CCXXXII – Dingwall to Inverness

Hasteful MammalON THE Fifth of May 2022, I breakfasted in Dingwall in the small but splendid hall of Tulloch Castle Hotel after a night quite unhaunted by the ghostly Green Lady, for whom the hotel bar is named (well, that is where its spirits are found). Indeed, the only tortured soles causing me apprehension were those on the bottom of my feet, which were making a valiant effort to inform me that my hiking shoes needed replacing. Not tomorrow or the next day but today. And yesterday would have been far better.

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CCXXXI – Tain to Dingwall

Hasteful MammalSOME three months ago – I have really been inexcusably tardy about writing this up – I breakfasted in Tain (Baile Dhubhthaich) within the walls of Mansfield Castle Hotel, which was not really a true castle but a mansion house with a tower and battlements tacked on for aesthetic effect…

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CCXXX – Golspie to Tain

Hasteful MammalA LITTLE over two months ago, as I write this, I awoke in Golspie (Goillspidh) and was pleased to realise that I was now back onto what passed for my plan. By adding extra distance into the day before, I was back to being where I had intended when I had intended.  But would things stay that way?

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CCXIII – Achiltibuie to Lochinver

Hasteful MammalTHE second day of my September 2019 trip continued two themes of the previous one. The first of those was distance, in that I’d have done another 26 miles by the end of it. The second was going by road instead of footpath, though I had no idea, when I set off, that that’s what I’d be doing.

Heh. As if I ever have any idea what I’m doing…

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CCXII – Ullapool to Achiltibuie

Hasteful MammalAFTER the conclusion of my seven-day walking trip last April, I had blithely assumed that the next one would happen in May, or June at a push. As things turned out, they were far pushier than that. Due in part to my own commitments but mostly to difficulty in booking accommodation, I had to wait until September, by which time the glorious summer weather was pretty much over.

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CCXI – Dundonnell to Ullapool

Helpful MammalTHE seventh and final walk of my April 2019 trip was faintly momentous in that it marked the first time since Gravesend that I’d walked seven days in a row (I had taken a seven-day trip way back in Cornwall but had spent the sixth day as a rest day). My legs didn’t feel quite as fresh at the start of Day Seven as they had at the start of Day One but neither did they feel like they were made of lead. I was game…

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CCX – Laide to Dundonnell

Helpful MammalBECAUSE of a small inconvenience on Day 5 of my April 2019 trip — i.e. my hotel having ceased to exist — Day 6 actually began in a more leisurely manner than it might otherwise have done. I awoke in a pleasant B&B that was right at the start of the day’s walk (and not three miles away, as the hotel would have been) and enjoyed a leisurely breakfast and a lengthy chat with some other guests who were happy to enthuse about walking.

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CCIX – Poolewe to Laide

Helpful MammalKNOWING that I would push myself with respect to terrain and distance in the first half of my April 2019 trip, I had anticipated that I would feel somewhat tired towards the end of it. Accordingly, the last three days were all much shorter walks, coming in at just under fifteen miles each. This meant that I had no issues about trying to cram x miles into only y hours and so could afford to have a lie-in and catch up on some Zzz.

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CCVIII – Shieldaig to Poolewe

Helpful MammalTHE morning of day four began with the ravenous consumption of breakfast; I’d missed dinner the night before after walking thirty-odd miles and my body was demanding fuel insistently. All it had had the previous evening was a cheeseboard, which was tasty but small, and if I were to stand any chance of completing another day’s walking, I would have to give it more input than that. So I did.

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CCVII – Shieldaig to Shieldaig

Hasteful MammalTHE third day of my April 2019 trip promised to be a long one. This was entirely of my own choosing because, when I’d looked at the map, something had leapt right out at me —two places called Shieldaig! This isn’t that amazing in itself; Gaelic toponyms are often repeated as they’re mostly descriptive in nature. ‘Shieldaig’, for instance, is the Anglicised spelling of a Gaelicised version of Old Norse síld-vík, meaning ‘herring bay’ and more than one bay in Scotland would have had herring in it. So, why my excitement about spotting two Shieldaigs?

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