CCXXII – Melvich to Thurso

Hasteful MammalMY FINAL walking day of 2019 began with breakfast in the Melvich Hotel (established 1851). They had helpfully painted a mural map along one wall of the dining area and I dawdled for a bit, gauging my progress against it. That progress would cease if I didn’t get outside and do the next bit, however, so I settled my bill, picked up my stuff and headed out to do that walking thing…

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CCXIX – Durness to Tongue

Hasteful MammalFOLLOWING a day spent idling lazily in Durness (thanks to my plans re Cape Wrath coming to naught), the first Sunday of October 2019 saw me up and about bright and early. Well, early, at least. It wasn’t actually all that bright, being grey and overcast. But while brightness was elusive, earliness was unavoidable; I had a long day of walking ahead of me…

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CCXVII – Rhiconich to Durness

Hasteful MammalHAVING made the decision not to trek up the coast to Cape Wrath, the final day of my September 2019 trip involved a straightforward amble up the A838 from Rhiconich (An Ruigh Còinnich, ‘the mossy slope’) to Durness (Diùranais, from Norse dyrnes meaning ‘deer promontory’)…

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CXCVIII – Elgol to Carbost

Hasteful MammalMY PLAN for day four of my 2018 June/July trip was thrown into doubt before I even went to bed the previous night. I had originally had a lengthy, roundabout route in mind but was considering making it longer by including a part of the day before’s walk I’d cut out. Further complications were added when breakfast, which I didn’t want to skip — the days being way too hot to eat any kind of substantial lunch — was announced to be at a later hour than I’d hoped for. As it was, the announcement turned out to be a blatant lie; breakfast wouldn’t appear until much, much later than that.

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CLXXXIV – Craignure to Pennyghael

Hasteful MammalAS THE winter nights shortened and the calendar crept towards the spring of 2018, I looked forward to resuming my perambulatory pastime.  The warmer weather would also be more welcome except that it never arrived. Instead, a cold front — nicknamed the ‘Beast from the East’ — swept across Britain, burying rural areas under drifts of snow and even dusting London with the stuff.

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CLXXV – Cairnbaan to Kilmelford

Hasteful MammalDAY Five of my most recent trip began with an urgent assessment of the damage to my knee. The previous day it had chosen to protest — through the medium of pain — against my plan to walk six days straight.  An evening of rest and a cold compress had reduced the inflammation to almost negligible levels and a tentative stroll up and down the hotel hallway revealed that while it was in some indefinable way not quite right, it didn’t exactly hurt.

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CLXX – Southend to Machrihanish

Hasteful MammalON THE last walking day of my May trip I caught a bus from Campbeltown to Southend.  Upon arrival, I would turn and walk back to Campbeltown albeit by a roundabout route.  This would be the final and most arduous section of the Kintyre Way, passing near to — but not over — the Mull of Kintyre from which Northern Ireland can be seen.  The Kintyre Way actually ends at Machrihanish but I had it in my head to also walk the five miles from there to Campbeltown (unless I’d had enough by then, when I might just use public transport).

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CLXVI – Lagg to Lochranza

Hasteful MammalTHE second day of my May 2017 walking trip began with blue skies, sunshine and a hearty breakfast at the Lagg Hotel on Arran. My plan for the day was a fairly long walk by my standards — twenty-five miles to Lochranza — constituting the third and final part of my circuit of the isle. Or, to look at it another way, by nightfall my total net travel over Arran would be zero.

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CLX – Arrochar to Strachur

Hasteful MammalHAVING sat out the winter weather, I was as delighted to see the arrival of spring as one can be when blossoming trees are trying to have sex with one’s nose.  One of the best ways to avoid involuntary pollination is to go where that is less likely to be an issue, namely the coast (where a breeze off the sea should be safe to inhale).  And so for the first time in 2017, I made my way back up to Scotland, ready to continue my chosen hobby of putting one foot in front of the other a lot.

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CXXXIV – Silloth to Bowness-on-Solway

Hasteful MammalON THE second morning of my mid-August trip, I awoke to the grey diffuse light and gentle pitter-patter of the rain that had been promised by the Met Office.  Fortunately, I had prepared for this eventuality by packing waterproof walking gear.  Well, mostly waterproof.  I walked in it anyway

I quickly decided that were I to stay and have breakfast, I’d never go out in the rain.  Instead I’d spend the day in the warm and then catch a bus to Carlisle.  That was hardly the point of my trip, so I forced myself outside.  It was cold. It was wet. But now that I was out in it, I was in fairly high spirits. The road beckoned, promising a damp and drizzly adventure.

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