Believe you can..

Believe you can..

Believe you can and you’re halfway there

                                                                       Theodore Roosevelt

Just an idea

From one idea another idea was born. Walking the dykes of Flevoland to show other Peakers how beautiful my backyard is was the first step to many more walks. I invited other Dutch Peakers to show me their backyard. All over the Netherlands, 22 Walks are organized by Dutch Peakers, and today we are halfway done. We have already walked 9 out of 12 regions of the Netherlands over 11 walks for a total of 167km (103miles)!

I never imagined this initiative would be such a success! Many Dutch Peakers have walked with me, and every walk is like a little party. I take the garlands and my Peaker sisters do know how to hang them. I am so proud of all of you walking and talking with me.

Hosts of todays walk

If I mention the words curly hair and red lips, a dedicated Peaker from the first moment, I think a lot of you know who I am talking about. She’s also a mom of three kids, and when she not busy being a Dutch Peaker she works as an assistant Office Manager in a Practice for Physical Therapy. Of course I am talking about Gerona, and she and Ella took us through the polder of Zuid-Holland and Utrecht, and showed us amongst other little places, Haastrecht and Oudewater.

Ella is born and bred in the Hague, but has lived in Boskoop for the past 20 years. It was her husband who took her to this lovely polder for the first time, and she has loved it ever since.

I admire Ella for her persistence. She’s the one that pushed way past her boundries when she walked with me in Flevoland, and I have never ever heard her complaining. She’s a tough lady.

Oudewater

Today we walk in the regions of Utrecht and Zuid-Holland. It is our third walk in this area, and Gerona told me today that if you want to have a clear picture of what represent the Netherlands the most, then this is it. The flat landscapes alternate with meadows, woods, little villages and of course, mills.

I drove all the way to Oudewater this morning where Ellen and Gerona were waiting for us  in a parking lot in the centre of the village. A large group of 18 Dutch Peakers took the trouble of getting here on a beautiful Sunday morning in June.

Oudewater got it’s city charters in 1265, and was therefor the oldest city in what we call in the Netherlands, the Green Hart. It is a sparsely populated so called green area, between the large cities of Rotterdam, The Hague, Zoetermeer, Leiden, Haarlem, Amsterdam and Utrecht.

In the 16th and 17th century this city was well known for the production of rope. This rope was made out of hemp, a product that grew in the surrounding area of Oudewater. This rope was specially made for the ships of the United Oostindie Compagnie. A lot of the ancient buildings in the city still remind you of that time, and are on the list of National Heritage.

It was not the production of rope that caught my attention, it was the “heksenwaag” that interested me. I’ve always had an interest in witches. Between the 16th and 18th century, if they found you guilty of witchcraft, they weighed you here. If they thought you weighed too little you could end on the stake. Sounds familiar? Wasn’t it Geillis in Outlander who ended on a hay stake?

According to the Oudewater history from that period, a lot of people were weighed, but none of them were actually accused of being a witch. Although our hosts gave us some nice witch candy in the end, we were not weighed……

I don’t know what it is with these witches, but it always fascinates me. I love reading stories that involve witches and seeing movies with withches. Witches of Roald Dahl is one of my favorite books. I even like face painting them.

But all kidding aside, today we actually walked not one region but two. On the first part of the walk through the polder we crossed the border with the region Zuid-Holland. And as I told you before we began and ended in Oudewater, region of Utrecht. We enjoyed our lunch in the grass near Haastrecht, bought cherries,and cherry ice cream along the way, and crossed the IJssel. All of it took place in the regions of Utrecht and Zuid-Holland.

Believe you can..

Such a large group of Dutch Peakers walking today’s walk. Many of them didn’t know they were capable of walking the distance when they first joined the Dutch Peakers Walking. Most of our walks are between the 10km and 20km, and occasionally a little bit more than 20km.

Most of the time you hardly notice the distance you walk. You walk and talk and before you know it, you have passed another km. Today was such a day. With so many Peakers I do have to pay attention to the environment, because before I know it, the end of the walk is near and all I have done is talking. I will be like those Japanese or Chinese tourists and have to look back at my pictures to see where I walked today!

