As expected, we woke up at 7:30 to rain, and it continued throughout the day. Fortunately, what the Scottish consider 'heavy rain' is not what we would consider it to be - the rain was consistent but not pounding. We had our regular breakfast, with the addition of vegan sausages, and by the time we checked out it was 10 am.
Since our lodging was a bit off the JMW path, the first 1.5 miles of our day were spent winding through Falkirk to meet up with the official path. Fortunately, this gave us the opportunity to walk through the town center, which is a beautiful mix of old restored buildings and modern ones.
We met up with the official path as we turned into the vast property of Callendar Park and House. The park is a historic designated landscape with well-maintained facilities including a play park with 5-6 beautiful carvings done right into the stumps of old trees. The rain stopped just long enough for Lara to get in her daily handstand photo!
We then moved on to the actual Callendar House, the main part of which resembles a 19th century French Renaissance chateau. We spent an hour touring the house, including its maintained 19th century kitchen.
By 11:30, we were back on our way, continuing to wind through Calendar Park. Once again, I wore my trusty Xero Shoes Z-Trail sandals, which were comfortable and allowed me to keep my other shoes dry.
We soon met up with the Union canal and spent the next 6 miles walking on its towpath. While we are not big fans of hiking on towpaths, it is an efficient way to get from point A to point B. And time efficiency is definitely appreciated when it is raining!
The kids did great today and were not bothered by the weather. To make the time pass, Olivia decided to learn another monologue - the girl has an incredible knack for memorizing! And Jonah seemed to have caught on too - without our being aware, he actually had learned it too! It's a good thing that I brought enough Shakespeare stuff to go over - didn't realize that it would be such a big hit!
Soon after we left the canal, we came to the Avon Aqueduct, which was completed in 1822. At 810 ft. long and 86 ft. high, it is the longest and highest aqueduct in Scotland and the second longest in Britain. The water is carried in a deep and wide cast iron trough. We walked along the path, which is on one side of it.
We then descended from that path to follow the River Avon Heritage Trail, which first runs high above the river and then goes down to run alongside of it.
While on that path, we approached the enormous 26 arches of the sandstone viaduct that has carried the Glasgow-Edinburgh mainline railway since 1842.
After walking up through some farmland paths, at 3 pm we came to our lodging for the day, the Bo'mains Farm House B & B.
While our room wasn't ready when we arrived, we were able to put our stuff down and take showers (we're all in the same bedroom tonight and our bathroom is not in the room.) After cleaning up, we called a cab to take us in to the town of Linlithgow to see the sights and grab some dinner. Because it was still lightly raining, we limited our sightseeing to a visit to the Royal Palace, where Mary Queen of Scots was born and lived.
After a stop at a local bookshop to pick Jonah up a new book to read, we went to Cameron Cafe Bistro for a vegan dinner! It turns out that the cafe just started offering exclusively vegan dinners as of this past Monday (during the afternoon it is not exclusively vegan). What a treat! Great food - Mac-n-cheez, pizza, veggie burgers, nachos, and plenty of delectable desserts left us STUFFED!
We decided to walk the 1.8 miles back to the B & B to work off dinner and dessert (this mileage was not included in our daily stats.) I think that the day's walk in the rain and the full dinner really took a toll on Jonah. On the walk back, it was evident that he was completely pooped. After a short pit stop, we made it back to our abode for the night and have been relaxing, journaling, watching a little TV, and reading ever since. Jonah and Olivia decided it was more fun to hang out in the same bed than to do so separately - so much fun to see our kids bond like this on vacation.
It is now 10:30 and time for all of us to call it a night. See you tomorrow!
Distance: 11.3 miles
Time:4 hrs. 6 min.
Avg. Speed: 2.7 mph
Total Ascent: 1,000 ft.
Total Descent: 723 ft.