stephencanwalk


The 2nd Leg: John O’Groats to Edinburgh (Diary Part II) 第二程: 天涯至愛丁堡步行日誌
July 12, 2007, 10:17 pm
Filed under: 小綠步行日誌 The Walk

7th June 2007 (Thursday) London to Wick

After the Golf Event held on 5 June at the Oxfordshire Golf Club sponsored by SeeWoo Group raised £10,000 for the Islington Chinese Association, I took the 0800 hour train from London King’s Cross to Edinburgh, changed to Inverness, then changed to Wick arriving after 2200 hour.  On the train to Wick, met Herbert, a Sri Lankan locum Oncologist, who was on visiting duties at the clinics in Thurso and Wick.  The retired Oncologist read my map of Scotland with intense interst, he said he may soon return to New Zealand for good.

The fields were blooming with gorse, the sea was deep blue, when mist came after 2100 hour, the slow train was seemingly travelling in fairy land.

Arriving Wick, met Mark who carried sleepingbag and heavey stuff looking for youth hostel.  He intended to walk all the way via West Highland Way and Pennines Way to Land’s End for Cancer Research in 2 months.  His hand was strong and coarse.  Stayed at the prebooked Bramhill Guest House for 2 nights.

二零零七年六月七日 (星期四) 倫敦 至 Wick

六月五日泗和慈善高球盃為依士靈頓華人協會籌募一萬鎊建址基金。六月七日早上八時英皇十字車站乘火車北上愛丁堡、轉 Inverness 再轉有北國燈座之稱的 Wick;晚十時多抵達。對座一位斯里蘭卡籍腫瘤科老醫生,已退休的他仍在做臨時工;他說妻子喜歡蘇格蘭,他卻願再回紐西蘭渡晚年。與「蘭」結畢生緣的老先生,對火車迂迥曲折的旅程,和我帶來的地圖對照,意趣盎然。

澄黃的金雀花萬山招展,白雲繚繞山頭變幻莫測,心神隨著滌蕩不已。晚九時多,雲霧洶湧而至,依稀可見垂陽金輝燦爛,看霧似非霧,花似非花。

抵總站後,遇昂藏青年馬克,一個人背負完整裝備由天涯步行至海角。預期兩個月,為防癌基金籌款;握手互祝旅程順利,手掌厚硬有力。

Day 1: 8th June 2007 (Friday) Wick to John O’Groats to Wick, Rain

I checked the bus timetable and stop to John O’groats last night, there were road works everywhere on the High Street and the Terminus was moved to somewhere I could not figure out.  Therefore I arrived at 0855 hour waiting for the 0923 bus at the bus stop opposite to the Post Office on the High Street; not until 1040 hour a young lady came across the road and invited me to her Notion Salon for a cup of tea.  Pamela Macedie runs the hair salon across the Road and had been watching me waiting for the bus which arrived just a few minutes before my turning up.  The bus stop served only the route to John O’Groats.  She did manage to check with the Transport authority, after many diversion calls, that the last service was at 0850 and the next service was 1240 hour.  And it was someone else, and noone’s, duty to change the advertised timetable.  Pamela kindly called a taxi on my behalf which costed £17.

It was misty and rainy.  Orkney Island was nowhere to be seen, the Island of Stroma lied ahead in solitude.  The hotel where End to Enders used to sign the souvenir book was under renovation.  It was windy and the sea was dark.

At about 1330 hour near Freswick, a middle aged man in his Ray-ban glasses stopped his P470SSK and asked whether I would like a lift.  Though it was raining but this was indeed my first morning of the Walk, I thanked him and continued my walk.  Ventured into the deserted Auckengill pier near Sinclair Bay, it was beautifully tranquil, wild flowers, heathers, birds, gentle seabreeze to mark the beginning of a memorable journey.

The 17 miles walk seemed to be very comfortable.  It rained heavily in Wick.  Had local hake at the No. 1 Bistro on the shortest Street in the World.  A couple pint of Guinness is still the best.

第一日: 二零零七年六月八日 (星期五) Wick 至 John O’Groats 至 Wick, 雨天

昨夜已探路,見到隨處有封路修路工程;找到大街郵局對面的巴士站,巴士班次是早上 0923。早餐時,旅館主人亦致電友人查詢,磪定了是有巴士服務。由 0855 一直等到 1040,巴士站又沒有印上查詢電話;這時在對街經營理髮店的 Pamela 走過來;說巴士在我剛到時已開走了。不無困難地,她致電找出了巴士班次應為 0850, 1240…………. 只是時間表沒有更改而已。只得搭出租車好了,盛惠17塊大洋。

下午一時半左右, 一名型男將車停下來,問我要不要搭車,婉謝了。在 Auckengill 荒棄的碼頭吃餅乾、蘋果;石南野花開在高聳巖石層,千姿百媚,色彩迷離;水鳥、海潮、和風懶懶洋洋…………….. 由天晴行到下雨,下雨又到天晴。

17哩路程一點不難,晚上在號稱世界最短一條街第一樓吃本地鱈魚,還是黑啤可口。

Day 2: 9th June 2007 (Saturday) Wick to Dunbeath, Sunny morning

Cars were tooting all the way, people are used to charity walkers and gave lots of encouragement.  When passing by the E’Swallach on the A99, a machinist McCormat,  with his 2 lovely young daughters the freckled Vienna and Cathy, donated £10 to my chairty walk.  He told me couple of days ago a walker on stilts passed by walking 600 miles for the charity for epilesy.

After Latheronwheel, a gentleman John Tunneh, stopped his car on the way to volunteer at the Rockness concert, to give me a lift.  He said I just passed by his house, he worked for Red Cross and had been posted to Hong Kong for a few years.  His son married a Chinese lady and now lives in Beijing.  He directed me to Janet of the Castleview Restaurant for her kindest assistance.  Janet and her daughter recently owned the restaurant, she kindly droved me back to Mary’s farm house B & B.   Mary is a rustic old lady who told me she had never been to London and that she does not fancy a holiday.  Life in Scotland is always holiday, though she is tempted to visit Land’s End.   The B & B has a green heart trimmed from the tree clinged to the white wall.

Castleview restaurant demands a panoramic view over Moray Firth.  Janet cooked for me the local mackerel.  After early dinner, strolled along the Dunbeath harbour, the mist had already come. 

第二日: 二零零七年六月九日 (星期六) Wick 至 Dunbeath, 上午天晴

輕裝上路,好不愜意。沿路車號響不停致意,想來當地人慣了向慈善步行者致敬。在A99 公路旁一間大屋 E’swallach, 當機械工的 McCormat 正在搬長木板;我問他要不要請幫手,他笑說都快要做完了。他的兩名小女孩很可愛,小的 Cathy 抱著洋娃娃,稍大的 Vienna 滿臉雀斑。 McCormat 還捐了£10做慈善。

將要抵達目的地 Dunbeath, 在 Latheronwheel 時約翰把車停下來,說我剛才經過他的房子;他正要到 Inverness 做 Rockness 音樂會義工,問我要到那裏去。知道我正在找小旅館後,便把我載到憑高覽勝的風之堡找他的朋友珍納。約翰是紅十字會員工,曾在香港待過;他兒子娶了中國媳婦,正在北京做事。

珍納去電瑪麗,找到了宿處後更將我載去。農舍家庭兼做小旅程,憨厚的瑪麗說一生人未去過倫敦,也沒有去的衝動。住在蘇格蘭極東,天天都是在渡假,務農的家一星期工作七天,也不需要假期。白牆外綠樹修成了一個大心,我聳恿她將 B&B 定名為青心客棧。

步行回珍納的酒吧餐館晚膳,她特地泡製了鮮美的鯖魚,大快朵頤。膳後漫步山下漁港,濃霧早已輕巧地掩到。

Day 3: 10th June 2007 (Sunday) Dunbeath to Helmsdale, Sunny

Slept well from 2230 to 0800 hour.  Bid farewell to Mary with the packed lunch.  Passed the serene village of Berridale.  Visited the ruins of Badbea, the cliff side settlement resulting from the Highland clearance.  Life must be tough on the edge of windy cliff and poor soil.  A 17 miles walk again in rural Scotland for the day seemed to be very pleasant and enjoyable.

Stayed at the commune style Rhuard B & B, the owners Peter and Maggie Smith are very capable looking after a big house of nearly 15 rooms.  Matthew, a bicycle mechanics from Leeds, was cycling for a week in Scotland.  He will soon relocate to Bristol for a similar job.  There were also a few builders staying for 3 months to complete a project.  Tried the Scottish Tennant and salmon at the local Inn.  

第三日: 二零零七年六月十日 (星期日)  Dunbeath 至 Helmsdale, 天晴

今日的17哩路相當輕鬆,有了第一程的經驗,心裡是落實了不少。途經廢村 Badbea, 是兩百年前蘇打蘭郡王因着養羊謀利;把村民通通逐走,不少去了新英倫,留下來的就聚居在風極大,土極瘦的懸崖邊。餐風棲雨,生活好不容易。

Helmsdale 遊客不少,青年旅舍和較貴的旅館都住滿了。住進瑪姬公社式的大小客棧;房內還堆着裝修木材,也要£20一夜,算是便宜的呢。近15間房,住了包月的建築工人,行山釣魚客;來自列斯的印籍青年Matthew踩單車假期七天,因為附近二處營地關閉,才被迫住進公社。

晚膳嚐三文魚及本地啤酒,平平。

Day 4: 11th June 2007 (Monday)  Helmsdale to Golspie, Beautiful Day

Maggie packed a lunch box for me for £3.  Walked the first one and half miles to Portgower, then turned to the beach walking all the way to Golspie.  Puffins, seals and wild birds were hanging around.  The Moray Firth was quiet and peaceful.  Passed Brora, Dunrobin Castle and staying at the Bridge Hotel which was looked after by an Austrian young lady.  The small single room was £28 per night, but then she included a hugh packed lunch for me for tomorrow.   Tried the medium raw Scottish steak with salad and vegetable.  The bartender was a local lad posted with a picture naming himself the greatest Boner in Scotland.  

第四日: 二零零七年六月十一日 (星期一)  Helmsdale 至 Golspie, 美麗的一天

瑪姬的簡便旅行午餐收費£3。走一哩半公路,從 Portgower 起沿海邊緩緩而行,担天望地,海燕、海豹、海鷗、海鳥終日伴行,海濤洗耳目,盡得一日風流無賴。

過 Brora 古鎮,從遠而近的 Dunrobin Castle 古堡;住進橋頭酒店,£28一夜小單人房,不連洗手間浴室,其實也不算貴了。做工的奧地利小姐看似無情,其實也古道熱腸,宿費還包含了明天的午餐。晚膳於酒店鋸牛排,不過不失。 

Day 5: 12th June 2007 (Tuesday)   Golspie to Tain to Alness, Sunny in the morning

Rain throughout the afternoon.  Walked south passing through Cambusie, Stelzbo and Embo, Dornoch was where Madonna got married.  A gentleman stopped his Rover and told me we met at Helmsdale!  It was another 3 miles walking to Cuthill (pronounced as cutall) then crossing the 870 meter Dornoch Firth Bridge, the longest in Europe built by the cast and push method.

Bought some bread and banana for torrow at the Co-op in Tain before looking for accommodation.  Tain is a pretty town but very tourist.  Mrs. Roberts had tried hard to telephone all her conncections of B & B and they were all full.  She showed me to the bus stop at the Post Office to catch the 1800 hour bus to the next town before it was too late.  

