Monday, 3 June 2013

The start of our fourth week, sadly leaving Lanark before Lanimers.

Last night, Sunday 2nd June, we stopped in Lanark. A very comfortable night in Bankhead Farm bnb, splendidly well run by a lovely lady called Lyn. Lyn was very welcoming and helpful, and gave us tips on where best to eat. There were several choices, but we opted for the New Lanark Mill Hotel, right on The Clyde. The meal was good, though a little steep, the hotel as bland looking as a barn door, (hence no picture) but the river was outside, and the evening sunshine was lovely. I hope I got the timing right on these two judge!

So, we left Lanark around 10 a.m. and set off on the 18 mile plod to Abington - 4 days til we sadly leave Scotland. Anyway, walking through the Southern end of town - just near to Hyndford - I noticed something quite unusual. A sniper had a gun aimed at me!! What??

Let me explain; as we arrived in Lanark yesterday I kept seeing lots of banners up on houses, pubs, and generally everywhere around the town which read "Happy Lanimers Day!" I wondered what this was all about, then I saw a sign right in the town centre - "Lanimers week 3-6 June" and another stating "Lanimers Day 6th June". Being pretty tired last evening, and not certain of where the bnb was, I decided it was a local celebration, and we'd miss it, so never mind.

However, walking near Hyndford in quite a suburban area, there was the sniper, in camouflage gear, gun pointing through the railings of a front garden. KEEP OUT, was written on a big sign attached to the railings. I looked again, the sniper had a childlike face, it was actually a 'cut out', and they were all over the place, all pointing at me!!

I had to investigate this...

So I went around the side of the house, and lo! more snipers, a tank, netting, a paratrooper, command post. All very interesting, so I was busy taking pictures and a chap came out of his front door and said "good, isn't it!?" I heartily agreed, and asked what it was all about. He willingly told me. Lanimers is celebrated every year in Lanark - since 1140, though I haven't learnt the origins yet - and during this time (early June) the town is something of a carnival. There are floats, events, princesses, riding at Lanark Racecourse, and many other things, including the best decorated houses/gardens.
A young lad named Cameron, who lives in the close, had the idea. The old barracks just up the road at Hyndford was for The Cameron Regiment. It closed, so Cameron got his place - and the neighbours places - all made up like a barracks, called CAMERON'S. There was even a hut in the corner of the front garden called "Cameron's Mess", but I couldn't get close enough for a picture, too many snipers!
All in all, a great one Cameron and friends, I sincerely hope you win a prize, it put a smile on my face for the day's plod!
A few miles on, at the top of a big hill, two chaps having tea in the garden saw me stop for a breather, clocked my t-shirt
and wanted to know all about the charity plod. Suitably impressed, one of them thrust a fiver in my hand for the cause - cheers chaps!
Onwards into the South Lanarkshire countryside, with Lizzie caught up now, we had a tea break by the impressive Tinto Hill, the highest in Lanarkshire!
Ten more miles to go, we plodded along the road to Abington, finally to our destination - an unusual one, Abington Services. We are staying in the "Days Inn" hotel at the services on the A74 M. Different I know, but nothing else in the area.
I had run out of cigs/baccy 6 miles back so, quite keen for a smoke, I went straight to the shop to buy a box of cigs and sat outside smoking while sipping the remaining tea from my flask. Lovely jubbly!
I got chatting with two smashing fellows who had been golfing at Gleneagles - Matt and Dave. Dave told us (Lizzie had caught up!) all about his debut in this years' London Marathon, raising 4.5k in the process, bloody impressive Dave! Equally, having spied my t-shirt, Matt and Dave were very interested in our charity plod. They had a long drive ahead of them back South, and as they left they handed me £15 for the charity. Top blokes Matt and Dave, cheers lads, good luck with the golf!
So, 347 miles now plodded, over a third done, and England 3 days away!
Alec Hawkes 03.06.13   Milko Goes Walkabout

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