before calling it a night.
Distance: 13.3 miles
Time: 6 hrs. 46 min.
Avg. Speed: 2.7 mph
Total Ascent: 785 ft.
Total Descent: 756 ft.