A respectable lady kissed her husband and boarded the bus, her hushband just came back from Portmouth seeing her dying sister.  The lady could not wait and cancelled her air ticket, taking the bus to Inverness to catch the train to Edinburgh then to London Euston then to Portsmouth hoping to see the 63 years old dying from terminal carcinoma.  The lady was born in Portsmouth, brough up in London, lived in Skye for 20 odd years and Tain for 6 years.

It was only 11 miles from Tain to Alness.  Stayed in a guest house for £25.

Bo Lam called many times with regard to the repair of the freezer at the Chinese Association.  It was agreed to pay £440 cash to have it done within 2 hours.  A new one would normally cost £1,400.

Strangly both knees began to ache a bit, particularly the ligament behind the left knee.

第五日: 二零零七年六月十二日 (星期二)   Golspie 至 Tain 至 Alness, 上午晴天

午後一直下雨不斷。沿海邊小徑直奔 Dornoch Firth Bridge 大橋,橋頭小鎮是流行歌后麥當娜舉行婚禮的地方,小鎮當然也不算醜怪。大橋長870米,是全歐州最長模製壓合技術的樣板。過橋后走到 Tain 才不過五時多,在超級市場買麵包、香蕉等作明天午餐。

Tain 不大但有皇者氣派,竟然所有大小酒店都住滿了。好心的羅拔時太太致電她全城的行家,也找不到一張床;指引我趕六點鐘的巴士到下一個埠碰運氣。氣喘吁吁地趕上了到 Inverness 的巴士;一位大方斯文的女士吻別丈夫,坐到我前面座位。原來她丈夫剛看過垂危的妹妹,從樸茨茅斯趕回來。這位女士原本訂了下周飛機票,恐怕見不着只有63歲的病危親人,連夜由北趕南;人生來去,何其匆匆。這位女士生於南方,在倫敦長大,在天堂島住了二十多年,在 Tain 也住了六年多;一口咬定蘇格蘭又空曠又漂亮。

Alness 是長長的灰色小鎮,沒甚麼看頭,睡一夜也要£25。

寶兒不斷來電請示如何修理中心的冷藏櫃;又是老毛病雪種不夠。修理也要£440, 我傾向買一個新的;但修理只須兩小時包一年保養,結果還是修理好了。

雙膝有點痛,尤其左膝後靱帶有點僵着;睡一夜看看怎樣。 

Day 6: 13th June 2007 (Wednesday)   Alness to Dingwall to Inverness to Aberdeen, Sunny

Wanted a rest day, but still walked a long way to Dingwall, missed a truning somewhere and forced to walk along the busy A9 up to Findon Mains, did not cross the Cromarty Firth Bridge, but instead turned onto A862 which was unexpectedly busy with heavy traffic.  Walking on the A862 was very irritating.  Dingwall was okay, visited the museum but not the McDonnel Monument.  Got on a bus to Inverness.  Next to the bus stand was a No. 305 bus going to Aberdeen at 1630 hour, without hesitation I decided to take a day off travelling to Aberdeen.  The route of about 110 miles took nearly 5 hours and arriving at 2110 hour, but I had the opportunities of seeing many of the fishing harbours and rural towns on the north-eastern parts of Scotland.

It was amazing that I spent more than 2 hours scouring all the 30 plus B & B along Western Road without avail.  All the hotels in the City Centre were fully booked and obviously very expensive.  At least 2 hoteliers advised me to get out of Aberdeen to find a bed in nearby Dundee, for it is impossible to find a vacancy between Monday to Thursday!   I got myself a fish and chip and Coca Cola from a Chinese Take Away, went to the Train Terminus to change into my full walking gears.

It was very warm.  At the station, met an Indian law gradute who was working for BP as an engineer.  He booked a return ticket from London to Aberdeen two and half months ago for £2, he walked through the City in the day and could not find a bed after searching through Crown Street.  He claimed that he did not need to sleep and always prebook cheap tickets travelling to all parts of UK, he is also doing a part time Master degree in law.

I invited Chanx the young law student turned engineer for a drink in the pub, of course he could only have diet Coke.  He seemed to enjoy the noise and hustles of the night, I was actually very sleepy.  We then walked along the main streets after the pub closed at 0200 hour.  There were loads of rubbish and food remains lying on the streets, seagulls were virtually walking on roads and pavement for food.  We returned to the Station Hotel which kindly allowed us to sit in the lounge area.  I dozed for awhile, then was awakened by the thundery snores of Chanx for he had already removed his shoes and socks!  There were a few guests having breakfast as early as 0500 hour.  I was so embarrassed that I woke Chanx up so we could have some fresh air walking to the desolated and locked up Train Terminus.   At the Station cafe, I had a cup fo tea, but Chanx did not have anything.  His train was at around 0800 hour, I bid him farewell and walked my way to the beach.  

第六日: 二零零七年六月十三日 (星期三)   Alness 至 Dingwall 至 Inverness 至 Aberdeen, 晴天

腿有點軟,還是行了不短路程。經過繁忙的A9公路,心想就不要過 Cromarty Firth 大橋,轉入A862一定會稍為舒服。誰料到 Dingwall 的這一段路偏偏重型車多路窄。Dingwall 市還算不錯,看過博物館,就沒有勾留的打算。剛好有巴士到 Inverness,不客氣地上了車。在 Inverness 巴士總站下車,便看到鴨巴甸的305號巴士,下午四時半開車,九時十分抵達。這是我一直想去的地方,亳不思索上了車,放假一天去了。

110哩左右的路程,何須五小時車程?但汽車跑遍了沿岸的漁村小鎮,大開眼界;高高低低的山城,藍天碧海;到了鴨巴甸天色還大放光明。花了兩個多小時找遍了半個鴨巴甸,都找不到住宿,心知不妙。不少酒店員工都說星期一至四,不訂房是絕對找不到房間的,勸我趁早趕巴士到登地碰運氣。

既來之則安之,明知這里是沒有天黑的,要混過一夜也不難。趕忙在華人外賣店買了可樂薯仔魚;飽餐后到簡陋的火車總站,就地換上全套三夾底禦寒裝備,外加冷帽皮手套。其實鴨巴甸六月十分暖和,加衣不外是心理作用,物盡其用而矣。

在火車站遇上印度人Chanx,自稱是京士頓大學法律系畢業生,在英國石油公司做工程師,兼修法律碩士課程。超人也,可以兩個星期不眠不休;二個半月前以£2訂了倫敦鴨巴甸來回火車票,用這樣的方法跑遍英國。車站十二時關門,兩個人都暫時無家可歸,我帶他到市中心的24小時便利店,也是由一名印度人看顧的。Chanx說要吃一點實在的東西,但是找了半天都立不定主意。我們到了酒吧喝啤酒,他一回兒說不渴,又說只要水喉水,最後還要了減肥可口可樂。他對舞台上表演手舞足蹈;我又熱又睏。

酒吧凌晨兩點鐘關門,我們在滿街滿巷人群中穿插;小便、食物殘渣到處皆是,碩大海鷗通街覓食不畏人。天色未暗凌晨三時多太陽便出來了。走回車站旅館,管理人員也讓我們坐在廳中梳化。Chanx毫不客氣除鞋除襪,打雷一樣鼾聲四起,這位自稱不必睡眠的人令我這位過路同行人萬分尷尬;酒店還有一批客人早上五時便在地下餐廳吃早餐。忍無可忍之下,把他吵醒了,一起走到火車站吸新鮮空氣。

早上六時,火車站尚未開門,我在巴士總站小茶吧喝奶茶,Chanx甚麼也不要。喝過茶,我說要到海邊去。

Day 7: 14th June 2007 (Thursday)   Aberdeen to Inverness, Sunny

Strolled leisurely at the tranquil and calm Aberdeen beach, liners were moving slowly into port from a distance.  I was thinking where to have an Angus steak in the early morning!   Went through the shopping centers and bought a lip stick at Boots!  Got the 1100 hour No. 10 bus service to Inverness this time going through the glens and hill top towns.  The green green journey still took 4 hours. 

Stayed at Room No. 7 at the Ardlair B & B at 53 Fairfield Road, the owner Mr. McDonald had been serving in the Army stationed in Singapore for 3 years in 1949!  The pleasant double room costed £30.  Dinner at the John Foxes Pub and Reatuarnt on the River having Salmon catch of the Day, and of course couple pints of Guinness.  There is the Jimmy Chung Buffet next to the Pub, and I found this famous brand name in the prime sites in Aberdeen and Edinburgh train station.

This would be the most relaxing day of sight seeing and good food, and good early rest!

第七日: 二零零七年六月十四日 (星期四)   Aberdeen 至 Inverness, 晴天

清晨在鴨巴甸遼闊海灣漫步,天長地久,睡意全消。心裏想着怎樣才可以吃到著名的鴨巴甸牛排早餐。

在商場混混,在 Boots 買了最廉價的閏脣膏。乘搭1100點班次的十號巴士回 Inverness.  這條路線不沿海走,卻從高原綠地直跑尼斯湖;也要四個小時才跑它110哩。

在河邊遊客众多的約翰狐酒吧吃當日落網的三文魚,配黑啤也不俗。酒吧旁邊是 Jimmy Chung 的自助餐廳;這位鍾先生的生意經看來不俗,不單在愛丁堡火車站前有,鴨巴甸也有分號,可能還有開在其它地方的。

住在舒適小旅館頂樓七號房;主人麥當奴1949年從軍時,曾駐新加坡三年。

一日愜意車程、美膳、沿尼斯河左穿右插、早睡一定很甜。

Day 8: 15th June 2007 (Friday)   Inverness to Tomatin, Sunny

I asked to have breakfast at 0830 hour.  However, I switched off the mobile phone alarm at 0755 hour and went back to sleep, springing up at gentle knocks on the door.

This section of the National Cycle Route No. 7 was a good walk.  Started at 1000 hour, as I passed the River Nairn and joined the straight B9154 down the hill from Craggie, a spaniel ran from the field following me for 5 miles.   As the spaniel had no intention of leaving me alone, after passing May Hall, I found a lady just unloading stuff from her car and 2 kids were playing in the large garden.  I asked the lady to look after the dog and looked for its owner, the lady kindly shut the gate and kept the dog while she was still busy with her chores.  However, I knew that the dog would run away from the garden and continue to follow me, but I am no Dick Whittington, I can’t even look after myself and in no way can I keep a pet dog!  Within a couple of minutes, the kind lady drove with the 2 kinds to collect the dog, there was a collar plate on the dog but unfortunately without contact details.  She got the dog in the car and would send it to the police.

Rested at the beautiful timber railway bridge at Moy viaduct.

Passed the Tomatin Whisky Distillery.  Stayed at the only B & B.  The owner Lin’s husband and son were running in the annual sponsored Tomatin Run.  The lady who looked after the stray dog probably was a teacher of the nearby school, for she was coordinating the run and told me that the police had put the dog to the kennel.

Dinner at the busy local pub, had steak and tried the Tomatin single malt. 

