Wherever I lay my hat

I have been at a secret location for my recuperation. Being an international public figure (sniggers) and a ZZZ list celebrity, I have to be careful with papperazzi, groupies and giraffies (don’t ask!) I can, however, reveal that I ended up back “home” for a day. I say home with speech marks because I feel my life is getting more and more like the Paul Young’s song “Wherever I lay my hat, that’s my home”
(For the pedants, I know it wasn’t his song. It was a cover)
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It was strange to be on the grizzly M25 and the whole experience made my stress levels raise significantly. The momentary upside was being able to surprise my friend Emma whilst she was in her local pub. Her face was a picture: “what the ***ing hell are you doing here” Priceless.

On the whole though, I came away from my “hometown” feeling down and lost. The purpose if going back was to collect some more tablets after my GP refused to do something against their procedures. We all have annoying stories of our GP’s and NHS admin but I would still prefer to have a slightly flawed free system than the terrifying alternative of a private one.

Where would I go after the walk? What would I do? These questions have been with me everyday whilst walking as something to distract me, daydreams I guess but they became very real thoughts as I sat in a traffic jam on the M25. I have seen so much of the breath-taking beauty of our country and I am only a quarter of the way round. Walking in the peaceful surroundings of John o Groats one day, sucking exhaust fumes on the road to hell on another day couldn’t be more different.

I have been staying with an old school friend, her fella and daughter. My recuperation has been filled with so many days of nostalgia and laughter. It is the best medicine and I have laughed myself back to fitness. Thank you Sharon, Matt and Shania.

My plan now is to arrive in Inverness later on this week and start from John o Groats on Monday 5th.

Lastly, I am planning a rest day every week from now on. I am not superman, I have no time limit for this mad walk so a regular rest day it will be. The only negative to this is that I will walk through the full winter finishing Jan/Feb 2018. It will be the southern softie winter by then not the Scottish winter so I will be fine.

So, I am raring to go again and looking forward to the peace and quiet of NW Scotland and time to process the events of the last month…..and more sheep singing
Beardy McKiltface xxx

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John o Groats

Before transplant, I had the usual timescales of getting over bugs. We have NHS websites offering help regarding this so as to not clog up doctors surgeries. Most sites have said three weeks maximum for a meaty cough – then see a doctor afterwards.

Post transplant, recovery seems to be in slow motion. When people ask how I am, I can only say “the same, maybe a bit better” because there is little difference from day to day. It is a painfully slow process. I am eating fruit and healthy meals, drinking plenty of water and sleeping a lot but none of those will be a miraculous cure.

I am frustrated but I am using this time to take stock. (Not gravy…or shoplifting)

It has been incredible that I have managed to get to John o Groats by myself. No entourage, no massage or ice baths, no nutritional experts or psychologists. These ‘celeb’ challenges make me laugh now. I am funding this, organising it, finding accommodation, organising walkers, meeting press, maintaining a website, tweeting and facebooking each day as well as walking 15 miles a day.

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Having said that, these 4 lovely people are looking out for me, promoting me and are as near to an “official” backup team as I have.
Marc Shaw – BHF Fundraising Manager (East)
Amelia Komor – BHF Communications Co-ordinator
Dr Sonia Babu-Narayan – Keeper of my old heart
Rachel Sacks – BHF Research Communications Officer

Seeing this pic when I was very poorly last week was a huge tonic. They are fantastic people and they smile like that all the time!!! (Ahem) I guess everyone reading this, posting messages on FB and Twitter are my backup team too. You all help. Thank you 🙂

I am extremely proud of what I have achieved and will continue to fight bugs and weather till I finish…whenever that may be.

To be honest, moving away from commercialism, corporations and capitalism and making a very simple life for myself has been the most refreshing part of this walk. I have met many like minded people – all kind, generous and willing to give up time for others. I want to hug them all. Some have brought a tear to my eye.

We have all met someone who will spend all of the ‘conversation’ talking about themselves, their possessions, their life. When this happens I find it astounding that two humans can be talking to each other, but only one of them is listening.
How did we get to a stage where material things define ourselves, our lives? We learn nothing from this type person and they learn nothing about us. What a waste.

I believe in a caring society, not a greedy one, I always have done. My mum was a nurse for the NHS for 40years whilst bringing up 5 children single handedly. She cared for others her whole life.

Why is it that people are motivated by buying, buying buying? We are conditioned. Step away from commercialism as I have done and you see beautiful, selfless, kind people.


I managed to get up to John o Groats on Thursday. I was met by Simon Gillespie, the CEO of the British Heart Foundation, who had kindly flown up to meet me. What did we do first? Ice cream!! Then photos at the famous board. I wanted to go to Duncansby Head which is about 2 miles from John o Groats itself so we walked there; my first real walk for a few days. I was shattered but happy to reach the most North Easterly point on the mainland. It was a blustery walk but with bright sunshine – a real bonus.

So, my plan is to take more time to rest. I still have a meaty cough, the cold has virtually gone but my physical strength will take some time to get back.
I may be back by the end of the month but I have no crystal ball.

Rest assured, I will look after myself and the precious gift I have been given.
Kieran Beardy McKiltface xx

4 Blisters and a Bug

Nearly 1200 miles without a blister then four arrived in one day.

Things are a bit rocky here on the trail and I am not talking about the terrain. I was battered into submission along the Moray coastline by Scotland’s un-spring like icy blast and decided on a camping break on the Black Isle to recover.

I also had medication issues to solve so ended up taking five days off. The actual experience I gained from camping for the first time will stand me in good stead for the next two months. However, along the way, I developed a virus which initially weakened me but has now developed into a cold and cough.

My first day back walking was a long treck of 18+ miles in much warmer conditions than I had previously experienced. I was more concerned with my water and fitness levels over the course of Day 085 and neglected to take care of my feet. As a result of this, Day 086 became a painful experience not only hobbling with two blisters on each feet but with fatigue from the virus and a good deal of negativity aimed at myself – battling with chimp all day long. I called off the 16 miles to Tain at 12 miles when a bus appeared right on cue with another bout of feet cursing.

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The bed at my Bnb in Alness swallowed me up for the rest of the afternoon. Its never nice being unwell but it always seems worse when you are hundreds of miles from people you care about. Luckily nowadays we have social media.

I woke this morning feeling worse and started working out a “get better quickly” plan. I have taken the train to Helmsdale today which is about 50 miles north and booked into a bnb for 3 nights. If I feel better, I will do some of the next days’ walking using public transport to get me there and back. If I feel worse, then I will stay in bed.
Financially, I can’t afford to stay in one place and get better then move on so this seems a good enough compromise.

The last cold took me six weeks to feel fully fit again. Anyone immune suppressed will identify with this. My transplant team went through a lot of things to avoid post transplant but I don’t remember Scotland as being one of them 😉

So…..PMA

Positive Mental Attitude.

I’m pretty sure I am not allergic to Scotland and I will definitely get to John o Groats next week. Whatever it throws at me 🙂

Kieran Beardy McKiltface xx