You’re halfway there

Back in Oudewater, sitting on a lovely terrace with a nice cold drink, I suddenly realize we’re halfway done with our walks. And halfway means my mind is already making plans for another challenge next year. But first things first, this challenge is only halfway so there will be several beautiful walks ahead of us, with lovely Dutch Peakers and a lot of talking.

And who knows who will meet me halfway on the other half of this challenge!

All the beautiful pictures you see are made by Titia Bisschops-Schaar, Jeannette Groeneveld, Linda van den Ham and myself.

A little West Highland Way in the Netherlands

A little West Highland Way in the Netherlands

A friend is someone

who helps you up

when you’re down

and if they can’t

they lay down beside you

and listen.

When I started this walk I couldn’t have known that somewhere over the ocean way back in Bonnie Scotland our Peaker sister Ellen made a tough decision. She was walking the West Highland Way, with her son and had to stop because of knee problems. That evening I posted our group photo telling everybody that this walk was almost like walking a part of the West Highland Way, totally unaware of her decision.  This one is for you, Ellen. Maybe this way we can help you up if you’re down….

The weather

For a few days the weather has been a little threatening with heavy rain showers and strong winds.

As I leave home for another walk of our challenge, the 10th to be specific, it’s raining. We’re almost halfway through our challenge. But we don’t let ourselves stop over a little bit of rain. We are Peakers after all. This is my tough Peaker voice speaking. You see, I don’t like walking in the rain. When I walk and it starts raining, okay. But if it’s raining before I even start, that’s not my cup of tea. Looking at every weather app I could find this morning,  I saw that my positive thought, it’s going to be better later on, was confirmed. I drove to Rheden, little place in the neighbourhood of Arnhem in the region of Gelderland. And the further I went, the better it got. It was dry when I arrived.

Our hosts for today

Our hosts for today are Nicoline McCarthy and Miranda Kooiman. Miranda lives in Arnhem and Nicoline lives in Elst. They both are Dutch Peakers, and when they came in contact with each other, it turned out that Nicoline is a member of the same triathlon club as Miranda’s husband. It is a small world after all. Nicoline lives with her family of 4 kids in Hummelo.She studied Social Geography and is a self-employed cartographer. Miranda lives in Arnhem with her husband and two sons. She does the administration for three Primary schools and recently started her own business as a virtual assistant. And what I like most about her she teaches nature lessons to toddlers once in a while.

Miranda and Nicole chose to walk in this area because it is a varied piece of nature, through the forest, over the moor, with beautiful viewpoints along the way.

Arnhem is probably the place you remember from history class. The Battle of Arnhem occurred during WWII. It was part of Operation Market Garden in September 1944. Unfortunately the operation failed, mostly because the allied forces couldn’t take over the brigde. The North and West part of the Netherlands could not be liberated, and that caused the hunger winter. Today there was no hunger for us because Miranda and Nicole were waiting in the parking lot with coffee, tea and delicious homemade pie with dates and coconut.

Posbank

The area is certainly beautiful and various. Right from the start it made me remember my walk last year in Scotland when I walked the West Highland way. The moorland we walk through is popularly known as the Posbank but its original name is Herikhuizerveld. The Posbank owes its name to Mr. G.A. Pos, former chairman of the ANWB (AAA). When this Mr. Pos worked for 25 years for the company they built him this semicircular stone bench, located at a beautiful viewpoint. At the site, you are standing 90 metres above NAP (sealevel). For me, coming from 6 metres under the sea that’s pretty high. Compared to climbing the Glen Coe, which I  did last month, it’s nothing. But nevertheless, the view is beautiful and amazing, especially for a country which is almost flat.