第八日: 二零零七年六月十五日 (星期五)  Inverness 至 Tomatin, 晴天

昨夜一定睡得很甜。0755點將鬧鐘按停,0830就不知道起床;聽到敲門聲才霍然起立。十時起行,行錯路自然不在話下,今次錯有錯著,行程縮短了幾哩路。橫過 Nairn River 河,上山下山;這一段全國第七路單車徑頗為優美。從 Craggie 山上往下走,轉入B9154公路時,一隻醒目的垂耳狗從田野跑過來;一直跟著我五哩路。眼見勢色不對,經過梅廬後,見到一名女士剛泊好車,花園內有二名小孩和狗隻;只有央求女士收留頑皮犬。她關上花園鐵閘,滿以為大功告成。但我行不過十步,小狗又神出鬼沒地走在前頭。幾分鐘后,那位好心女士連同兩名小孩,駕車來將小狗逮捕,將它送到警察局去。

經過梅河,靜觀重修后的唯一火車木橋,保衛古跡,莫此為過。

經過當地威士忌酒廠。找到唯一小旅館,£25一晚;女主人蓮的丈夫和兒子都要參加黃昏時舉行的一年一度慈善大賽。觀看賽事時,見到那位捕犬女士正在指揮號令;可能她是該區的教師。她告訴我警察已將小犬送交狗房看顧。

村內唯一酒吧餐館星期五晚頗熱鬧,吃牛排喝黑啤,淺嚐 Tomatin 威士忌,不過爾爾。

Day 9: 16th June 2007 (Saturday)   Tomatin to Aviemore, Gloomy

It rained hard last night.  Hope there would not be serious floodings in the Mid-lands and other areas.  I tried to stick to the cycle route as the heaven was opened all day long.  At Carrbridge met Ross Aitken from Glasgow who was doing his End to End Walk into the 7 weeks and 1 day.  A property management consultant who was walking for personal pleasure.  He camped most of the time and just came down from the mountains because of wet weather.  Hadn’t met another End to Ender on the way, he was excited to take picture with me and donated £10 towards the charity walk.

Boat of Garten is also a greenish town.  Aviemore is fantastic for it aura.  Staying at an ensuite single room at the Ravenscraign Guest House, Grampian Road PH22 1RP for £28, a very pleasant room.  At last tried black rock dinner with Angus steak, Best Haven beer at the Cairngorm Hotel, the dinner was very nice.

Heathers could be found beginning to bloom in the mountain high, the glorious honey suckle was crawling all over the window of the guest house.  Very pleased to learn that Meeling Ng had been awarded OBE for services to the Chinese community, an honour well deserved and overdue for an unsung hero.

第九日: 二零零七年六月十六日 (星期六)   Tomatin 至 Aviemore, 一天大雨

昨夜濠沱大雨,希望不會導致更多地方水浸。只好乖乖依單車路線走,恐怕其它山徑難走難認。Carrbridge 那條古橋還在,遇上格拉斯哥來的 Ross Aitken, 也是天涯海角步行者,從康禾郡行了七星期另一天;住宿山野,只因雲霧太低才下山。從事地產實業買賣的個體戶,步行只是他的樂趣。途中還未碰到一個像他這樣的行者;不單和我合照,還樂捐了£10。

途經綠意盎然的 Boat of Garten,Aviemore 就更加氣象萬千。晚宿寬敞的單人套間,Ravenscraign 小旅館金銀花盛放;不似高山之顛的石南花,忸怩地只露數點粉紫。終於在同街的 Cairngorm 酒店,吃到了黑石烹製的鴨巴甸安吉斯牛排,蘇格蘭 Best Haven 啤酒也不俗;吃的愉快,睡的安穩。

Day 10: 17th June 2007 (Sunday)   Aviemore to Cairngorm to Newtonmore, Misty

Had Scottish breakfast with light porridge, egg and bacon on beans for a change.  To start a gloomy day to the Cairngorm,  the 6th highest mountain in UK.  Got on the 1016 bus from Aviemore to Cairngorm, then the funicular railway to the top.  Enjoyed a cup of Cairngorm cholocate at the hill top restaurant surrounded by thick mist.  At least you had been there, the pictures posted on the wall demonstrated spectacular and panoramic views when the sun was shining.

Arrived Newtonmore quite early by bus, all the B & B were full.  Booked into the 50 rooms Balavie Sport Hotel, the antiquated hotel charged £79 per night and £87 for bed and breakfast.  The senile owner Bill was at the reception, it was negotiated down to £30 a night with breakfast.  The 3 courses dinner at the hotel costed £16.50 in which the mushroom starter was okay, the salmon was below average…………  Had a walk to the top of the Black Cat Walk, the town was not very impressive. 

第十日: 二零零七年六月十七日 (星期日)   Aviemore 至 Cairngrom 至 Newtonmore , 一天迷濛

天氣預測大雨,山上視野迷糊。來到這里,不去英國第六最高山,最大最新國家公園白不去。吃過蘇格蘭早餐,有麥片,還有蛋醃肉黄豆等,稍改口味真是好。乘1016點巴士到山腰,轉搭纜車到山頂;迷霧一片,為了安全和保護山嶺,山上許亂闖。喝一杯 Cairngorm 朱古力,欣賞四周涼霧,樂得一片閑靜。周遭圖片展示晴天時一覽众山小凌雲氣魄,指點江山,勝概豪情;一一歸於平淡空濛。萬物靜觀皆自得,四時佳景與人同,還要忙和趕些甚麼?

搭巴士老早到了下一站 Newtonmore, 沒甚麼看頭,沿山的黑貓徑也沒甚麼。奇怪就是小旅館都客滿,不知是那裏來的遊人。找到又大又殘的 Balavie 酒店,老板威廉兼侍應經理,價錢是£87一夜,不包早餐也要£79。正在維修的酒店,人事兩閑,經驗告訴我是毫無道理這麼昂貴的;細細地磨,終於議價至£30連早餐。看他這麼好老板,於是步行后光顧了酒店的三道菜晚餐;物無所值,徒呼奈何。

雙腿都有點累,尤其是左腿韌帶。

Day 11: 18th June 2007 (Monday)   Newtonmore to Dalwhinnie to Pitlochry, Sunny & 20C

Heard my snores!  Started walking at 1000 hour leisurely towards Dalwhinnie, the small and grey whisky town.  Train station was not manned and services were infrequent, the small B & B did not look in business at all.  The path was then uphill towards Drumochter Pass, and it was not within walking distance to the next town for accommodation.  I asked the not too busy Post Office Submaster and he pointed to me the bus stop more than a mile away on the A9 main road.  Fortunately I still have about 30 minutes rushing to the main motorway to catch the 1538 hour coach No. M91 to Pitlochry.  It costed £7.40 for the short single journery.

Pitlochry was amazing, it has been a tourist spot since the 2nd World War.  I settled in the Youth Hostel at Knockard Road for £14.40, a nice Victorian house overlooking the town and spires and far away mountains.  Dorm No. 10 had 4 bunks, but Managress Linda let me stay on my own as I was an exhausted walker.  She told me a gorup of 44 American young students just left in the morning, and more American groups are coming in couple days of time. I was being lucky filling in the gap!

Strolled around the Salmon Ladder, the beautiful swing bridge built in 1913.  Dinner at the Victoria’s Restaruant recommended by Linda, tried the tasty Scottish mussels and beer. 

Wind pipe music was audible from the hill top Youth Hostel, which was the best lullaby. 

第十一日: 二零零七年六月十八日 (星期一)   Newtonmore 至 Dalwhinnie 至 Pitlochry, 陽光燦爛,氣温攝氏二十度

鼾聲如雷,醒而一笑。十時起程向着 Dalwhinnie 緩緩而行,除了威士忌酒廠外,小鎮無甚可觀。火車站無人看守,班次異常稀疏;小旅館似乎尚未營業。那位郵局局長有點煩地說長途汽車站在公路上,並無多餘解釋。其實巴士站在小鎮以外一哩多的山上公路,若非剛好還有點時間,急行軍般才趕上了1538點到格拉斯哥的長途車,至 Pitlochry 單程票價是£7.40。如果不趕車,就有前不見村,后不見店之虞。

Pitlochry 確是一見鍾情地迷人,原來二戰時經已是渡假勝地。山上的維多利亞年代青年旅舍憑高望遠,山巒環繞,塔尖遠近俯仰,盡得形勝之美。舍監蓮達說早上才走了44名美國小學生,明后天又有美國學生團接踵而來;遇到空閑是我的幸運。她說我是行者,讓我一個人住平靜的十號倉,內有碌架床四張,連廁所、浴室;每晚收費£14.50。

除了1913年的鋼鐵吊橋,發電廠又修築了三文魚梯級,30多道特製水閘讓三文魚了以勇力溯遊,回到冰凍上游產卵。晚嚐蘇格蘭青口及啤酒,不錯。

山上可以聽聞悠揚風笛聲,乃最美妙催眠曲。

Day 12: 19th June 2007 (Tuesday)   Pitlochry to Killin, Wet

Walked through the mountain to Strathtay, however, after 2 hours I was back to square one approaching the Pitlochry Power Station.  Very fustrated.  Had soup of day at a busy cafe, then took a bus to Aberfeldy, then changed bus to Killin.  It was 5pm when arriving Killin.

The villiage looked calm and comfortable at the far end on River Lockhay.  I got off the bus at the village center and checked in the Craigbuie Guest House, the first one I walked in, at Room 5 for £27.  The ladyowner recommeded me to the family run Shutters Restaurant for dinner.  I was stucked to a small table facing the corner while there were other tables unoccupied.  A fat guy occupied a table for 4 next to the window.   The restaurant did not sell beer, Guinness, etc.  I ordered a steak at £11.95 and a quarter size Chilean red wine at £2.80.  Paid by credit card and did not leave any tips.

Walked to the river and the Youth Hostel.  The Youth Hostel did not look busy, talking to a guy from Glasgow who was on holiday.  But after last night I would prefer to have my own room, although it was not ensuite.   

第十二日: 二零零七年六月十九日 (星期二)   Pitlochry 至 Killin, 濕

一位來自德國的退休男英語教師請食德國甜蛋糕。他駕車來回米蘭至 Orkney 十多次,因為認識石廠東主,讓他可以搜集化石;每次來都裝滿了自用食物。為人單純熱情。

計劃穿過高山橫行至 Strathtay, 孰料行了兩個多小時,又走回了 Pitlochry 發電廠,真係冇氣。在市中心繁忙咖啡室喝一個例湯,便乘巴士到 Aberfeldy, 再轉到 Killin。近河的酒店酒吧看來相當不錯;在市中心下車時 (其實都是同一條直直的街),我走進了第一家旅館。£27一夜也算了;女主人介紹我對街的家庭式餐館 Shutters,我也去了。不算忙碌的餐館,把我安排面壁對三角牆而坐小檯,而一名肥佬旅客卻獨占窗前四人圓檯。又沒有啤酒,只售紅酒白酒,一瓶75cl自然嫌多;要喝啤酒除了開懷灌溉之外,實在是補充水份。這樣氣氛的牛排也不會好得到那里,18.75cl智利紅酒也喝不出所以然。信用咭付帳外更不予小費。

河邊漫步,走過不甚忙碌的青年旅舍。一個人睡一個房間,真的是幸福呢。

Day 13: 20th June 2007 (Wednesday)   Killin to Callander, Rain & rain till late afternoon

A good night sleep and woked up at 0820 hour.  Walked in the rain for the wrong way for 1 and half miles to Cuildochart and returned.  Still raining amidst taking a bus going to Callandar.  Another tourist town, a few B & B charged £25 + £10 single occupancy for a room, many others were full.  Jacquline the Managress of the Dreadnought Hotel, part of the Oxford Hotels & Inns, learnt that I was a charity walker, reduced the tariff from £35 to £25.

