CCVIII – Shieldaig to Poolewe

Hasteful 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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CCIV – Kyleakin to Strathcarron

Hasteful MammalFOR reasons I’ll dub ‘the Three Ws’ — work, weather and walking-related injury — a six-month gap interceded between my last trip and this one. But March 2019 presented me with a window of opportunity. It was a narrow window and made no efficient or economic sense but that hardly mattered. I thus spent two days almost entirely on trains (i.e. there and back) for one single day of walking. I was, you might say, getting back on track…

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CCII – Flodigarry to Sligachan

Hasteful MammalON THE second day of September 2018, I awoke on the Isle of Skye in the cottage once lived in by Flora MacDonald (1722-1790), a heroine to the Jacobites and, even more so, to misty-eyed Victorians later wallowing in the romance of a bygone age. Though I’m neither, I could hardly help but appreciate her association with the place, though her cottage played no role in her famous escapade — rowing the fugitive Bonnie Prince Charlie from Benbecula to Skye — as it was her marital home five years after the event.

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CCI – Portree to Flodigarry

Hasteful MammalTHE first day of September 2018 saw me back in Portree, wondering what had happened to the blazing sunshine in which I’d travelled the day before. A band of low cloud had swept in overnight and was filling the air with the sort of misty drizzle that isn’t so much rain as floaty dampness.

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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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CXCVII – Broadford to Elgol

Hasteful MammalTWO days into July 2018 and three days into a walking trip, I arose bright and early to find that outside it was brighter (though no earlier) than I was. The grey skies and rain of the previous evening — which had added a level of meteorological mockery after searing heat had prompted route revisions — had dissipated overnight and the air temperature was back to feeling like the inside of an oven. This was brought home to me as I stood on the shoreline, looking across to the harbour pier where I’d stood in the rain twelve hours earlier.

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CLXXII – Tayinloan to Tarbert

Hasteful MammalI AWOKE on day two of my July 2017 trip with a sense of excitement. Not only was I about to embark upon another day of plentiful pedestrian progress but also I was awaking on an island.  Now, I realise that I normally awake on an island but I was on a smaller island and that makes all the difference.

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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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CXLIX – Portpatrick to Cairnryan

Hasteful MammalTHIS year has been shaping up to be my least perambulatory year since I set off from Gravesend, with less mileage achieved than even the year that I injured my knee and couldn’t physically walk.  Partly this is because of bad weather earlier in the year and partly because of distractions.  The logistics of actually getting up to Galloway have also presented some challenges but at the start of August I was able to do so and get in a couple more walks.  This was an opportunity I grasped with both hands — with my hand-eye coordination, I’d only have dropped it otherwise.

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CXLVIII – Port Logan to Portpatrick

Hasteful MammalHAVING enjoyed several weeks of decidedly un-Londony sunshine, I returned to Galloway at the beginning of June to find it just as bakingly hot but underneath muggy, grey skies. The humidity didn’t make for perfect walking weather but I didn’t care; I walked anyway.

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