looking forward

halfway

Eight years ago, Tom and I walked the West Highland Way. We had a wonderful time.

conichill
(Tom, on Conic hill, looking over Loch Lomond)

I find that there is a singular sort of clarity about long distance walking. Time slows to the pace of your feet, and is measured in the distance you can cover over six or eight hours. There is nothing for your mind to focus on but the walk ahead, the landscape, and its details. At the end of the day you are exhausted, and, if there is a good meal on offer, food is appreciated in a way it rarely is. You sleep soundly, you get up, and start again. It is a fantastic way of clearing the head. I find that I can recall these walks in unusual detail, fixing particular experiences to specific moments and locales, remembering what the weather was like, what the state of my feet were, what we saw and spoke about. That was the place that you gave the horse the apple; there I devoured a full pack of liquorice allsorts; here, right here, at this curve in the path, was where we saw that incredible rainbow.

lochlomondleaping
(leaping a stream on the Eastern shore of Loch Lomond)

That walk along the West Highland Way was our first encounter with many amazing Highland places with which we have since become very familiar. Rannoch Moor, The Mamores, Glencoe.

beanz
(cooking an obligatory baked-bean supper in Glencoe. There were lots of deer around our tent that night.)

These happy photographs were taken with the disposable camera we took with us, and they make my heart sing. I am posting them here now because, in a couple of weeks time, we shall be moving to a wee house that sits just off the West Highland Way. I love our new home already, and am looking forward to living there immensely. There is a garden! And a loch! An actual studio with an actual window for me to work in! And somehow it is particularly nice to be moving to a spot which already carries some fond memories for the pair of us. I’ll be able to walk Bruce along a lovely stretch of the Way every day, and perhaps living there will inspire me to build up my stamina and ability to complete the full distance once again.

end
(The end of the West Highland Way in Fort William.)

Next week we sell our Edinburgh flat, and we move to our new home the following week. It is very exciting, but there is bound to be a certain amount of disruption. I will have to take a break from trade orders and answering email queries for the next few weeks, but will be sure to let you know how things are going as and when I can.

ONWARD!

83 responses

  1. Very, very exciting. Hope the move goes well. Maybe you should put the teapot, kettle, tea and biscuits in your bag so that you can have a cup as soon as you arrive.

  2. I wish you and your troupe all the very best with the move. Sounds like a great new start for all of you.

  3. This is wonderful for you! Wishing you all the luck (and patience) that you will no doubt need, but oh such an exciting adventure. Just don’t forget that kettle and teapot, lots of love, Karen x

  4. Hooray!!
    How uplifting to read about your plans, and the West Highland Way!
    Enjoy your new home Kate! Your studio sounds wonderful.
    Perhaps one day I may be able to walk the West Highland Way too, and will wave to you and Bruce on your daily walk! Perhaps you will have a thermos of Barry’s on hand! Now that would be nice…
    Onwards ho and all the best!!

  5. The next phase, and such an exciting time. It will be wonderful I am sure, and a healing place to help nurture you back to maximum strength. Good luck with it all. We shall look forward to snippets as and when… x

  6. I’m not a longdistance walker myself, but my parents and brothers are. Things go at a human pace, instead of a speeding pace (car, train, flight). Slow enough to see the trees in the forest they’re in.
    I wish you a lot of happiness and luck in your new house; making it a home.
    Moving house is like picking up the nest, and moving it around. I’ve done it 3 times in 10 years; not recommendable.
    You’ve got a lot to look forward too, indeed.

  7. No time like the present for a great adventure! How very inspiring. I’m so glad that you’re laying down roots in a familiar spot🐏

  8. I don’t know you but have been reading your blog for a while now. I’m a knitter and love your designs,.I have also been a walker and very much agree about the clarity of mind it can bring – a sense of calm purpose. I hope to be more of a walker again – a less extreme problem than yours has impeded me, age related – but your attitude and approach is heartening and greatly encourages me.

    I wish you both great happiness in your new home, I will think of you there knitting beside your actual window.

  9. Best of luck with the selling, the moving and the setting up of the new home. Hope you are able to pace yourself to maintain sanity and stamina. Exciting times for you all (yes, Bruce, especially you).

  10. Best of luck with your move. Please remember that as much as there is to do in setting up your new home, take it easy. A little at a time… it will get done. Take care of yourself!

  11. huzzah or change! for inspiration and personal growth! for more nature and peace in your life! so happy for you and can’t wait to read about your new adventures (and some pics of the new space, when you get a chance). <3

  12. When you talk about focus on the walk, being exhausted and of the clearing of the head it is so alike my own feelings about taking part in clipping the sheep on my parent’s croft here in Shetland as the focus was getting all of the croe full of sheep clipped (I used the old style hand shears). There is nothing like it for clearing the head and getting a good night’s sleep! Good luck with the move too!

  13. This is so exciting–a new home for you and Tom and Bruce and Jesus. Being able to commute daily is bound to be really pleasing to Tom as well as you. I’m looking forward to pictures of everything new!! Easy does it.

  14. Onward indeed! It sounds like the hassle of moving will be well rewarded. I think Colleen’s idea on pot, tea, kettle AND cups is spot on. And I’m a coffee drinker.

