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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CXXXII – St Bees to Maryport

Hasteful MammalIT WAS my intention to awake bright and early on the last day of my early August walking trip. And technically, I succeeded. I awoke bright and early, turned off my alarm and promptly went back to sleep.  As you do.

It was a couple of hours later that I actually surfaced, roused by the persistent sunshine that was streaming in through my hotel room window.  I decided to take the sun’s subtle hint — one ignores a thermonuclear fireball at one’s peril — and was soon kitted up, checked out and ready to perambulate.  I would be starting my day with north-west England’s one and only proper set of sea cliffs: St Bees Head.

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CXXXI – Ravenglass to St Bees

Hasteful MammalALTHOUGH there is a certain purist joy in staying overnight at the start and end point of each walk, so that all the travelling that you are doing between places is on foot, there is a whole different kind of joy in starting the day already ensconced in a hotel at your end point.  This kind of joy entails the ability to dump all your heavier things in your hotel room, safe in the knowledge that you’ll walk back to them later. It is a ‘travelling light’ kind of joy.

This was, of course, what I was doing when I caught a train from St Bees to Ravenglass in order to spend the day walking back to St Bees (the railway version of the journey was around sixteen times faster). 

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LXXXVII – Newport to Cardigan

Hasteful MammalBETWEEN Newport and the PembrokeshireCeredigion border lie some truly stunning cliffs with some quite unnerving cliff paths clinging to the top of them.  This walk therefore threatened to test my head for heights and so it did. Mostly, I passed, although I admit to feeling unnerved in some places.  It was worth it.

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LXXXVI – Goodwick to Newport

Hasteful MammalMY EIGHTY-sixth walk was not a particularly long one, being only twelve miles, but it was another of those moments of synchronicity where such a distance not only brought me to a convenient stopping point (in this case Newport, which is not to be confused with the other, larger Newport on the South Welsh coast) but also achieved a nice round number of miles since Gravesend, namely one thousand, four hundred.

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LXXXV – Strumble Head to Goodwick

Hasteful MammalI AWOKE absolutely ravenous on the morning of the 22nd of May.  I had pretty much gone to sleep the previous evening without eating very much at all. 

Fortunately, a full Welsh breakfast awaited me downstairs and, for the second morning in a row, the inexcusable vileness that is fried tomato was magically substituted by some delicious black pudding.  It was, and the pun is entirely intentional, bloody good.

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XXII – Lymington to Bournemouth

Hasteful MammalWEDNESDAY’S walk began with an almost traditional start insofar as, having set off to catch the last night bus at just before four am, I got to the bus stop just in time to watch its rear lights disappear down the road. While this did throw my timings into disarray, it also felt reassuringly familiar. Also, In the end, it made just an hour’s difference.

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