Hay's Way: How the walk around Scotland is going one week in

Every day has been completely different

It’s been just over a week since I started Hay’s Way up at Mar Lodge Estate near Braemar, yet it feels like a lifetime.

That could partly be down to how slow I am going. With my 13kg rucksack and walking somewhere around 10 to 12 miles a day, I’ve had to take it easy at the beginning.

But it’s also likely down to the amount of people I have met with along the way to date.

Having a break during Hay's Way on the Deeside Way (pic: Katharine Hay)Having a break during Hay's Way on the Deeside Way (pic: Katharine Hay)
Having a break during Hay's Way on the Deeside Way (pic: Katharine Hay)

From councillors to ghillies, daffodil pickers to estate owners, Scotland is truly revealing itself to me through a myriad of characters and what they stand for.

Every day has been completely different: there’s been gossiping about new celebrities in Braemar, to a brief panic when someone in Stonehaven subtly pointed out I was wearing a bright orange waterproof the day Orange Order were set to march in the town. I have been offered a puppy to take with me on the road, and hitched a lift with someone only to find out it was a colleague’s best pal.

Each week, I’ll be writing stories on what I am learning from the people I meet, but also a piece on how I am finding the journey. It might come as no surprise that in the first week I’ve not had much time to sit and reflect. Every night so far I have been hosted by someone different. It’s a real testament to how friendly the country is that I haven’t had to use my tent yet, but it also means I haven’t had much alone time to write. I will be taking time this weekend to gather my thoughts and the material I’ve gleaned from the fields and villages along the way. So, in this first weekly review, I thought I’d write about three things that have worked well in a practical sense so far:

  • Hiking sandals: they are light, can be strapped to the rucksack and you can slip into them whenever you feel a rub or ache from your walking shoe or boot. I’ve not had a single blister, and I think this technique explains why.
  • Take it easy for the first few days: I have been a bit behind schedule on some days, but it’s better than causing injury by pushing yourself and not being able to do it at all.
  • Sing: I usually walk without headphones as I know I miss things when plugged in, but if I need a morale boost, I tend to tune into a playlist. A colleague who I stayed with on the north east coast the other day though said it’s not uncommon to hear people singing while walking along the beach front near her, so I’ve been doing a bit of that myself, even though I think she may have just been referring to people returning from the pub.
Related topics:



Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.