After checking in the hotel, I walked all the way to the Callandar Craig, took a pictur of the 1897 Quuen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee Cairn.  All they way there were a lot of flies and mosquitoes.  Then I wandered futher to the waterfall on the River Blackeriff, and adventured into the huge forest along the bank of the river valley.  After three quarters of an hour soldiering forward creating my own path, the muddy soil and fallen trees were becoming more treacherous.   It was approaching 1800 hour with plenty of light for another couple of hours, but it would not be nice lost in the woods without the usual gears, for I took this as a leisure walk and carried nothing except water and the mobile phone which had no reception in the dense forest.  I returned the same way back to the wooden bridge and found a local lumberjack wearing a blue Scottish Cross T-shirt sitting there waiting for his mate.  He told me my lost path would lead to the top of another mountain forest many miles away.  I realized I had a lucky escape of staying a night in the pine forest.

To start with, the 2 waitresses at the Old Bank Restaurant kept me standing for 10 minutes before ushering me to the table where I was waiting.   The Guinness was canned which tasted banal, though the salmon was good; again paying by credit card and left no tips.     

第十三日: 二零零七年六月二十日 (星期三)   Killin 至 Callandar, 雨午後轉晴

雨中走錯路其實不算錯,來回不過三哩,真的豈有此理。大雨中巴士到,一路到了 Callandar 另一旅遊勝地。較好的小旅館早掛客滿牌,其它的要收單人附加費£10,由£25變成£35。不服氣下,找到了巴士總站前的 Dreadnought 大酒店,也是£35包早餐。女經理積琪蓮知道我是善步行者,自動減至£25。

放下行李,輕装走上山上;雨後蚊蠅滿天追随,毫不寂寞。走過1897年紀念維多利亞女皇崗陵;繼續前走看山上瀑布去。橫過木橋后,心想沿河往下走,一定可以回到谷底市中心。起初還有跡可循,看着湍急河水沿岸拍石,無天無地,做隱者可也。山中本來無路,雨后泥濘鬆落,壞木愈來愈多,又沒有仔細地圖,流動電話失效;帶了清水也幫助不大;這里源頭清澈的河水一定安全妥當。這樣又一路摸索前進,天未黑,雨已停,就算山中留一夜,應該不會有猛獸,不會凍死吧!話雖如此,酒店房間早付了錢,強迫自己在山中留一夜也不化算。幾經掙扎,趁迷途未遠,死死地氣往回爬走,最怕是失足跌下急流,神仙難救。走回木橋時,見到一名穿蘇格蘭旗波衫青年,自稱是本地木場工人,剛從對山松林走回來,在等同伴。他說沿河無路,只會走到對面高山松林。好險,只是這樣亂闖一回,來回已兩個小時。假若筋疲力盡,心謊胆怯時,不知是恁地一回事。

晚在舊銀行改裝餐館用膳,呆等了十分鐘才被招呼坐下。黑啤又是罐裝,喝得一肚氣;三文魚還不錯。這般二位女侍應,看顧不到十檯客;除了簽咭外,還要付小帳嗎?

Day 14: 21st June 2007 (Thursday)   Callander to Aberfoyle, Cloudy, Sunny & Warm

Rained heavily overnight, cloudy to start the day, sunny and warm all day.  A most pleasant walk of about 15 miles through the meandering glens and lochs to the land of fairies – Aberfoyle .  After 6 hours of liesure walk with mini breaks, I know I should be approaching the destination in due course.  At the last twist a road sign pointed sideward going up the hill, and I ventured with suspicion.  I did consult my compass, for I only know I should be going more or less southterly most of the time.  As I returned from the top of the hill, I encountered a couple walking their dogs thus confirmed my suspicion.  I checked the road sign and discovered that someone had put the loose sign post back to its anchorage in the wrong direction.  After putting the sign post back to the right position, I descended to the Fall of Little Fawn in Aberfoyle.

Stayed in a triple room at the Craigmore Guest House looking over the meadow and the river.  The young owner Teresa was very warm and asked me to use the single bed only.  Salmon dinner at the Forth Inn and tried 3 brands of Besthaven beer.  The salmon was as good as last night’s, but the presentation was better although it was a couple of pounds more expensive.  All in all, I loved the pub for its causual and relax atmosphere.  Although the Inn was busy, the staff coped very well. 

第十四日: 二零零七年六月二十一日 (星期四)   Callandar 至 Aberfoyle, 晴天多雲炎熱

一夜大雨,早上多雲,陽光普照時炎熱可人。走十五哩迂迴山嵐湖泊路程到神仙之地,賞心樂事,這一段六小時閑庭信步,來得不易。過了郊野公園,將要扺達 Aberfoyle 時,最后一個路標指向東面上山,雖然我看指南針只懂南北,也知道目的地是偏西。內心存疑,反正不會走多遠,一於上山多看一個景點。有時因著伐木或其他工程,改道也是有的;但這一大段觀光車路,都是只准向前駛。從山中轉悠回來時,剛好遇上一對男女陪狗散步,証明了我走錯了方向。

回到路標處,見到地基鬆脫,有好心人士將傾倒四方木路標放回原位時,方向錯放了九十度角。我將路標擺放回正確方位,加些石頭固定地基,向著神仙之地進發。

住在 Craigmore 小旅館三人房,年輕的主人杜麗莎請我只睡單人床,樂於從命。房間窗戶對著青蔥山坡和小河;晚上幾哩路外山上的酒店燈火璀燦,黑幕上掛著錠錠黃金。租金又廉宜。

晚到熱鬧的 Forth Inn 酒吧吃三文魚,和昨天晚上的一般美味,但出菜更具心思;配三種不同的 Besthaven 啤酒,別饒風味。自由灑脫的酒吧風情,正合心意,吃得特別過癮。酒吧雖忙,但打理得不疾不徐,大概是酒香四溢的緣故吧。

Day 15: 22nd June 2007 (Friday)   Aberfoyle to Drymen to Dumbarton to Glasglow, Mixed weather

Teresa asked me to eat as much as possible for the Continental breakfast.  Afterwards I walked about  13 miles to Drymen, then took a bus to Balloch.  Looked around the peaceful Loch Lomond, then took a bus to Dumbarton for £1.45 intended staying for the night.  It was cheap to travel between Loch Lomond and Glasgow for a Day ticket of £3, but I did not purchase the Day ticket because on the map it clearly showed there were accommodation in Dumbarton.   Indeed Dumbarton was a degenerating town with very little going on.  The only problem was the incapability to locate the few B & B in the town, they simply disappered.  I walked for 2 miles without finding one, and the roadside hotel would charge over £55 for room only, and that the Travelodge was full.   Very discouraged I then waited for a bus to Glasgow, and a gentleman told me it only costed £1.30 from there to Glasgow.  For I only have spare change of £1.50 in my pocket and I thought this must be enough for a single journey.  The bus came but the single fare was £2 and I was stucked.  The driver was indifferent although I told him my story, he simply said £1.50 could get me as far as to Renfrew.  He would not do the change for a £10 note, but I was reluctant to alight at unfamiliar places.  Fortunately a kind lady chipped in 45p for my fare and asked why did not I purchase a Day ticket in the first place.  She left at Clydebank which was birthplace of the Singer sewing machine.  I could not get change of the £10 note to repay her, she said that I could leave that for other charitable deeds.

It rained in Glasgow.  The Holiday Inn Express would charge £68 for a single room, the Chinese lady at the reception kindly showed me the way to the Euro Hostel at Jamaica Road.  It costed £14.95 for a bunk bed in a dorm of 14 beds.  the expereince was not bad for all of the travellers and backpackers were behaving themselves and did not really smell.

Most of the pubs did not do food after 1945 hour in Glasgow City.  I ended up  at a window seat at the Drum & Monkey looking out the bustling Renfrew Street & St. Vincent Street.  A steak was a steak when you had an itinerant day.

Got rashes of 3 in a row at the neck and the right wrist, later on the left arm.  Were these stress related?  One thing for sure was that I am a person culpable to embarrassment. 

第十五日: 二零零七年六月二十二日 (星期五)   Aberfoyle 至 Drymen 至 Balloch 至 Glasgow, 天氣變幻莫測

女主人盛意拳拳要我吃飽才上路。 步行十三哩到 Drymen 山城,轉乘巴士到 Balloch。 露紋湖又大又漂亮,徘徊良久才轉乘巴士到 Dumbarton,打算停留一夜。日票無限次數來回不過是£3,單程票價經已是£1.45。 登巴頓像一個沒落的城市,無精打采;一邊問人一路找了兩哩路都不見小旅館,一間酒店收費八十多鎊一晚;稍為合理的旅客酒店也要£55,還全滿。來回走在大路,唯一選擇是南下到格拉斯哥。

一同候車的老人說到格拉斯哥收費£1.30,我袋中尚有碎銀£1.50;一心以為到了大城市再算。一小時一班的巴士到了;司機說單程票價是£2,我的錢只夠到 Renfrew。面臨無房可捿的我,人地生疏,怎敢隨意下車。我說£10紙幣可否找贖,司機的撲克臉孔全無反應。僵持不下之際,有兩名女士開腔問尚欠多少?其中一位爽快地給了我45便士。我向她解釋沒有購買日票,原本是打算留在登巴頓過夜。又沒有人可以兌換十鎊紙幣,她說留著幫助別些有急用人士好了。好心女子在 Clydebank 下車,那是勝家縫紉機的發源地。

格拉斯哥下着大雨,狼狽走到假日酒店,單人房也要£68以上,早餐欠奉。接待的年青中國女孩指點我到背囊宿舍。一個大倉住十四人,£14.95一晚;大城市居大不易,更是星期五晚上,張就好了。雖然十四人擠在七張上下格床,背囊客大多安靜;我下格床的更是來自莫三鼻級建築勞工,明天一早要開工。

酒吧七時四十五分后就不賣食物!幾經波折,才坐在猴子與大鼓酒吧,臨窗溜覽雨中 Renfrew 街和聖雲遜街景。這時的牛排真像牛排;經過整日一番折騰,還想要求甚麼?

早上起來,頸項和右手腕都長出了一行三粒的紅疹,痕痕癢癢,不知是否和壓力有關連。唯一可以肯定的,自己不是一個可以抵受尷尬的人。

Day 16: 23rd June 2007 (Saturday)   Glasglow to Falkirk to Edinburgh, Sun & Rain

Some did snore, some slept naked.  Most of them did not have a shower.  Curtain was pulled, torch was used.   In early morning, the canteen was full of travllers from all corners of the World. 

Went to the Tourist Information Office and got a booklet on the Forth & Clyde Canal and the Union Canal; then took a train to visit the wonderful Falkrik Wheel at the juction of the 2 Canals.  Have a jumbo hotdog and chocolate under the giant wheel.  Then walked along the scenic Union Canal from Falkirk to beautiful Linlithgow where I could stay for the night.

The Strawberrybank B & B clearly put up a notice of no vacancies, but I still had to try my luck.  The gentelman owner was having dinner with his family, he said these 2 days are the Festival of the Highland Show in Edinburgh, the busiest time in the year.  He tried all the hotels and B & B in the area, as far as Falkirk and Edinburgh with no avail.  His advice was to get a train to Edinburgh and tried my luck.  Therefore I may end up with the Glaswegian experience the night before in Edinburgh.