Ganesha

Those of you who follow the stories of the Dutch Peaker Walking, know our history with the elephant. It all started with walking the dykes of Flevoland last year. On one of the legs we had Ella walking with us and at the beginnng I told her the distance of the leg would be aproximately 18km. She had never walked any further than 10km. Somewhere along the way, I saw it would be far more km than I told her, and I was hesitating whether I should tell her or not. Eventually I did and that’s when Vanessa started this song about a little elephant. We sang it together to keep Ella walking when it became tougher. Ever since that walk, when somebody is so over it ,we start singing the song, and that is how the elephant became symbol of the Dutch Peakers Walking.

I was totally surprised when I received another elephant today from Pauline. This one is called Ganesha, a Hindu God who takes away all obstacles in life and protects all travellers.

We walkers,  are we not all in a way, travellers? Remember what I told you in Ain’t No Arthur High Enough about Robert Louis Stevenson? We travel not to go anywhere but to go…

Thank you so much for this little elephant Pauline, and may it keep us safe on all our walks in the future. I am not quite sure about the obstacles. I believe sometimes it is okay to bump into a little obstacle in life. I try to learn from it and hope that a next time I have learned enough to do it differently, think differently or react differently. But if this little guy keeps me safe from the big obstacles in life, I don’t mind.

Stowaways

Every now and then we have a stowaway joining us on our walks. Today Pauline’s daughter joins us.         

Jamie studies at the London School of Economics. She is earning a Master in International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies. I walk and talk for a little while with her, and I admire the way she is living. She is a young self-aware woman with a purpose in life. There is not much in life that I would do differently if I had the change to do it all over again, but there is one thing. I would definitely go abroad for a Master’s degree, explore the world, and meet other people in life. I can never make up for the time I didn’t, but I do admire our young people who do. They are becoming the global citizens of tomorrow.

Jamie told me she was leaving for Mumbai in India for two weeks, to do some research for the foundation her mother is working for, Khazana Foundation. The goal of this foundation is to provide basic financial skills to children who have no access to the banking system. They provide the Mumbai slum’s children with a saving account, teach them about longterm goals, provide education about the banking system and how money works. But that’s not all this young lady did. In undergraduate studies, she also minored in jazz and singing at the Royal Conservatoire in the Hague. Quite an impressive stowaway!

Thank you for being a friend

Every walk I meet so many new friends and hear so many interesting stories. I have not told you about Stefanie who works as an Environmental Expert for Boskalis. I promise to tell you more about her and the interesting work she’s doing next time she joins us for a walk. For now I lay myself down and think back on yet another wonderful day with my Dutch Peaker Walking group and listen to Thank You for Being a Friend by Andrew Gold.

Thanks to Linda van den Ham, Jolanda Schooneman en Stefanie Ross for making these beautiful pictures.

High Hopes Hike 2019

High Hopes Hike 2019

Be a knight of your goal

And a warrior of your dream!

It was on a Friday evening sometime in March when my love and I decided to join the High Hopes Hike 2019, organized by Bloodwise. I admit we were under the influence of a nice glass of wine and in a moment of madness we signed up for what Bloodwise described as a fun and challenging event which would surely leave lasting memories on the stunning Pap of Glencoe. Well, it was stunning and did leave some lasting memories, but lets start at the beginning, for signing up was the easiest part of the challenge.

Preparation

When we signed up in March, a couple of months ago, I was enthusiastic. Being a MPC member now for almost two years, I have done things I never thought I was capable of. Climbing a mountain? Never done it before. I thought it might be my real challenge for 2019. Besides walking all over the Netherlands, this would be a real personal challenge to me.

For those who don’t know me that well, I am the one who does things whitout having any idea what the consequences might be. I read it, I like it and I dive right into it, 100%, without overlooking the big picture. It happens to me over and over again. Lucky for me, I have a husband who slows me down from time to time. But not this time; he said we can do this. As time went by I started thinking about it more and then one day there was this big envelope from Bloodwise with all the necessary information. All of a sudden I wondered if I could really do this? And at the same time a little voice inside my head said to me, you can’t say A without saying B…

