So here I was, prepared with a sheet of cardboard which I had gathered in Thurso the day before and armed with a felt pen I got back in Inverness. In big capital letters I spelt out “SOUTH” on it and stood there by the side of the road next to the only junction around. I had all my hopes and expectations up: whoever was going to John O’ Groats or back, or, in fact, anywhere up here, had to pass by me.
But as time went on the only thing passing by seemd to be, well, time. After an hour or so and only two cars, who gave me nothing but a short gaze, I decided I might as well just start walking back on my own. And so I collected my rucksack and any left over enthusiasm from the ground and started walking down the A99, maybe I would have more luck once I reached the next village. I should be disappointed, all the -wicks and -gills and -towns on my map were nothing but small hamlets, collections of a few houses by the road, and so traffic didn’ increase much for the first hours of my walk. “What a great start for my days as a hitchhiker” I thought as I kept on letting my head drop only to effortfully push it up with every passing car in order to present my more or less painfully smiley face – it didn’t even matter if these were travelling in my direction, I just hoped that, whoever had a reason to come up here, might as well have one to come back down again. About hitchhiking I had been advised by several people who were highly experienced with this, that the utmost importance in hitching a ride should be given to looking positive and well scented – though for the latter I neither did nor do now have any idea as to how one should “look” the part. Anyhow, I kept myself busy wondering about the difference it could make out here if I was to be accompanied by a fridge1 – not much I suppose. Just as I was about to take a seat on the grass by the road and boost my energies with some bread it happened. A car, it stopped, right there next to me. I was being rescued from the uncertain seas of this black road2!