The train journey took only 30 minutes.  Not without difficulties I ended up at the Belford Hotstel which still maintained largely the original church fixtures.  This time it was a mixed dorm for 6 people.   Have dinner at the Ryan’s Restaurant at the beginning of West End.  Andrew & Avril Sweeny from Fife was on a day holiday, sitting next to me, said they planned a walking week to Fort Williams next month.  They owned a mini cab service in Fife, upon learning about my charity Walk, donated £5.

第十六日: 二零零七年六月二十三日 (星期六)   Glasgow 至 Falkirk 至 Edinburgh, 陰晴無定

一宿無話,有打鼾、有裸睡。早餐人頭湧湧,來自五湖四海好不熱鬧。到旅遊諮詢中心拿到了運河地圖,可以從格拉斯哥沿河行到愛丁堡。先搭火車到兩條運河滙聚點高地,順道參觀 Falkirk 的巨輪,可將整條船連河水搬高數百呎,不用傳統水閘就可以調轉航道。巨輪下吃珍寶熱狗和熱朱古力。

沿於仁運河向東行約十三哩,到了美麗的 Linlithgow,找到了由一位本地牛津畢業老師介紹的士多啤梨岸小旅館,真的別緻;誰知卻掛了客滿的牌子。經已下午五時多,唯有硬着頭皮敲門,請求指點迷津。正在和家人用膳的男主人,見我是無車無錢的行者,打電話尋遍了城裏城外的旅館,也找不到一張床。他說這兩天正值愛丁堡舉行每年一度最盛大的高地節,他的旅館早就滿了。折返格拉斯哥不是辦法,他勸我趕快趕火車到愛丁堡碰運氣好了。

火車便宜,不消三十分鐘到了愛丁堡。拿着26日的倫敦火車票去問換票手續,才知道非常昂貴;暫且打住,先待一晚再算。歷盡艱辛才找到了不近的 Belford 青年旅舍,教堂的規模和裝飾仍在;今次住的是六人男女同倉。

走回近市中心的 Ryan’s 餐館吃餐。旁邊坐了一對從快富來渡假的安德老和阿苗,他們經營出租車生意,下個月計劃步行一百哩橫跨蘇格蘭。他們知悉我是樂行者後,從結帳後的盤子拿給我五鎊。

Day 17: 24th June 2007 (Sunday)   Edinburgh to Londom, Miserable weather

Had a cup of tea and 2 toasts for £1 at the canteen.  The Brazilian girl at the counter was very nice.  However, noone seemed to know the way walking back to Linlithgow from the West End.

I tried to negotiate the way back in the rain to the Union Canal without luck.  It was Sunday, the bus driver told me there was no bus service near to Linlithgow.  My fancy idea of returning to the Strawbeery B & B was not sustainable.  Eventually I walked back to the Waverley Station with my return train ticket to London dated 26 June 2007 at 1300 hour costed £25.  The Booking office said the cheap ticket was not of much use and a single train ticket to London would be very expensive, even a Sleeper train with seat only would cost £86.  Then I went to the Coach Station, an experienced lady told me the overnight coach starting at 2200 hour would cost £26.50, and for a senior traveller the ticket would be reduced to £15.50.  I immediately bought a ticket for the evening and left the train ticket to her for good use for other people.

Much relaxed knowing that I could sleep in my own bed 24 hours later, I bought a day bus ticket for £2.50 and got on the No. 16 bus to Colinton, then returned and had a quick Sunday Turkey Roast at Ryan’s with couple pints of M’Ewan.  At 1440 hour got on No. 44 bus to Musselburgh in the East Lothians, the place where the next Prime Minister attended secondary education.  From there returned to Balerno past the Pentlands.  Then took the No. 34 bus to Ocean Terminal where the Scottish Executives was.  Later on changed to bus No. 16 to Silverknowles for the western harbour development.  The bus journeys traversed through the City and suburbs of Edinburgh for a cost of £2.50, it was really an eye opener in which it would take many days and weeks to walk.  It was comforatble sitting at the front on the higher deck of a double decker wandering aimlessly in a rainy day.

The overnight coach was packed.  The Chinese girl sat next to me put on an eye pad and slept all the way with saying a word.  The coach arrived London Vcitoria before 0600 hour in a sweet morning.     

第十七日: 二零零七年六月二十四日 (星期日)   Edinburgh 至 London, 風雨滿城

花一鎊在餐廳吃奶茶多士早餐,看檔的巴西女孩很友善;但不知道於仁運河在那裏。風雨裏找來找去都無所得。等到巴士時,司機說星期日沒車到 Linlithgow;我一心一意想走回頭,多謝那位士多啤梨岸旅館主人,住一夜,再從那裏起步行回愛丁堡,剛好二日日程。算了。

雨中走到火車總站,售票員說我持有26日的廉價車票有等於無;就算是只占座位的單程通宵火車票也要£86。其實先后問了多次,答案也是一樣,死心算了。再走到長途汽車站看看情況如何;一名經驗豐富的中年女士說星期日只有晚上2200時通宵長途車到倫敦,票價£26.50;她抬頭瞧我一眼,說要問一個尷尬問題,問我有沒有50歲;這樣票價就會變成£15.50。購了票,我把26日的火車票交給她,或許讓有需要人士急用。

放下心中重擔后,我知道自己最喜歡做的事;買一張£2.50的巴士日票,坐在雙層巴士上層最前位置,好好地看這個城市。首先坐上16號到 Colinton,回來后在昨夜的餐廳吃星期天烤火雞,喝當地啤酒。午后1440點速速坐上44號巴士到 Musselburgh, 那是繼貝理雅后做英國首相的布朗成長的東方海岸。再回程去到西便高山的 Balerno。這時我才明白要找那一段的運河其實不易;又搭34號巴士到海運中心,那是蘇格蘭議會所在地。再乘16號去看西邊海港建設的 Silverknowles.

晚十時到倫敦的長途車座無虛席。身旁的中國女孩戴上眼罩,一動不動,一言不發;清晨六點未到,汽車已駛進維多利亞車站。

When will the Ends meet?  May be next year!

天涯何時才遇上海角?  一生一世的追朌! 



Land’s End to London (Walking Diary Part 1) 第一程: 海角至倫敦日誌
June 4, 2007, 10:41 pm
Filed under: 小綠步行日誌 The Walk

end-to-end-walk-2.jpgend-to-end-walk-1.jpg                                 Land’s End in the morning 8 May 2007     二零零七年五月八日早上海角起程 

7 May 2007 (Monday)

Driven to Penzance by Katy Tse-Blair on the public holiday Monday.  Stayed at The Bay Hotel Penzance and had a delicious meal. 

2007 年五月七日(星期一)

一口氣由依士靈頓華人協會創辦人謝錦霞從倫敦載送到康禾郡 Penzance。  宿半山酒店。

8 May 2007 (Tuesday) (Day1) Heavy rain in the afternoon

Land’s End to Praa Sands.  A short drive of 10 miles from Penzance to Land’s End.  A group of some 20 cyclists were also preparing their End to End trip escorted by car.  After signing off at the log book placed at Land’s End Hotel, marching off along the coastal route towards Penzance at 11 am.  The view was breathtaking, but it doubled the time to meander along the ups and downs coastal path.  Lunch at Lamorra Pottery tried the local Nelwyn Crabmeat sandwich and a large pot of tea.

After lunch, a farmer on a tractor very kindly took me to near Penzance!  I tried to make up the late start and resorted to partly walking along the A394, then the rain came and made the first day more adventurous.  I walked into the open door of Mzima B&B at Praa Sands as I was the only guest for the evening.  Room charge was £20 and the owner Michael took me to the Coach and Horses Free House and return for £2.  I had a beeftail and 2 pints of Guinness to complete the first day. 

2007 年五月八日(星期二) (第一日) 午後大雨

在海角酒店步行者日誌上留言,拍照出發。同時有一單車隊20多人,打算兩星期內到達天涯;還有指揮汽車随隊。Land’s End 沿海不難行,但高高低低路線就長多了。康禾水藍山青,空氣清鮮。午膳於當地小店,嘗紐崙蟹三文治。午膳後一農夫載我一程。

第一日趕路,顧不得看太多風景;且下午連續大雨。狂奔找到 Praa Sands 一小旅館,館主接載到回頭路酒吧;吃牛排及兩大杯黑啤。

9 May 2007 (Wednesday) (Day 2) Rain

Praa Sand to Truro.  A very good sleep.  Started at 8.25am to Truro via Helston.  (Floral Festival was held yesterday at Helston!)  Tried to avoid the A394, but lost my way on several occasions and the field paths were very muddy.  Had garlic susage, green salad and Cornish ice cream for lunch at a country shop near St. Chians & Sitthians.  The local shop owner kindly showed me the old Truro road all the way to Truro arriving at 7pm.  Stayed at the Bay View B&B for a twin room.  Dinner tried the Cornish Knocker Ale and Sardine at the Globe.  Legs were really tired.  Test tried the Chinese herbal oil given by Yuet Ha, an Islington Chinese Association member.  

2007 年五月九日(星期三) (第二日) 連續大雨

真好睡。七點半吃早餐,八點25分起程。想回到海邊但迷途多次,田野泥濘。中午吃冷餐蒜頭香腸、菜沙律及當地雪糕。店主指點行舊路,一路到Truro,已是晚上七時。找到小旅館後,嘗當地啤酒及沙甸魚。夜雙脚小試會友李月霞贈送葯酒。

10 May 2007 (Thursday) (Day 3) Rain

From Truro to Indian Queens.  Strayed on the way to within 2 miles to Newquay.  Very annoyed with myself.  Then negotiated the way to Newlyn East, have garlic bread and  large pot of tea at the Pheasant Inn.   The Newlyn East Post Office Master very kindly gave me 2 local maps and I walked my way through the rain to the destination.  Stopped at St. Enoder Church and wondered why there was a service in the late afternoon.  A Manchester United supporter said his sister, another MU supporter would be married on Saturday and they were rehearsing.  They were from Indian Queens and he twice urged me to take a lift, I reluctantly accepted, for I did not want to wet and soil the car seats.  Stayed at the Racorny Hotel for £20.  Tried the busy New Garden Chinese Restaurant nearby, you should have known my verdict on the food. 

Tony Blair announced he will stepped down as Leader fo the Labour Party at the end of June.

2007 年五月十日(星期四) (第三日) 連續大雨

天雨,八時四十五分出發。明明是從 Idleness 森林出發,怎知卻偏西幾乎走到了 Newquay;好一段來回十里路!垂頭喪氣捱到了 Newlyn East,喝過大壺茶蒜頭飽後;到當地郵局找局長老頭問路。行行重行行,行到古舊的 St. Enoder 教堂避雨。看看男女老少出出入入;問穿着曼聯球衣青年人在攪甚麼玩意,原來是他姊姊星期六結婚,正在綵排。剛巧他們住在距離二里的印地皇后區 (Indian Queens), 死拖硬拉也把我這名曼聯擁躉送到目的地。

姓黃的新園中餐館開了十多年,地方不少,生意也不俗。點了雜滙飯和青島啤酒,水準也是意料之中。是日首相貝理雅宣佈將於六月底辭去工黨黨魁職位。

11 May 2007 (Friday) (Day 4) Heavy Rain

Fron Indian Queens to St. Breward.  Started at 8.30am arriving the Camel Trail at aournd 2.45pm.  Stopped at the Borough Arms for tea and recess from the heavy rain.   When approaching St. Breward at 7.30pm with very weary legs, there were no B&B vacancies around the foothill area.  I had to climbed the steep hill to look for a room.  First found Bob’s Tarny for a double room with panoramic view for £30 (discount from £35), afte walking another 3/4 miles to the very busy Old Inn (the only Pub in the village) it was fully booked becauce there were a wedding party on Saturday!  The chef at the Old Inn owned the B&B.  Fortunately I could secure a room by phone at Tarny and settled down to enjoy my local Sharp’s Doomber Bitter and the Rump Steak.