Saturday 25 May 2019

It’s early in the morning, when an über takes us to the railway station in Glasgow. There, a bus is waiting for us to take us to the Glencoe Inn. As we leave the city of Glasgow, we immediately recognized some places from last year when we did the West Highland Way. Again we were struck by the beautiful landscapes and the views of this amazing country, a song of Coldplay came out of the radio speakers singing, “I feel my heart beating, I feel my heart beat beneath my skin.” It couldn’t be more striking. I felt my heart beat beneath my skin, because in a flash of a moment I realized,  enthusiastic as I can be, I signed up for something I had no idea of what’s it would involve. I have never ever hiked a mountain. We did the West Highland Way and we did Arthur’s Seat, but I knew this was going to be something totally different. All of a sudden I got nervous. What if I couldn’t make it? It seemed such a nice challenge under the influence of a glass of wine back in March.

Pap of Glencoe

Before we started the hike, we got a few instructions from some serious Mountain Hikers. Scott, Anna, Kate and James were our guides for today’s hike. At the beginning Scott made the joke that the dangerous part of this hike would be getting us in one piece on the other side of the road. He, probably did it to break the ice, but it did not ease my mind! As soon as we passed a gate, some sort of entrance, the path took us up to the hillside. The weather that day was not going to work with us, since it drizzled and later on even rained. But hey, let’s not spoil the fun! Pretty soon steep uphill work began, but looking back, views opened up behind us. We could look over Loch Leven to Loch Linnhe.

At some point we had to wait for the whole group. The last part should be a technical tough part and the Mountain Hikers wanted to keep the group together.

I think at that point my nerves reached the highest level. I wanted to go back, especially after another couple, who I thought did this with their eyes closed, said they were not going with us to the top. I looked at my love (maybe we should not go any further too) and all he said was; no way, you are not going back, you are going to do this! Oh boy, does this man know me. If he let me go down he knew that I was going to regret it for the rest of my life.

In this last part to the top we had to step over a cliff. The part I stood on was no wider than my two feet. How the hell was I going to do this? And then there was Anna. She stood there to help me cross over and I couldn’t accept her help. I felt so awful, I asked her if it was okay if my husband took her place. To her it was absolutely no problem, but I felt awful for it seemed I did not trust her that much and I appologized. But Anna somehow understood, there was no pushing from her side, no comment, she just stepped aside and let my husband help me.

As soon as I crossed over, the people in front and behind me started to cheer and applaud. And this awesome lady called Claire shouted at me, “well done, Wonderwoman!” It makes you feel so good knowing there is a group that supports you all the way. As we reached the top, tears were running down mine and other faces. Despite the fact that the mist left us with no beautiful views, we all achieved a goal, and that made us very proud. Lots of pictures were taken despite the bad weather.

Going up meant, at some point you have to go back, and going down is not always easier. Anna taught me so much on my way down. She stayed with me all the way and talked me through it.

She taught me to hike with a pole, how to walk sideways, and kept on talking to me knowing I was having a rough time.

When I walk with my Dutch Peakers In the Netherlands, I keep talking to those having a hard time. Now Anna did the same to me. She kept talking even though I said I would have a bad night of sleep because all I would hear all night was her talking to me. She talked about all her adventures, all the countries she visited where she did this kind of work, for more than ten years now. A job at the office was not something for her, although it would paid better, she said.

And in the end there was also James. He helped me on a path with a lot of little rocks which started to roll as soon as I set foot on them. James let me put my shoe against his, let me put my hand on his shoulder and with the other hand on the pole we got down. At some point it really made me laugh because I felt like a blind person, walking with one hand on his shoulder and the other one on the pole. When I told him, he said he had climbed the Ben Nevis with a blind person! Aren’t these Mountain Hikers amazing people?

