CCXXVIII – Lybster to Berriedale

Hasteful MammalACCORDING to the Met Office, what I should have seen on 1st May, as I threw back the curtains of my hotel room window, was a wall of white mist. What I actually saw was that the mist was missing; the weather was clear…

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CCXXVII – Wick to Lybster

Hasteful MammalTHE 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’).  

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CCXXV – John o’ Groats to Wick

Hasteful MammalTHE 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…

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CCXIV – Lochinver to Drumbeg

Hasteful MammalTHE forecast for the third day of my September 2019 trip was once again for intermittent showers. The skies when I awoke were suitably grey, as seen through my hotel window but that was looking westwards. Behind me there was blue and a promising ray of sunshine.

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CXCV – Armadale to Isleornsay

Hasteful MammalIT’S been a month since my last walking trip, which occurred at the end of June 2018 but which I hadn’t gotten around to writing up until now. I had more success in returning to Scotland than I’d enjoyed on the previous trip, though a bus terminating unexpectedly at London Bridge due to roadworks did have me jogging across central London in the small hours of the morning in order to catch the first train out. I travelled up to Mallaig and stayed the night there, ready to take the ferry back to Armadale in the morning. Which I did.

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CXCIII – Kyle of Lochalsh to Isleornsay

Hasteful MammalI AWOKE on the fifth day of my May ’18 walking trip serenaded by the patter of rain. This made the day relatively simple as I had a wet weather plan and a dry weather plan and now I didn’t need to agonise over how dry ‘dry’ actually was. Thus, when I emerged from my hotel, full of cheer and hearty breakfast, I knew what route I would take. It began with the A87, which would carry me off the British mainland and onto the Isle of Skye (An t-Eilean Sgitheanach).

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CXCII – Invershiel to Kyle of Lochalsh

Hasteful MammalDAY four of my May ’18 trip began with a surprising absence of shuffling discomfort. My legs, feet and dodgy knee all appeared to have forgiven me for the 28-miler I’d inflicted on them the day before. Hurrying, lest they change their tune, I fuelled myself up with a hearty breakfast in advance of this day’s efforts. Fully fed, I then took stock of the weather conditions.

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CLXXXVIII – Mingarry to Lochailort

Hasteful MammalTHE FIFTH day of my first walking trip of 2018 was also its last, a slightly-frustrating state of affairs that would see me reach Lochailort but not Mallaig. This had not been my original plan, which had included a sixth day, but ominous meteorological forecasts had promised that a Mini-Beast from the East would bring bad weather and likely heavy snow. I didn’t want to get to Mallaig only to find myself trapped there and so my plans had been curtailed.

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CLXXXVII – Tobermory to Mingarry

Hasteful MammalMY FOURTH walking day in 2018 began with dull grey skies and the promise of drizzle all morning. Who can resist such tempting conditions as that? Clearly not me. Noël Coward once sang that only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun but he never said anything about venturing out in an antemeridian downpour. Even the maddest of dogs would refuse to countenance such nonsense and so, like the Englishman I was, I would have to do this walk alone.

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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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