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Allan Crow’s daily blog – Day 9 of Bob’s Walk

Piped home after 108 miles on the road. The ninth and last day of Bob’s Walk 2013, and a wonderful welcome at Maggie’s Dundee.

After nine days of walking covering 108 miles across three regions, we reached our final destination at Maggie’s Dundee – and the most wonderful of welcomes.

The roar of the motorbikes through a suburban street of Dundee told us we were almost there.

One bike passed, then another … and another … followed by dozens more from the Edinburgh Dunedin Chapter of the Harley Davidson owners’ group who staged the most amazing of ride outs to be part of Bob’s Walk 2013.

The first wave roared past, followed by a second and a third, their bikes gleaming in the sun, the noise bringing people out from their gardens to see the spectacle.

Our ultra runners Sheena and Johnny Logan also joined us after running the entire 108-mile route in under 24-hours – a truly staggering feat of physical stamina and endurance.

And many friends who joined us on the walk also mustered at points along the road leading to Maggie’s.

As we turned into the road which winds its way up the centre the first skirl of pipes could be heard; another magnificent gesture which added to the sense of celebration and achievement as we walked proudly behind Bob Grant to the front doors.

With STV’s news team on hand to film the event, it was a very special moment for all connected with the 2013 walk. Just perfect.

The day began at Tayport Harbour with blue skies overhead and more new faces to welcome – family and friends, and Paul and Helen Grant from Mackays jam and marmalade company, one of our major sponsors.

Also with us was Rod, Bob’s nephew who travelled from his Manchester home, got off the train in Edinburgh and cycled to Tayport via the coastal route to be part of the last day’s walk into Dundee.

With our morning photo-call done, we were ready to roll when Fife Council’s team opened the public loos. Cue a slight delay as more than a few walkers thought ‘‘well, I’d better go …!’’

The journey from Tayport to the bridge flew past – we were well ahead of schedule, so enjoyed a leisurely coffee break the services just adjacent to the bridge. Once again the generosity of people shone through as the cost of some of the food went straight into the collecting tin.

The walk across the bridge was fabulous – stunning views up and down the Tay, and a chance to gain a complete perspective on the city’s amazing regeneration plans for its waterfront.

We were still ahead of schedule by the time we reached Discovery Point, so headed next door to Discovery Quay restaurant which kindly allowed us to use their outdoor tables. Coffees ordered and lunch over, Bob announced we’d reached an important point in the walk … namely, the bar was open!

A thirst-quenching round later we set off to encounter our one and only rain shower; a short but heavy burst which had us all diving for our waterproof for the very first time since leaving Edinburgh. Not a single drop of rain fell while we walked the entire coast of the Kingdom …

The rain ceased within minutes and were back to our t-shirts by the time we paused in the shadow of the Tay rail bridge.

With more of Bob’s family joining at Dundee Airport and fellow walkers parking cars between there and the hospital we grew in number by the time we stored all our bags into our support cars and gathered for the last leg of the journey up the hill into the grounds of Ninewells and on to Maggie’s Centre.

The final day’s walking simply flew past – ten miles covered in the blink of an eye.

The hours and days spent walking on beaches, over rocks, up and down challenging hills and through some of the most stunning scenery in Scotland brought us home to Maggie’s, and a wonderful, very special welcome.

There are many stories from the walk – of personal accomplishments, friendship and cameraderie, and a great sense of achievement. It was, as Bob said in his touching and moving speech, a very, very special day.
Huge thanks to everyone who took part in Bob’s Walk – to all who joined us for a few miles or a few days, and shared the fun, laughter and conversations along the path.

Huge thanks also to Andrew Davie and his family for their outstanding support, ferrying the walkers and their bags to every single start and pick-up point. They were a huge part of the walk from start to finish

Thanks also to Gregg’s who supplied packed lunches every other day.

Thanks to all of our sponsors and supporters.

Thanks to all the companies whose donations of food and drink made the gathering at Maggie’s Dundee such a special occasion.

Above all, thanks to Bob and Joan Grant for all the work they put into organising Bob’s Walk 2013 – on behalf of all the walkers, it was a pleasure, a privilege and an honour to be part of it.
See the arrival of Bob’s Walk at Maggie’s Dundee online at http://player.stv.tv/categories/stv-news/
Full report in this week’s Glenrothes Gazette and Fife Free Press and online at www.fifetoday.co.uk