Anna, unfortunaly we didn’t got the chance to say goodbye, since you had to help somebody else in the end, but to me you were amazing. You taught me, motivated me, encouraged me, gave me instructions and compliments.  Wherever you are, whatever you do, you will be forever in my memories and one day you will be a damn good teacher! James thank you so much for helping the blind and the awesome tip for a good whiskey! Last but not least, thank you Bloodwise and in particulary Stacy, for this fun and challenging event. It was challenging, it was fun, it was hard, it was wet, but above all, it was awesome! I won’t do it again tomorrow but who knows, maybe someday…

High Hopes

High Hopes

Had to have high, high hopes for a living

Didn’t know how but I always had a feeling

I was gonna be that one in a million

Always had high, high hopes

                                                           Panic at the disco

High Hopes

Don’t we all have high hopes at some moments in life? Shouldn’t we have high hopes at some moments in life? We want the best out of everything and especially out of life. I know I had high hopes when I first heard my mother had cancer. I thought science was already that far that we can cure quite a  lot of cancers. And after being clean for five years I still had high hopes she would make it through this horrible disease. Unfortunately, the cancer came back and nothing could be done to cure her.

We all know that where there is a high involved there probably will be lying in wait a disappointment  somewhere around the corner. My high hopes vanished, and I had to face reality. I lost my mother when she was 75 and I was 39 with two little kids, and a loving, supporting and caring husband. Throughout the years I had a lot of questions I wasn’t able to ask her anymore.

On my walk today  I spoke with other Dutch Peakers who had high hopes for a life but also hit bottom in their lives. Both Ria and Caroline lost their husbands. One had cancer and the other one had a heart attack. Both women hit bottom, and somewhere on the road to recovery they met MPC and the Dutch Peakers. Every time I hear stories like these, I am touched.

We talked about how they rise again and what it took them to get back to high hopes. And although it sounds strange, that’s why these walks are so beautiful and valuable. There’s a story in everybody…you just have to listen and walk.

Umfassungsweg

Our walk for today bears a German name. That’s no surprise, for Louise took us on a walk in the region of Overijssel, an area better known as Twente, amongst us Dutch People. And Twente is very close to the German border. But that’s not why this walk is called Umfassungsweg. It owes its name to a landscape architect called Petzold. It must have been somewhere around 1890 that he created this route that includes the heart of the state we are walking in today.

We started in a place called Delden, with a little over 7400 inhabitants, and an ice cream shop that sells the best ice cream ever. Unfortunatly as we passed, it was closed.

2 Km North of this city lies a beautiful castle named Twickel, located on the largest private estate in the Netherlands. The estate not only includes a castle but also a court, gardens and outbuildings. We walked through the estate and enjoyed the beauty and diversity of the landscape.

For Louise it brough back youthful memories. Her grandmother used to live in the region, and as a child she used to walk here often and even went ice skating in the winter. Whether it rains or the sun shines, it’s always beautiful here according to Louise. And when you work as a psychologist with people who are mentally disabled in combination with addiction problems and phychiatric disorders, I do understand that walking in an area like this clears your head.

New meetings

Today I had the honour of meeting some new Peakers. Maybe new is too big a word, with social media all over, you wonder who’s new to you.  What I meant by “new” is that I had never met them in life.

Jolanda is one of those whom I did not have the pleasure of meeting before. In 2010 she and her husband left for South Africa. They had high hopes, for they decided that South Africa was going to be the country where they would grow old and grey. They had no intention of ever returning to the Netherlands.

But then her husband’s company went bankrupt.  When you don’t have a job in South Africa you don’t have a green card, and no green card means you have to leave the country. The company orginally was German and so they moved back to Germany, close to the Dutch borders. Still every day she misses South Africa and she is trying hard to get her life back on track.

And then there is Antje. Antje lives on one of the Frysian Islands and had to take a boat trip of two hours and a drive of over two hours to join us for a walk. Travelling almost half a day to walk with other Dutch Peakers means she certainly must have high hopes. I hope Antje we made these high hopes come true. Later this year you will hear more of this lady, for we have plans to go to walking in her region at the end of September.

And then there is Caroline, sweet Caroline. I have done several walks with her so far and every time my admiration for this woman grows. She is the one that lost her husband from a heart attack when she had two children of 20 and 16 years old. The first time we met was on our walk in Scheveningen. I have to admit I didn’t talk to her much that first time, but I certainly noticed her. Why did I notice her? Well this is a little confession and I hope she will laugh about it…I know she will.

