ON 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.Continue reading “CCXXXII – Dingwall to Inverness”
THE last day of April 2022 began with my awakening early enough to be downstairs and ready to eat the very moment breakfast service began in my hotel. Then, pleasingly filled with both bacon and enthusiasm, I headed outside to walk through Wick and then southwards to Lybster, the name of which I had as yet no idea how to pronounce (it’s ‘libe-ster’ not ‘lib-ster’).Continue reading “CCXXVII – Wick to Lybster”
AT THE end of April 2022, I returned to Caithness to not so much continue my coastal circumperambulation as to cover the cracks. Windy conditions and poor visibility had kept me off the shoreline and on public roads on my last walk and, as a result, there were a couple of things I’d missed out that I would rather have not done. I aimed to fix that with a circular walk, starting and ending in Wick.Continue reading “CCXXVI – Wick Loop via Ackergill and Noss Head”
THE morning of the 11th of March was bright, dry and blustery with the bluster turned up to eleven. This was excellent insofar as it meant that not only would I not be rained on but that the wind should have helped dry the ground out. The only issue was that, if the previous days had been ungodly windy, then that had just been the warm-up – the wind had now become an abhorrent entity embodying meteorological malevolence. If I exaggerate, it’s not by much…Continue reading “CCXXV – John o’ Groats to Wick”
A LITTLE over a week ago, as I write this, I awoke in my hotel room in Dunnet and threw back the curtains to find a cloudy sky and puddles on the ground. The heavy rain, forecast to appear for an hour the previous day, had stubbornly remained through the night. But, while it had clearly continued until not long before I awoke, I was pleased to see that it had finally stopped, which meant I could start on my trek for the day…Continue reading “CCXXIV – Dunnet to John o’ Groats”
AFTER a two-year hiatus in consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was with relief, joy and not a little trepidation – after all, just how out of practice would I be? ― that I resumed my perambulatory pastime in early March 2022, returning to Thurso to continue clockwise along the coast…Continue reading “CCXXIII – Thurso to Dunnet”
MY 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…Continue reading “CCXXII – Melvich to Thurso”
I CRAWLED out of bed in the Bettyhill Hotel fearing the worst, weather-wise, as the forecast was for heavy showers. To my surprise and delight, however, I found blue skies and sunshine when I threw back my curtains. This was an excellent turn of events! I immediately resolved to wolf down my breakfast with unseemly haste and then get out on the road and do as much as possible while I still had this good weather.Continue reading “CCXXI – Bettyhill to Melvich”
FOLLOWING my thirty-miler from Durness to Tongue, I slept the sleep of the absolutely steam-rollered. Come the next morning, my body was not at all keen to stop sleeping and carry on with the walking part of my walking trip.
I couldn’t blame it.Continue reading “CCXX – Tongue to Bettyhill”
I RETURNED to Durness in early October 2019, arriving mid-afternoon as that was the time that the one and only bus pulled into town. I made my way to my B&B (which had power this time — yay!) and sat and had a cup of tea.
‘Okay,’ I thought to myself, ‘now what?’
Except I already knew what as I’d planned that out already…Continue reading “CCXVIII – Durness loop via Balnakeil and Faraid Head”