Quintin Lake realises the redemptive power of photography as rain tests his will to keep walking
Quintin Lake walks the walk
Today is the first day of the walk when the rain is so heavy and relentless that I can’t take the camera out once during the entire 10 hours I’m outside. To have any chance of being seen on the road, I wear a hi-viz vest with a head torch switched on, even during daylight. By lunchtime, I’m soaked to the skin (warm and damp is the best I hope for in such situations), and in need of some shelter.
I love a good second-hand bookshop – so to arrive in Wigtown, which contains the largest bookshop in Scotland, seems heaven-sent under the circumstances. A couple of hours later I leave Wigtown charmed, inspired and full of pancakes: the perfect combination to sustain me for five more hours of the deluge.
To manage this remote part of Scotland, I camp for three days then sleep one night in a B&B, to which I’d sent myself three days of dehydrated food, then repeat the cycle. I walked 28 miles yesterday, with five hours’ night hiking to catch up with delays from difficult terrain and weather earlier in the week. I’m now back in sync with food bags and booked
accommodation. I slept in a bed last night - it was good!
I don’t meet many folks, but those I do seem to turn the conversation to curling in no time: “Aye, you’ll hear a lot about curling around here, whether you’re interested or not!”
Approaching the Mull of Galloway, I scream into the wind in frustration at the relentlessness of so many days of rain and wind. I collapse on a mound of seaweed, exhausted and dejected. Suddenly from a different part of my brain, a calm voice tells me I need to get it together and keep moving, or I will start to get dangerously cold. I get to my feet with a groan and trudge onwards, like an automaton bent into the wind-blown rain.
In the end, I reach Scotland’s most southerly point, the Mull of Galloway lighthouse, in the dark. There’s only a few metres of visibility; even the beam of the lighthouse itself is only visible close-up. I’m soaked and exhausted but inspired by the tonal clarity of the light sweeping through the misty darkness, so I start to unfold the tripod. On this section more than any other, the creative act of photography has been redeeming, improving my state of mind when the going has been challenging.
Follow Quintin’s progress at www.theperimeter.uk
Three days of food supplies are strategically mailed to B&Bs to help Quintin walk through remote areas.