Early on Monday morning we started by train for home; but travelling by rail was much slower in those days, and although we journeyed the whole of the day and late into the night which followed, we did not reach our home at Thelwall until Tuesday, November 21st, at two o’clock in the morning, where we awoke the sleepers by singing “Home, Sweet Home” beneath a bedroom window on the east side of Cuerden Hall, where we knew our father and mother would be waiting for us—as they are now, but in no earthly home.
[Illustration: THE ROCKERIES AT THELWALL.]
The news of our arrival soon spread through the surrounding country, where we were well known, and for a time we were lionised and visited by a host of friends, and our well-worn sticks, which at one time we thought of leaving in the sea at Land’s End, were begged from us by intimate friends and treasured for many years by their new owners in the parish of Grappenhall.
Considerable interest had naturally been taken locally in our long walk, for we had been absent from our customary haunts for seventy-five days, having travelled by land and sea—apart from the actual walk from John o’ Groat’s to Land’s End—a distance nearly a thousand miles. Everybody wanted to be told all about it, so I was compelled to give the information in the form of lectures, which were repeated in the course of many years in different parts of the country where aid for philanthropic purposes was required. The title of the lecture I gave in the Cobden Hall at Hull on January 25th, 1883, was “My journey from John o’ Groat’s to Land’s End, or 1,372 miles on foot,” and the syllabus on that occasion was a curiosity, as it was worded as follows:
John O’ Groat’s House and how we got there—Flying visit to Orkney and Shetland—Crossing Pentland Firth in a sloop—Who was John o’ Groat?—What kind of a house did he live in?—A long sermon—The great castles—Up a lighthouse—The Maiden’s Paps—Lost on the moors—Pictish towers—Eating Highland porridge—The Scotch lassie and the English—A Sunday at Inverness—Loch Ness—The tale of the heads—Taken for shepherds—Fort William—Up Ben Nevis—The Devil’s Staircase—Glencoe—A night in Glen-Orchy—Sunday at Dalmally—Military road—The Cobbler and his Wife—Inverary and the Duke of Argyle—Loch Lomond—Stirling Castle—Wallace’s Monument—A bodyless church—Battle of Bannockburn-Linlithgow Palace—A Sunday in Edinburgh, and what I saw there—Roslyn Castle—Muckle-mouthed Meg—Abbotsford, the residence of Sir Walter Scott—Melrose Abbey—A would-not-be fellow-traveller—All night under the stairs—Lilliesleaf—Hawick—A stocking-maker’s revenge—Langholm—Taken for beggars—In a distillery—A midnight adventure in the Border Land—A night at a coal-pit—Crossing the boundary—A cheer for old England—Longtown and its parish clerk—Hearing the bishop—Will you be married?—Our visit to Gretna-Green—Ramble through the Lake District—Sunday at Keswick—Furness