2007 年五月十一日(星期五) (第四日) 連續大雨

八時半出發,下午約二時四十五分抵達駱駝驛道,非常靜謐舒爽;雨勢更大;躲進酒館喝茶避雨。晚上七時半左右抵達 St. Breward 山腳,只想找小旅館;偏偏最大一間正在維修。只有硬着頭皮爬高山,又碰到明天有婚宴,吃住兩難。幸好還是找到了一間景緻開闊的雙人間;在村莊唯一酒館吃大餐。那一座康禾郡最高的教堂,也無心觀賞了。

12 May 2007 (Saturday) (Day 5) Heavy Rain

St. Breward to Launceston.  Had fruit breakfast.  Delayed departure at 8.45pm because of heavy rain.  All the way up the Moors, lambs were with their babies, white ones, black ones, what a caring motherly scene.  One also experienced the stares of the cows.  Walked all the way into Camelford Town, went to the Tourist Information Center, got some cash from Natwest Bank automatic machine.  Had cream tea at the Four Seasons owned by a Mr. Chan from Hong Kong.  Chan first came and stayed with relatives in Newcastle then started his business at the quiet town of Camelford couple of years ago.  After lunch negotiating the uphill path back to Rough Tor.  When I was enjoying the vastness and openness of the Moors at the National Cycle Rout No. 3; Cliff, an old miner from Derbyshire now lives at Tregoodwell for more than 20 years,  was driving his wife June to shop at Launceston in thier blue 5 doors T798JCV.  He insisted to give me a lift to Launceston.  But I thanked him and requested to be dropped halfway.  Finally it was compromised that he would drop me at Pipers Pool.  It took me another 2 hours to walk to Launceston.

Found an attic room 6 at the Eagle Huse Hotel next to the Castle for £37.  Have a delicous fish & chips (Haddock, the peas mash was especially tasty) at the Launceston Fryers with John Smith.  Jane Noble, the young female fish fryer of the yer 2005, came out to say hello.

There was another wedding at the Banqueting Hall and the music did not stop until really late.  I applied nearly all the Chinese herbal oil on both legs and hopefully the lingering smell would not be too strong.  

2007 年五月十二日(星期六) (第五日) 連續大雨

大雨,八時四十五分出門。從高山走向荒野,空無一人。小小羊兒依憑母親,舐犢情深。現在才明白牛咁眼望着你;步行多里下山到駱駝城 (Camelford)。找旅遊諮詢中心、提款;在四季餐室吃下午茶。靜坐河畔;主人姓陳,香港來先住紐卡素,茶室開了數年。

午茶後再爬山走回 Bodmin Moor, 正在欣賞 Rough Tor天蒼野茫景色;一名住在附近的前打吡郡礦工 Cliff 和他的太太 June 駕着藍色五門轎車正要到 Launceston 購物,硬要邀請我一同前往;幾經妥協,才將我放到一處叫 Pipers Pool 的地方;再步行二小時,下午五時左右到了 Launceston.

這是康禾郡古時首都,酒店在廢堡旁邊,住在閣樓六號房,也要£37一晚。是晚外出吃出名的炸魚薯條,那個青荳蓉最好吃 (這個我通常是不大吃的)。酒店有婚宴,勁浪響徹半夜;我替雙腳搽月霞所贈葯油,一睡到天明。

13 May 2007 (Sunday) (Day 6) Heavy Rain

Launceston to Okehampton.  Heavy rain delayed departure till 9.30am.  There is no bus service in and out of Launceston, therfore no matter which day you started, walking is the only means of transport for backpackers.  Walked past part of the 2 Castle Trail and the Granite Way, then reached the very pretty scenic spot at Sourton and the Meldon Viaduct.  Rain stopped at 4pm but raining again at 6.30pm.  The 13th century thatched Bearslake Inn is stunning, but closed for the day at 4pm so I missed my tea.  Stayed at an attic room at the Meadowlea Guest House for £27.50.  Had salmon fillet at the local Flune Feathers Pub.  Walked from Cornwall into Devonshire at last!  Recorded interview by the Manchester Chinese Radio.

2007 年五月十三日(星期日) (第六日) 連續大雨

大雨,整個城市沒有巴士服務,任何日子出發都只有靠行路。四小時雨中,終於到了漂亮的 Sourton, 黄花遍野,紫杜鵑盛放;Meldon 交滙點斧鑿神功,也從康禾郡踏入了德雲郡。午後曼城中文電台訪問。晚宿 Okehampton 小旅館閣樓,和洗手間、浴室相連;鄰房一法國青年人公幹租住九個星期,每次沖廁的聲響都清晰如奔流。

14 May 2007 (Monday) (Day 7) Overcast

Okephamton to Crediton then Tiverton.  Got lost at the Abbeyford Forest.  Then detoured to visit the beautiful village Sampford Courtenay, a thatched village related to the Bible Rebellion.  Had tomato soup and ham salad at the quiet New Inn.  It just happened there is an infrequent bus service to Crediton, it was huge relief by having a comfortable and timely bus ride, seeing many more small villages and the wide fields without moving your legs.  Since the route form Crediton to Tiverton is not regarded as scenic, I simply waited for the old, medium size and infrequent bus meandering into Tiverton in the evening.  Stayed at Bridge Guest House, after searching for cheaper options for more than an hour with no avail, at a discounted rate of £22.  The steak at the White Ball downed with Guinness was a wonderful treat.  

2007 年五月十四日(星期一) (第七日) 天陰

在森林裏迷途,一氣之下跑了五里路,去看地圖上註明美麗的千年村落 Sampford Courtenay,茅頂房舍,曾遭皇帝殺戮摧毀的千年教堂;也改變了只靠行路的心態,有機會溜着看看風土人情,閒談十數分鐘,更是樂趣。美麗古村竟然有不頻密的巴士服務到目的地。坐巴士的感覺真舒服,東看西看就到了 Crediton。我不太歡喜從那裏到 Tiverton 的步程;發現有巴士貫穿兩地,雖然巴士又殘又小又不頻密,又有何相干。

在 Tiverton 天使山找到橋頭酒店,雙人房收費£40。  不服氣下找了個多小時也找不到其他客棧;唯有死死地氣回到 Bridge Guest House,女主人 Susan 和顏悅色地說剛好有一小小單人房,而且從£25減為£22一夜。今夜的牛扒和黑啤特別美味。幾乎用完了月霞送的舒筋活絡油。

15 May 2007 (Tuesday) (Day 8) Rain

Tiverton to Taunton.  Walked in soaking rain for 2 hours from 9am.  Passed through Langford Budville, another villiage mentioned in the Doomsday Book.  The Devon Walk along the Grand Western Canal was pretty, swans with their chicks, serenity at Sampford Peverell to Halberton.  Walked from Devonshire into Somerset.  Spent the night at Joseph Mo Szekeung’s Willow House at Taunton.  Mrs. Mo prepared a sumptuous Chinese dinner and red wine, their daughter Susan was also summoned back for the soup of the night. 

2007 年五月十五日(星期二) (第八日) 又是雨

九時出發,一直淋了兩小時。沿着西域大運河向東北行,看到占據不同河域的天鵝家庭,Sampford Peverell 至 Halberton 一帶美靜,經過千年古村 Langford Budville, 愈接近森麻實山脈,景緻愈開闊。Taunton 詩人巫仕强及女兒蘇珊來接,巫夫人烹調美食,柳蘆一宿無話,又聞鳥語花香。 

16 May 2007 (Wednesday) (Day 9) Rain

Taunton to Street.  Mo kindly showed me the path to the Bridgewater & Taunton Canal.  The foorpaths were very muddy and some of the fileds and footpaths were declared as new calf danger zone and closed.  Thus with my limited knowledge in maps I was destined to be lost.  Wandered into the small hillside village of Knapp, a respectable older lady gave me a pound for my Charity Walk.  Walked into the wrong and opposite direction to Ham, then turned back again and again towards North Curry.  Had lunch at the posh A Bird in Hand Pub.  Then 2 and quarter miles to Stoke St. Gregory leading to Burrowbridge, then Middlezoy.  This is a muddy and complicated path covered by 3 different explorer maps as illustrated in Andrew McCloy’s book.  I could not cut through the A361 to turn right at the Greylake Bridge to follow King Sedgemoor’s Drain until Cradle Bridge.  I was extremely wary about the speeding traffic of the A361. 

I did not know how, after a long walk I ended up at a caravan site at Othery.  I asked an older man Daivid Williams and his wife how to avoid the busy traffic.  David was from Wales and now lives in Somerset, they were unloading their stuff and then collecting  friends from Dover for a trip to Wales.  He could not think of an alternative way for safe walking, therefore he drove me in his R57YYA car to the junction of the A361, approximately 3-4 miles away.  From there I walked by the back road to Street, passing the Holy Trinity Church at 6.10pm in Walton.  Street was another mile away.  A really long and narrow Street.  Hotels were very expensive. The Wessex Hotel which was under renovation still charged £65, though I managed to negotiate the tariff to £37.50 including breakfast.  Dinner at the next door Mullions Hotel was quiet with good local food, it did not come cheap though.     

2007 年五月十六日(星期三) (第九日) 都是雨

行路難,行泥路更難。仕強兄指路,很快便走進田野,因為小牛剛出生,農莊主人把去路封閉以免危險。很快便失去了 River Tone 的踪影。走進了山上小村 Knapp,一名端装不太老太太贊助我一塊錢作慈善步行。卻不知怎樣不懂得轉彎,一直往下走到了 Ham, 唯有再回頭往山上走到 North Curry。  這裏的人一定不窮,地方名稱都和食物有關。那間叫一鳥在手的酒吧,顧客全是衣冠楚楚的老紳士淑女,酒保幾乎不願意接待我。

午後再步行至不近的 Burrowbridge 和 Middlezoy;跟着幾經艱苦才找到A361;但這條主幹公路實在太彎太窄,多巨型車車速又快。查實正在 Othery 一處流動汽車營地;一對年紀不少的夫婦正在搬運車尾箱物事。來自威爾斯的 David Williams 現住在森麻實;他也想不出安全的步行路徑,好人的他就親自用他的R57YYA私家車送我一程。他稍後還要到都佛港接載友人,然後到威爾斯去。

Street 顧名思義是一條東西很長的街;第一印象就是警車經常出沒,感覺上問題青少年的反社會行為頗為嚴重。酒店都很貴,已沒有精力去找 B&B 了。住那間正在維修,要由後街門出入的 Wessex Hotel, 也要£65一夜不包早餐。講價之下才減到£37.50包早餐,那麼早餐的質素如何猜想可知。到隔鄰更貴的 Mullians 酒店晚餐。

瞓街 (Street) 時發覺右腳二趾及尾趾,左腳尾趾趾甲皆有血漬。步行至第九日,肩膊開始感到壓力;本來不重的背囊,卻像忽然重了一倍有多。 

17 May 2007 (Thursday) (Day 10) Overcast

Street to Bath.  Visited the Clarkes Shoe Musuem opposite to the Hotel at 10am.   Went to the Tourist Information Office and bought an OD map of Skepton Malet & Mendip Hills East.  However, after reaching Glastonbury, I picked up the National Cycle Route No. 3 and decided to walk all the way to Wells.  A cyclist gave me a choice of highlighters for good luck of the End to End Walk, I of course chose a green one.  Walked up to the Mendips by the infamous Long Drove Rhyne to Launcherly, really a long long drove for more than 2 hours walk of unchaged landscape looking southward the Glastonbury Tor.  Cream tea at the Bekynton Brasserie in front of the Wells Cathedral.  Then took bus No. 173 to Bath at 1643 hour arriving at 1800 hour.

