Mary Rose Campbell’s Walk in Scotland
The Cowal Way
Notes that Mary put on Facebook
Here’s what can happen when a woman “walks into her dream” with Forgiveness Walks. Mary trained for a year with Regina, founder of Forgiveness Walks. Building up from walks around the block to half days at Kennesaw Mountain near Atlanta, to four consecutive day walks and culminating her training with 27 miles of walks on strenuous terrain in two days , she embarked on her trip. Here’s what she reported during her trip!
Scott Campbell and I have completed our first day of hiking. My training prepared me not by the hiking terrain being similar, but by having the physical ability to handle what we faced. Vegetation was sometimes chest high, and frequently we no idea where the trail went. We had to stop and sometimes backtrack as the walk is not well marked. Frieda, our contact through the agency, said that the first day of hiking would be the most challenging terrain, even though the ascents come in later days. I am grateful for great gaiters, (thanks Mike Sheehan) and great poles (thanks Regina Reiter). There is no bad weather, only bad gear. I am grateful for great gear and great friends!!!xoxo
Scott and I have completed day 2 of our hiking trip. It has been an extraordinary day of hiking. Pics will follow if my wifi holds. Our B&Bs have been hosted by extraordinary people. Michael, our host tonight shared of sailing around the world and has relatives in the US, Canada, and Australia. Hiking today started with about two miles of lovely scenery along water’s edge, and then we went thr
ough a section that was as difficult as anything I have done in training, and lasted for about two miles. It took us about three hours to do those two miles. I again was grateful for my training, my gear, and Scott. I didn’t need much help, but his hand up really did make a difference a couple of times. After completing that section,we had 6 more miles of mostly country roads, and met one of the authors of the Cowel Way guide book, who signed our books.
Day three was LONG – 16 miles, and although it was mostly on farm and forestry roads, there was one section through an enchanted forest with waterfalls. I must say that this hike has been magical. I have seen the hole where Alice dropped into Wonderland. I have observed the cottage that was enchanting to Hansel and Gretel, and have seen the castle where Rapunzel lowered her hair. And I personally watched Peter Rabbit scamper around the tool shed at Farmer McGregor’s garden.
Today’s hike had another really difficult section – when they say boggy, they mean boggy. That Scotland has had a lot of rain has that the vegetation is REALLY high and the ground is REALLY wet. Today’s section was on steep land, and each step had to be carefully taken. We had to be mindful to step on top of the grass bunches as all around the bunch might be a step in mud that would go over your boots. That combined with crossing burns (creeks) that were deep and overflowing because of the rain. We saw no one for the first five miles – then met two gentlemen on the trail who were surprised that we had walked the Cowel Way in this section. I am grateful for training – there were really steep secitons as well. Training that helped this section was from Nimblewood Gap to Springer and the back section of Kennesaw Mt to Burnt Hickory.
Our hike is complete. We finished the last 10 miles around 4 this afternoon. Today was the highlight, and as we were on the top of the mountain, having not seen anyone for over two hours, we basked in the beauty of it all. I said, “This is…” and Scott cut me off. “THIS,” he said. “Don’t say anything but ‘THIS.'” He was right. There was nothing else that we could say.