  15. Great post. I hope to do the WHW one day.
    Moving house is so exciting, there is so much to discover! I am looking forward to pics of it all, but not everything has to be done all at once so don’t overdo it.
    (As others have mentioned pack a box with kettle, tea, mugs,biscuits and loo paper and then you are all set! Anything can be dealt with if you have tea.).

  16. I’m so happy for you, Kate! It sounds like a wonderful move, and just the right place for you to be. I walked the Cateran Trail in Perthshire in 2011, and I could totally identify with your description of walking a long distance. This September I will be doing a walk in Wales, and can’t wait.

    As for moving, I just moved to a place two weeks ago that is my equivalent of your move near the West Highland Way. Every morning I get up, look out my window, and think to myself, “I can’t believe I really live here.” I will be looking forward to your posts from your new location!

  17. I know I’m among kindred spirits when I read the replies to your blog, my dear.
    And you must know that we are all cheering for you, too.

    So glad you are blessed with such a wonderful husband & an adorable doggie & the need to knit, design and write to us “.”

    LiFE is GOOD ——x

  18. Exciting, tiring …but wonderful Kate. We all find ‘home’ and coming from the heart it rings true to the old adage. In the very many stages of our lives, the location changes but the heart is our arbiter for adaptation. Enjoy!

  19. Loved this post and your comments on what long distance walking does for your psyche. You deserve the best Kate. I am glad you found a house beside such a walking route.

  20. I am completely ashamed to admit I had never heard of the West Highland Way before, but now I am wishing I could walk at least part of it!

    Best of luck with your move! So happy for your new place. It sounds wonderful.

  21. We were hiking the WWY, 8 yrs ago as well. Great memories, esp of the 2 star Kingy. Tea at Bridge of Orchy. Perhaps we passed each other on the trail. I did not knit so much then, and missed out on what the region had to offer wool, yarn and knitting wise. Wishing you the best.

  22. I am ecstatic for you and what can I say ! You and Tom and pets certainly have worked towards this and it’s only natural in the direction things should be. Awesomeness ! I can’t wait to see it all… your new paths, new thoughts, new designs, new studio !!! Enjoy your move. :)

  23. I have walked many a mile in years past, and find the same thing you describe: memories are very specific and vividly detailed. Here’s to you making many more happy memories on your walks from your new home.

  24. Started reading your blog a few weeks ago and am so inspired by your work! have never tried any fair isle work, but want to try. What youve been through with the stroke is amazing also!!! congrats on the move! l

  25. It is very exciting and very traumatic to move but it is certainly a way to discard some unnecessary baggage that has piled up over the years. I even let go of a duffle full of yarn that I think I saw my Sister in law taking to her car for my niece.

  26. Good luck, and God Bless You, Kate, with strength, and everything-falling-into-place-perfectly for your move…! Will anxiously await your return to your blog…take good care…!

  27. So excited for you. The big sky in the picture is so welcoming. We always were exhausted the first night but felt like giddy teenagers tucked in.
    Enjoy the move.

  28. Best of luck to you on your wonderful move.. The beauty of the Fort William area is astounding. I love the old abbey and was lucky to stay in it . You have wonderful views and walks to look forward to.
    Carole Adams

  29. What wonderful news! So glad to hear that the new home will have just enough of the beloved to ease the transition. Good luck with the move!

  30. Congratulations! We stayed near Fort William during our honeymoon and the area is quite beautiful – one of the highlights of our 7 week stay in Britain and a place we’ve spoken of moving to, if things work out some day.

  31. Even though we’ve never met & I live an ocean & a continent away, I wish my friends all the best and a multitude of blessings in your new home. Well done!
    Marion

  32. Onwards indeed! Wishing you much joy and peace in your new home… May it lead to the creation of many more memories and more wonderful design and writing!

  33. These beautiful photos mean a lot to me. My Granny was born and brought up near Croftamie in a farmhouse, and the views are what she saw.
    Good luck with the move and the sale!

  34. Kate, all good wishes for a smooth move and a lovely new home. I was unaware of the West Highland Way, and you’ve ignited a fire in me to ‘do it’. Enabler! ;-) Godspeed.

  35. Congrats on the new place! It sounds lovely! I really enjoyed your pictures of the West Highland Way, my boyfriend and I are hoping to hike it next year.

  36. Best of luck and good wishes to you all on your move! Since I will only see it through your eyes, I look forward to your future. Love “hearing” your news and tales, please do keep us informed. Take care!

  37. finally getting to comment…..been busy but not as busy as you will be, i am SO excited and happy for you!!! what wonderful things to look foreward to…….and don’t try to put every thing away in a day!!!!!!!!!!! but a studio….i have one and it will be grand for you, thinking of you!

  38. Re re-walking the West Highland Way – if you did it backwards, it would look completely differently and you’d be walking home. How cool is that!!. all best as always, robin

  39. so funny that you should post this just now…as I am finally checking my email in the midst of a long walk (Camino del Norte to Santiago in Spain) and am so pleased to see many updates from you! Best wishes on the new digs.

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