There is a Bath Backpackers Hotel, the young lady very kndly explained to me for a 10 people dormitory the charge is £13, 8 people dormitory is £15, and for 4 people it will be £16.  I then realized I had well passed the age of living in a large dorm!  The Bath YMCA charged £25 for a basic room only including simple continenal breakfast.  Dinner at the Sam Wellers for a Stilton Steak at £8.95 was good value.  I left the green highlighter and the OD map of the Mendip Hills to the YMCA for better use. 

2007 年五月十七日(星期四) (第十日) 天陰

這裏是其士鞋的發源地和總部,上午參觀了它的鞋子博物館;少不了也有中國的三寸金蓮紮腳小鞋。到旅遊中心買地圖,跟着向井 (Wells) 和浴室 (Bath) 進發。經過世界聞名的 Glastonbury Tor,到 Wells 途中,一名單車友任我選擇一支螢光筆作為長征護身符;我當然選了綠色。Wells 的大教堂名不虛傳,但在它大門前的茶室的水準只是差強人意。行單車公路也乏味,在 Wells 搭巴士到 Bath。

旅遊名城巴芙當然不俗。大街上找到背囊團旅館。年輕的女孩告訴我十人房只收£13, 八人房£15, 四人房£16。這時才深切感到我也早過了公社式的大鍋飯年代;和陌生人同房再不是容易事。地點適中、設備原始的青年旅舍收費£25,有簡單早餐,算了不願再找了。反而晚膳選擇不少,豐儉由人。

18 May 2007 (Friday) (Day 11) Rain

Bath to Melksham.  Left the YMCA at 9.15am.  The first person jumped into the Tourist Information Centre, a lady gave me the leftlet of the Kennet & Avon Canal showing the detailed path from Bristo to Reading, a total of 108 miles.  87 miles from Bath to Reading.  Joined the free local tour from 10.30am-12.45pm.  Had a Wiltshire ham salad before ventured along the Canal going East.  Stayed at another Doomsday village at the Conigre Farm Hotel in Melksham at a reduced rate of £50 for B&B.  A 400 years old farm house of 8 bedrooms run by a young couple.  My spacious room was called David Copperfield’s Lounge.  Had fillet steak at the next door West End Inn also called the Hungry Horse.

2007 年五月十八日(星期五) (第十一日) 天陰、大雨

第一個進入旅遊諮詢中心,拿到了由巴芙到雷丁的運河路線圖,87哩路約四天總可以走完。早上參加了巴芙免費導遊團,講解動聽。午後吃過 Whitshire 火煺沙律,隨運河向東走,走到了千年古村 Melksham;好不容易才找到了一間有400年歷史,由農舍改造酒店,我的房間竟然是狄更斯筆下的大衛高柏菲爾套間,窮小子住闊屋,減了價還要£50一夜。吃了牛扒餐,早早睡一舒服好覺。

19 May 2007 (Saturday) (Day 12) Rain & Sunny

Melksham to Pewsey – a wonderful day.  After breakfast, started walking 45 minutes back to the Kennet & Avon Canal!  Caught a pair of swans with their 8 chicks enjoying sunshine on the bank.  The amazing 27 locks at Devizes, 16 middle locks at Caen Hill will take more than 4 hours to get through.  Had Soup of the Day and a larrge pot of tea at Caen Hill Cafe.  Hurried up to the Barge Inn at Honeystreet to catch the FA Cup Final between Chelsea and Manchester United.  The prolonged boring game ended 1-0 at extra time for a Chelsea win.  Then after a couple of miles walk, at 7pm I was ready to call it a day and saw a B&B notice board leading to the Golden Swan Pub.  I thought it must be Pewsey.

I asked a gentleman who was reversing his car from the front court garden near the road entrance to the village for the pub, he pointed to me the direction and sped away.  Within no time, the middle aged gentleman came around and pointed the location to me again, he began counting a stack of money and gave me £20.  He said he had a lot of respect for charity walkers.  When I walked into the pub, the pub master kindly said that there are only caravan and camp site B&B for travellers.  However, in beween serving his locals, he tried to make several phone calls from his phone with no avail.  He wrote down a couple of telephone numbers for me, but highly recommended the Wilcot Lodge to me since I am in the Wilcot village.  Of course, I coud not find the church, and an older lady at the end of the Church Road very kindly pointed me to the end of the Road.  I still could not locat the Wilcot Lodge, but then a young couple were going to walk their dogs when I spotted them at the end of the Road.  The gentleman was very warm and said that he would look up the Lodge for me, for it is their neighbour and it was virtually 5 yards from where we were standing.  Dogs were barking inside the house, a really nice garden and the private B&B only took reservations through the internet.  However, there was no response from the household and noone answered the phone, and the young couple had not got their neighbour’s mobile phone numbers.  Orlando Harris and his wife Laura kindly invited me back to their typical thatched Wiltshire house to make further phone calls, Orland invited me for a drink and I had water.  At last Laura thought of a friend Caroline Dalrymple at number 29 High Street opposite to the Lloyds Bank at Pewsey.  Orlando drove me for  2 miles to the B&B in his Benz Y356Nam (what a coincidence the car plate is my Chinese name, and my brother-in-law is also a Harris!)    

Caroline is 70 years old, very alert and runs her memorabilia shop on the ground floor.  A big house and the room was very cosy although it costed £35.  She believed in education, obviously not a Labour supporter, and sent her 3 children to private eduaction and make themselves useful.  She keeps 3 playful dogs and one of them jumped into my bed the next morning and my screaming was the alarm bells.

On that Saturday evening, all pubs did not do food, and the famous French Horn is a mile away.  I settled for fish and chips from the local Chinese Dragon Take Away.  I could not finished the chips. 

2007 年五月十九日(星期六) (第十二日) 晴天有雨

走回運河也要45分鐘。中午抵達運河最高點 Caen Hill。在 Devizes 一帶有27道水閘,最頻密的中段有16道;通過它要四個半小時;真是人行快過艇。喝過湯喝過茶,趕到蜜糖街 (Honeystreet) 的酒吧看足總盃决賽車路士對曼聯。一場悶戰加時由車路士勝一比零。

再趕路後看到金天鵝旅館招牌,經已七點鐘,匆匆按圖索驥。在村路口問一駕車中年男子,他指點後又轉駄回來,給我£20贊助善步行。找到了酒吧旅館,原來是只為蓬車和露營人士服務; 但店主仍千方百計替我找住宿地點,最後還是推薦給我本村的 Wilcot Lodge 最好。我依樣找不到教堂的尖頂,街尾的一位老婆婆顫顫巍巍地給我指路。到了街尾還是找不着教堂和 Wilcot Lodge。一對青年夫婦正準備放狗,他們熱心地替我敲門;狗在吠卻人跡沓然;原來屋主是他們的鄰居,花園又大又美,房舍莊園十分寬敞,只在互聯網上做廣告。阿蘭度和羅娜請我回到他們温暖的茅屋,請我喝酒喝茶,東翻西找到打電話找旅舍。最後找到了羅娜的朋友嘉露蓮的B&B;阿蘭度更親自送我到兩里路遠的 Pewsey。他的車牌正好是我的名字 Y356NAM, 而他的姓夏路士 (Harris) 和我的妹夫又是一樣。

70歲的嘉露蓮獨守大屋,樓下還開了雜架攤;養了三頭活潑小狗,帶頭的大請早一躍跳入懷中,驚破我的好夢,其實還有五分鐘才到早餐時間。

20 May 2007 (Sunday) (Day 13) Warm & Sunny

Pewsey to Newbury.  After breakfast and reading the newspaper.  Bid Caroline farewell at 9.20am.  Arrived Hungerford Bridge and found the John O’Gaunt Inn, had a large roast lamb and large pot of tea.  Started walking again at 3.30pm and arriving the Dundas Arms by the Canal at Kintbury at 4.30pm.  King Kong from the Chinese Channel did an interview with me to be broadcasted the next day.  At 6ish Joseph Wu from Spectrum Radio did another live interview with me.  Had simple pub food with the TV crew at the local pub.  Staying the night at the Guywood B&B at Newbury, Berkshire for £35 for a triple room.  There was a notice on the front door saying ‘No Vancancies’, the owner said she jsut forgot to turn over the plaque.

2007 年五月二十日(星期日) (第十三日)  天朗氣清

看過早報,吃過悠閑早餐;九時二十分出門。下午二時半到了 Hungerford,找到一間叫 潦倒約翰 John O’Gaunt 的酒吧,和最終目的地 John O’Groats 發音相近,吃了一頓烤羊肩。三時半上路,四時半到了約定地點,接受無線衛星電視台記者鄭煥治訪問;稍后 A
M558 城市好時光主持人胡沛成、黃韻詩繼續追踪訪問。與煥治等吃過簡餐,找了一間三人房小旅館,在 Newbury, Berkshire 一夜無夢。

21 May 2007 (Monday) (Day 14)  Sunny & Rain

Newbury to Reading.  The owner family all left the house before me leaving the B&B at 9am.  At about 1pm, I stopped to take picture of a narrow boat named Mandarin but also with the Chinese characters ‘Happy Hours’.  It was raining, an Enlgish lady from another boat invited me for a cup of tea.  I thanked her for I still had a long way to go.  Stopped at the Canning Man Inn at Burghfield Bridge for tomato soup and tea.  Arriving Reading at 5ish, and went straight to the Caversham area for small hotels.   The Abbey House was owned by a Thai lady and managed by a Portugese middle woman.  The tariff was £40 without breakfast and I said it was too much, then she reduced it to £35, but eventually she agreed at £30, because her boss gave her allowance to any late bookings after 7.30pm.  it was only then 6.45pm.  Her husband is a bus driver and apart from Reading, she has not been to any other parts of the UK in the past 2 years.  Had Mediterranean food for dinner. 

