Trip Start Jul 05, 2005
19Trip End Jul 20, 2005
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Spirits were pretty high but generally subdued. I don't know about Karim, but I was already starting to sense an anti-climax.
We had a good sing-song for old times sake, and started to talk about the future. The future, it was decided, should not involve me suggesting we ever go on a long distance walk ever again as long as we both live.
By the time we got into Kirk Yetholm it was just gone ten am. Nothing was open. The Border Hotel, the official end of the Pennine Way and a place that promised to buy a beer to anyone who completed it in one go, was closed. We were going to have to wait.
So we sat at a park bench, mostly in silence.
It had finally ended. 268 miles, 15 days and two hours, feet rotting away, sunburnt, tired, sober and having just spent the last fifteen nights sharing a small tent with another man, I would be keen to get home.
We asked a passer by if there was a newsagent nearby - we had only had water to drink for the last two days and a can of pop would have gone down a treat. "Yeah sure", she said, pointing vaguely, "Just about two miles down that road".
"Fuck that", it was decided.
We had a lift arranged for about eleven that morning (my parents, bless them, were on their way back from Northern Ireland by car and didn't mind making a little detour). This was good because otherwise we would have spent another day or so and a lot of money travelling home on crap trains.... Still smelling.
The pub finally opened and we were given our free half of beer - for someone who lives and works in a pub this was of course all the reward I needed for walking halfway up the country...
"So", I said at last. "Are you getting that sense of achievement they promised us?"
"Not really", Karim said.
"Good", said I. "I was worried it was just me".