As I looked at her feet I saw she was wearing sneakers. And I get it, not everybody has decent hiking boots the first time you join in for a walk, but somehow I had my doubts if she would make it on those sneakers, but she did, and that’s when my admiration for this woman started to grow. She is a tough lady, and there is hardly anything that stops her.

Not long after that she bought hiking boots.  Caroline often suffers from pain in her knees, but she keeps on walking, no matter what. You are an absolute go-getter, a fighter, Caroline!

Caroline works in the housing market as a coach. I hear a lot of you thinking, what’s she doing? Well that’s exactly what I thought so I asked her to explain it a little and know I will try to explain it to you.

When people have bought a new house she guides them with the additional work. Everything that’s not standard applied into the house or what differs from the original blueprints (for example when you want to relocate a wall), she will be the contact for the buyers.

New meetings

The North Mill

Although there is a lot of talking while walking there’s always something unexpected in our walks. This time we stumbled upon an 650 year old watermill. Today this mill was in operation because of National Mill Day in the Netherlands. A couple of volunteers were very enthusiastic in telling us how the mill produced oil out of flaxseed. The mill has been renovated several times and everything you see inside the mill is still as it was in 1347.

I never knew that how much flaxseed it took to get a little bottle of flaxseed oil. A whole bucket, for just a little bottle.

I started today with high hopes. Looking back on another beautiful walk in our little country, I can say with certainty that my high hopes didn’t end in disappointment.

Thank you Louise for a beautiful walk which “umfasste” everything.

Ain’t no Arthur high enough

Ain’t no Arthur high enough

Ain’t no mountain high enough

Ain’t no valley low enough

Ain’t no river wide enough

To keep me from getting to you

This blog is dedicated to all my Dutch Peaker sisters I’ve met on my journey. Thank you so much for being there when I needed you most, and the friendship that came from it. A huge thank you to MPC for letting me find you when I needed you most.

Twenty months ago

I’m back in Scotland for the MPC2019 Event, after nearly two years. Twenty months ago I was a Dutch Peaker in Glasgow, an innocent bystander. I had no ticket for the MPC2017 Event but was there to attend the Scottish Learning Festival. I travelled all by myself to the Festival, looking for motivation and inspiration. I stayed for one week in Glasgow and then moved on to Edinburgh. It was a journey I will never forget and often look back on

20 Months ago I was a fresh Peaker, and I it was here in Edinburgh I set my first real challenge: walking up Arthur’s Seat. At that time it was quite a challenge, I was in bad shape, had no condition and just completed a long recovery from a burn out.

It was in Edinburgh on Arthur’s Peak I decided that there would be no mountain high enough anymore. It was the start to a new me. Now we are 20 months later and I have a ticket to the MPC2019 Event.

There’s always the hills

One of the people who played a role in my finding inspiration and motivation was undoubtedly Cameron McNeish. With his book There’s Always The Hills, he inspired me to go walking in my own backyard. That’s how we last year walked the Dykes of Flevoland. And this year we will walk all 12 regions of the Netherlands. If it wasn’t for him, there would never have been a Dutch Peakers Walking group. MPC couldn’t have made me more happy and surprised when this man walked up on the stage the evening of the gala. He spoke to us about Robert Louis Stevenson, the man who inspired him with his book Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes, and from this book he quoted;

I travel not to go anywhere but to go, I travel for travel’s sake The great affair is to move

In  other words, it’s the journey that’s important, not the destination. Looking back on the last 20 months, it’s my journey that’s important and not my destination. Being back, for the second time, on Arthur’s Seat will be awesome and emotional but not the most important. The way I traveled to get there is far more important. The things that happened along the way,  all the Peakers and other people, I met and spoke with over the past 20 months… they made my journey. But most important of all were the “unexpected” meetings.

The journey

While I was in E. for the MPC2019 Event, I walked a lot with Vera. We even managed to do the Marothon Challenge while walking. I met Vera for the first time in Glasgow in 2017. We sat together during a dinner of the Dutch Peakers at Oran More, and ever since our friendship has become close.