2007 年五月二十一日(星期一) (第十四日)  天晴有雨

吃過早餐,小旅館主人一家已外出。九時上路,下午一時在運河邊看到一艘叫歡樂時光(簡體字)的窄艇;當時雨頗綿密,另一用希臘文 Algae 命名窄艇的女主人,誠意拳拳地請我喝茶,我說還要趕路婉謝了。到下午二時在 Burghfield Bridge 一酒吧吃茶喝湯。五時多到了大城市雷丁;在中下價客棧聚集的 Caversham 區找到小旅館。店主是泰國小姐,交由一葡萄牙女士打理;房間很多,不大卻五臟俱全。不包早餐也要£40一晚,扮可憐之下才減到£30。她和丈夫孩子有免費住宿,丈夫是巴士司機;來了雷丁兩年,其他地方都沒有去過。她連我的房門鎖也不知丟失了在甚麼地方。

22 May 2007 (Tuesday) (Day 15)  Sunny

Reading to Maidenhead.  The temperature was 20 celsius.  At last could forget the full English breakfast; bought a pack of 18 petite croissants from the corner shop for £1.29.  Looking for the Reading Tourist Information Center and was appalled that it had been permanently closed.  Negotiated to the end of the Kennet & Avon Canal and ventured onto Thames Path.  Lost the way again after Sonning.  Had lunch at the Waggon & Horses Inn at Twyford, then a photographer who lives in Sonning volunteered to take me back to the Thames Path and dropped me near Wargrave.  After ups and downs, I still could not get back to the Thames Path, then decided to cut off the Henley and Marlow section and speared to Maidenhead. 

Beautifully located by River Thames, all the hotels and B&B that I visited along the Riverside were fully booked, not even a single room at the Blue Bridge Hotel charging from £85 per night.   They said Monday was quiet but not tonight.  Frustrated for the futile search for 2 hours, standing at the bus stop planning the next move.  Then a town bus stopped and asked me where I wanted to go, I told him I was looking for a small hotel in Reading or getting the train back to London.  He waved me on to the bus and drove me all the way to Maidenhad train station, got the 2103 train back to London arriving at around 10pm for a return ticket for £16.80.  The bus driver was a former Gurkha lived in Hong Kong and we conversed a few words in Cantonese, since 1997 when the regiment was decommisioned he moved to Maidenhead.

Went straight to London Chinatown and had Chinese vegetable and noodle.  Shared a Cobra beer with Sit after he opened the house door for me.

2007 年五月二十二日(星期二) (第十五日)  天晴

享受了不用吃英式早餐。早上九時出門去找雷丁旅遊中心,才發現市政府已將它關門大吉。硬着頭皮從運河走到泰唔士河畔。行行重行行又迷了路,由 Sonning 開始,不知不覺走進小森林。在 Twyford 午膳後,一位住在 Sonning 的攝影師自告奮勇,要載我返回泰唔士河畔。其實他也認不得路,折騰了好一會,把我丟在 Wargrave。從那裏我不停的上山、下山又上山;終於直達泰唔士河畔的 Maidenhead。

一心想在河畔找一張床,從B&B到八十五鎊起一夜的酒店都客滿。真誇張,店主人還說昨天冷冷清清,今日可沒辦法了,吹脹。找了兩小時,又回到圖書館前,一肚氣;剛好站在巴士站作沉思樣,一名巴士司機問我要甚麼?我說找不到酒店,唯有返回倫敦老家。他說酒店還是有的,可是在市郊;二話沒說便載我到火車站,他也說幾句廣東話,是曾駐守香港多年的啹喀兵,九七香港回歸後就到了英國。

火車到了柏寧頓站,立即坐巴士到唐人街食牛腩麵芥蘭油菜,勁辣椒油;回到家裏再和薛分享印度啤酒。

23 May 2007 (Wednesday) (Day 16)  Sunny

Maidenhead to Staines & Egham.  There is nothing like one’s own bed.  A good sleep and left home at 9.30am with comfortable gears.  Arrived Maidenhead by train then headed towards Windsor at 11am.  Enjoyed a big lunch at Windsor, continued to walk up to Staines & Egham.  Once past the M25, it is regarded as reaching Greater London.   Took a bus and train and rushed back for the second half of the Championship Final at Athens, Liverpool was then beaten by Inter Milan by 1 goal, Liverpool lost 2-1. 

2007 年五月二十三日(星期三) (第十六日)  天晴

詩人說對於床還能說些甚麼呢!懶在床真舒服。輕装出發,乘火車到 Maidenhead,十一時開始向温莎堡方向進發;在温莎吃了豐富午餐;再東向倫敦前行。一踏過了二十五號公路,便算踏入了大倫敦範圍,從 Staines & Egham 搭巴士、乘地鐵;趕回家看歐州盃錦標決賽,已經趕不及利物浦上半場將完時輸給國際米蘭的一球。結果利物浦不能像前年般踢出冠軍奇蹟,以2-1飲恨。

John O’Groats to Edinburgh (Walking Diary Part 2) 第二程: 天涯至愛丁堡日誌 

7 June 2007 (Thursday)

8am train from King’s X to Wick, arriving after 10pm.  From John O’Groats to Edinburgh is about 320 miles distance.  Back to London by 28 June 2007 for Sir David Brewer’s Evening at the Armoury House.

 2007 年六月七日 (星期四)

早上八時英皇十字火車站北上,晚十時後抵達 Wick。由 John O’Groats 至愛丁堡約320哩;須於六月二十八日前回到倫敦,出席白樂威爵士講演晚會。 



Walk Walk & I Walk 行行重行行
May 5, 2007, 10:22 pm
Filed under: 小綠步行日誌 The Walk

End to End WalkMy End to End Walk Part 1 will start on 8 May 2007 (Tuesday).  After a delay of 1 week, eventually I can make my way from Land’s End to London starting 8 May 2007.  Due to unforeseeable staff changes at the Islington Chinese Association I have to change my plan slightly, but if I do not make a start I may never have another opportunity to do this Walk of the Life.  The Part 1 will be from Land’s End to London, about 320 miles, which will take up to 3 weeks maximun walking time.  Then I have to attend a charity Golf Event organized by UK Chinese Golf Association sponsored by SeeWoo Group and Westmill Foods at Oxfordshire Golf Club on 5 June 2007 in aid of Islington Chinese Association (ICA).  The second leg, part 2, from John O’Groats to Edinburgh, will start immediately after the Golf Event.  And I have to be back to London on 28 June for another charity event at the Armoury House with Sir Daivid Brewer supported by ICA.  After the Dragon Boat Race and the Celebration of the 10th Reunification of Hong Kong to China on 1 July, then hopefully I May be able to finish the final leg between Edinburgh to London.  Please donate generously by sponsoring my Walk for the ICA Capital Fund at http://www.justgiving.com/stephenng_walk07a or log on to my bolg at stephencanwalk.wordpress.com

 經過一定的轉折,我的天涯海角步行終於在2007年5月8日開步;雖然比原定5月1日遲了一個星期,始終成行了。由於依士靈頓華人協會員工出現變化,險些行不得也哥哥。但行程也不可以一氣呵成;五月八日開始第一段由海角回到倫敦 (Land’s End to London) 約320哩。必須趕回倫敦出席六月五日全英華人高爾夫球會主辦泗和慈善盃,為依士靈頓華人協會籌募會址基金。之后再繼續第二段由天涯到愛丁堡 (John O’Groats to Edinburgh)),但也須於六月二十八日趕回倫敦,原因前金融城市長白樂威爵士 (Sir Daivd Brewer) 為依士靈頓華人協會在皇家警察博物館主辦中國繽紛夜。之後又是七月一日香港回歸中國十周年紀念;之後再從愛丁堡到倫敦是否成行,委實也要看地利與人和。

人生事事不得如意十常八九,千哩之行,始於足下;能夠成行也是緣天之幸。對於一個不帶地圖,不懂看指南針的旅人;祝福他吧。步行全程所有費用自付,一切捐贈全部撥入依士靈頓華人協會會址籌募基金。請慷慨解囊;慈善捐助網址: http://www.justgiving.com/stephenng_walk07a , 博客 stephencanwalk.wordpress.com



Vacancies at ICA
April 29, 2007, 11:00 am
Filed under: 小綠步行日誌 The Walk

There are vacancies at the Islington Chinese Association for the posts of Elderly Work Coordiantor and Fujian Project Coordinator, details are as follows:

依士靈頓華人協會

33 Giesbach Road London
N19 3DA

Tel: 020-72635986

www.islingtonchines.com

Email: islingtonchinese@yahoo.co.uk

聘請  

1)  老人工作統籌員 (時薪£6.87)

每周星期一至五工作,由上午十時至下午三時(小時半工作)。申請者需通曉中英語文,熟識華人社區,對華人長者工作有興趣和熱誠。負責午膳會,送餐服務,撰寫報告,組織文娛康樂及其他有關活動。

 (2)  褔建計劃統籌員 (個月合約,時薪£13)

每周工作12小時。申請者需通曉中英文,懂普通話;熟悉英國福建社群網絡。負責設計,組織和執行為福建人而設有關資訊、福利、文化康樂等諮詢及活動,以及撰寫報告 

上述職位圴享有每年四個星期有薪假期(依比例)

截止申請日期: 2007511

面試日期: 2007519(星期)

註冊慈善社團登記: 1042435

本會為平等機會組織



小綠: 別有人間行路難
April 4, 2007, 3:18 pm
Filed under: 小綠步行日誌 The Walk

想想不到一個月,就要開始千里之行;心情是平復的,倒是沒有時間作最佳的行裝、行程準備。見步行步好了。

依士靈頓華人協會面對人事變動;有變動可能帶來陣痛,但也可以帶來新的契機,端是事在人為。像協會青少年組花去數年時間泡製的音樂劇「力爭上游」,四月十四、十五日演出二場,合共八百座位;戲票只賣了幾十張,徒呼奈何?票價也不過是一個漢寶飽的價錢,肯定英國華人愛漢寶飽的情結,較觀賞音樂劇「力爭上游」來得更為實際。

2007年紀念英國立法禁止奴隸買賣200周年;但現今世道難行,不少國家的童工還是處於奴隸狀態,做牛做馬,甚至不如牛馬。現今究竟是一個甚麼樣的世代!



小綠:仙樂飄飄處處聞
March 13, 2007, 11:06 am
Filed under: 小綠步行日誌 The Walk

生鬼恩保德神甫帶領一眾年輕人海外「逾越知音」,宣揚寬恕和平之路。73歲米蘭人心境至為年青,留在亞州近50年,通曉廣東話,自詡一名本地鬼。從生活體驗出發,謙遜幽默,莊諧並重,不落俗套,惹得哄場笑聲下斷;是傳道人的好典範。三月十二日離英返港前夕,一行人更探訪依士靈頓華人協會,帶來美妙歌聲,熱情無限。是日氣溫攝氏18,陽光普照;恩神父風依然,橫生妙趣,真可謂大珠小珠落玉盤。

晚新界雜誌楊敏華女士生辰, 設福滿樓;人數似遜往昔。唯酒樓屬自家經營,氣氛不俗泰晤士燃放小型煙花,璀燦流麗;舉頭仰望,人生倏忽。林琵琶舊作煙花悠然呈現眼前。



小綠: 行到水窮處
March 5, 2007, 4:23 pm
Filed under: 小綠步行日誌 The Walk

昨星期日元宵十五,正午至倫敦英慈佛堂食齋。遇主事人毛點傳師及巫雪珍姑娘,毛點傳與狂狂生巫仕強乃香港新界王肇枝中學同窗。人間佛法,普渡眾生,人溺己溺,人苦己苦;現實世界裏苦中取樂,何時能做到無苦無樂?

晚全月蝕,究竟不似全日蝕一般驚天動地。