The Perime­ter

Quintin Lake re­alises the re­demp­tive power of pho­tog­ra­phy as rain tests his will to keep walk­ing

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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.

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