We went for a walk to Craigmiller Castle, recommanded by another Dutch Peaker, Conny.

Not yet aware of the words of Robert L. Stevenson we started walking without a map or a plan how to get there. We knew it had to be somewhere on the other side of Arthur’s Seat, and as soon as the signs showed us in which direction the Castle was, we concentrated on all the beauty we saw around us. Flowers drew our attention because of the beautiful colours, as did a bird singing in a tree and a couple of ducks and swans with their young. All of a sudden we walked around a corner and saw an iron fence with a nice little church on the inside.

One way or another I always get attracted by churches, so we walked through the fence to get a good look. There was a sign near the door that invited us to come in and have a look around.

Duddingston Kirk

As we were reading a bit of information about the door being in a different place in the early days, a man came in and said if we had any questions, he would be very pleased to answer them. That’s how we met Dr. James Jack AP, reverend of Duddingston Kirk, a local Parish Church for the Church of Scotland.

As we walked with him outside the church to have a look where the original door must have been, he stopped in front of the graveyard. From the look of it, I thought that only few graves were left. He told us, however,  there were a lot of graves, but only the rich ones had headstones. He also told us that rich people got buried 6 feet under the ground and poor people only 3 feet. He pointed us to a very little headstone near the wall of the graveyard. If you looked close you could see the words Wee Jim.

Wee Jim

There once was a woman in Duddingston who worked in a factory in Portobello, a coastal suburb, three miles to the east of Edinburgh. This woman got pregnant and gave birth to a little baby boy, named Jim. After giving birth and being a single mom, she had to go back to work in the factory, again. Not having anybody to look after the little boy, she took him with her to the factory. It was not a very healthy environment for a child, and unfortunetly he caught a pheumonia and died. Being poor, this little boy would be buried in a grave without a headstone. The women in the factory couldn’t let that happen and they collected money for this little baby boy.

The reverend also told us the story of Ann Stewart. During the 19th century, body snatchers stole bodies from the graves for medical research. One night, whitin 24 hours after a young lady named Ann Stewart died and was burried, two men took up her body from the grave. It was then they were startled because Ann was not dead. They ran for their lives,  and the reverend had something to explain to his congregation.

This young woman got married and emigrated to America. When she actually did die it was written on her headstone  buried for the second time. In America nobody understood this sentence until someone paid a visit to Scotland and stumbled upon her story.

I travel not to go anywhere but to go

There were many meetings I had on my journey in Edingburgh. Together with approximately another 200 other Peakers, I challenged myself to do a yoga work out. Something I had never done before but certainly will do again. I was surprised that 200 Peakers could be that silent.

I met Lt Col (Retd) CD McGrory, who made it possible for us to hold a small Memorial Service on May 4th at the Edinburgh Castle for all of those who died in WWII and any war after.

I met two women from America. One on the day we arrived, Carol Risk, she even wrote me a song fort he Dutch Peakers Walking. The other one, Clare Leary , during the march on Sunday morning. As I passed by she walked painfully and I decided to stay with her and walk and talk her tot he finish. For no Peaker is left behind. We had such a lovely conversation, and I thank you, Clare.

Through Vera I got to meet Elizabeth Arris. She does incredible things. In a few weeks she’s going to walk 100km ( 62 miles) in 24 hours.

On my journey, I finally got to meet Jordana who they call the mama of MPC. She’s such a warm and affected person. So nice finally meeting you!

And then there was this amazing Gala. So may Peakers all dressed up in beautiful clothes, nice food and a lot of interesting speakers. I had never in my life attended something so big and well organized.

Remembering the words of Cameron McNeish, I travel not to go anywhere but to go, I can look back on an amazing journey.

My journey will not stop after this event or after being back on Arthur’s Seat, I know now for sure that I still have a lot of travelling to do. I travel for travel sake, the great affair is to move. What I do know, ain’t no Arthur high enough!

Pictures are taken by Vera, Conny, Jeanette, Me and Amfion