April 2nd has arrived, day of departure. It is starting out on a good note for me, I just learned I have been upgraded to Saga business class on Icelandair! Yahoo! Icelandair has a very nice feature called “class up” that allows you to bid for a first class seat. You can bid any amount but they do have a minimum. I bid the minimum and it worked! It is a 7.5 hour flight from Seattle to Reykjavik so it will be so nice to do it in comfort.

We will arrive in Reykjavik tomorrow morning at 6 am which will only be 11:00 pm our time so we will need to sleep on the plane since the girls are already talking about a walking tour of the town. I don’t think they have checked the weather there, it is only going to be about 30 degrees but then maybe they don’t care about that. Spending my winters in California has thinned my blood so 60 degrees is cold to me. I can see I am going to have to toughen up to keep up.

We are all coming from different directions, Sue from Az, Tammy from Ak, Joanne from Idaho, and me from Ca. We will all arrive in Seattle within an hour of each other and then the fun begins,

We are together now waiting in the Saga lounge to board our flight. Two of us have business class seats and with that we are allowed to go through security in the premium line. Ok, we are feeling pretty privileged until we get to the scanners and are melded in with everyone and have to take off everything except our shirt and pants, oh socks are ok too. Then something suspicious shows up in my back pack and the girl proceeds to pull everything out showing everyone in the immediate area how many pills I take, all my snacks, making it look like I was afraid they didn’t have food in the UK. I have a good reason for packing snacks which I tried to explain, she obviously was not interested. Sue gets busted for having water in her bag but they just take it away from her. We are all looking forward to an exciting adventure so if this is any indication it will be a good one!

Our Planned Route

Tammy has for the third time come through with a hike that is guaranteed to challenge us, educate us, provide fun, good food, good drink and wonderful companionship.

Our Itinerary:

April 2. Meet in Seattle, fly to Reykjavik. Stay two nights in a beautiful Airbnb, experience the wonderful outdoor hot springs, explore the area.

April 5 fly to Manchester, England; hop on a train to Corbridge, England

April 6 hike 10 miles to Chollerford, England

April 7 hike 12 miles to Once Brewed, England

April 8. Hike 9 miles to Gilsland, England

April 9. Hike 9 miles to Brampton, England

All of these hikes follow along Hadrian’s Wall, this time of year we are prepared for wind and rain.

April 10 take train from Brampton, England to Ballater, Scotland. It is a 7 hour train ride and a put our feet up day!

April 11. Hike the 7 mile Sgor Buidhe Circuit

April 12. Transfer to Crathie (or Braemar) and hike the 4 mile Lion’s Face & The Cromlin’s Walk

April 13. Take a Braemar Highland Safari guided excursion and see all the local wildlife.

April 14. Transfer to Aviemore, Scotland

April 15. Hike 11 miles to Loch an Eilein

April 16. Take train to Boat of Garten, Scotland

April 17. Hike 11 miles from Speyside Way to Grantown, Scotland

April 18. Take the Strathspey railway back to Aviemore, then train from Aviemore to Edinburgh. Fly from Edinburgh to Belfast City, Ireland.

April 19. Travel from Belfast City to Cushendall for the night.

April 20. Hike between 7-15.5 miles around the Glenariff Nature Reserve

April 21. Hike 12.5 miles to Ballycastle, Northern Ireland

April 22. Hike around Rathlin Island

April 23. Hike 9 miles to Ballintoy, Northern Ireland

April 24. Hike 11 miles to Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland

April 25. Hike 14.5 miles to Portstewart, Northern Ireland

April 26. Take train from Portstewart to Belfast City, fly from Belfast City, Ireland to Manchester, England

April 27. Fly from Manchester, England to Seattle, Wa.

I hope at this point you are not placing bets as to whether we make it or not, if you are, good luck!

Alaska walkers explore the world on foot: France, Italy, Appalachian trail, now Iceland, England, Scotland, & Ireland

The best way to see the world is to hike the countryside. We have been so fortunate to explore the Rhone Valley of France, (sampling the wine as we went) the Tuscan area of Italy, (sampling the wine as we went) the Appalachian country in the USA (sampling the hard cider as we went) and now Hadrian’s Wall in England, the Cairngorms and Royal Deeside of Scotland ending our adventure on the northern coast of Ireland. We will start our trip with a stopover in Iceland, relaxing in the natural hot springs, and experiencing the wonders of that country.

We are 4 in number down from six last year, already missing our fellow hikers who are unable to make this trip.  The texts and emails come more frequently now discussing last minute details, money exchange and the weather.

This is the first time we have traveled early spring and may get into some cold and wet hiking weather. We have already decided if it gets too bad, whiskey and wine by the fireplace may be the trip of the day.