National Geographic : 1950 Aug
Nc national Ueograpluc Society 173 Koacnromie oy I. Aniton y stewiart All Alone, the Author Strolls Along a Scottish Lane Between Edinburgh and London Isobel Wylie Hutchison has just duplicated the feat of the Sir Walter Scott heroine who walked from Scotland to London (page 174). On a less urgent mission than her predecessor, who made the trip in 14 days, Miss Hutchison took a leisurely 38. Though it was early spring, snow, hail, cold dogged her steps. Deliberately avoiding main highways, the author sought out quiet country lanes and canal towpaths. In place of throbbing cities, she toured remote, forgotten hamlets scarcely changed since Tudor times. Her route carried the pedestrian past history's shrines, poets' corners, artists' haunts, and anglers' streams. She crossed bleak moors, scaled eroded mountains, and investigated the Roman Wall. Determined to be reasonably honest on her walking assignment, the writer never showed the hitch hiker's pointed thumb, and yet kindly motorists offered rides. "Jump in," said a policeman, stopping his car. What could Miss Hutchison do but obey the law? She accepted a van driver's courtesy only because a heavy rain was falling. "Never mind," he told her. "It's April Fools' Day. You can kid yourself that you walked it." In London, Miss Hutchison met National Geographic staff photographer B. Anthony Stewart; and, together in his car, they retraced her route, taking this series of pictures. In May they crossed the border into Scotland and took the Wamphray road, here agleam with white hawthorn and golden broom. Miss Hutchison got out of the car and, rucksack on back, showed the photographer how she ground down two pairs of heels walking more than 500 miles. Homesick for Scottish cooking, she wondered what she'd find to eat in Wamphray-bannocks, oatcakes, finnan haddie, or haggis? "The best road the Scotsman ever sees," taunted Dr. Samuel Johnson. "is the one that leads to England." Miss Hutchison prefers the words of Charles Murray, Scottish poet: "Hamewith [homewards] the road that's never dreary, back where (the) heart is all the time."