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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CCXXI – Bettyhill to Melvich

Hasteful MammalI 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.

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CCXX – Tongue to Bettyhill

Hasteful MammalFOLLOWING 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.

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CCXVIII – Durness loop via Balnakeil and Faraid Head

Hasteful MammalI 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…

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CXLV – Port William to Glenluce

Hasteful MammalTHE final day of my mid-March adventure did not begin with blue skies and sunshine but with a comfortingly familiar overall greyness and grimness.  Having prepared myself for meteorological misery with a hearty breakfast and warm clothing, I ventured out once again…

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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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CXXX – Millom to Ravenglass

IHasteful Mammal SHOULD know better than to try to make plans.  Staying overnight in Millom, for instance, so that I could just get up early and start walking.  That was a plan right up until the day before, when my hotel turned out not to have an actual room for me to stay in.

Some last-minute problem-solving saw me staying at St Bees instead, which meant that my hotel was right next to a beach but not, unfortunately, next to Millom.  My earliness would now be constrained by the railway and the rest of my plans would have to be somewhat fluid…

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CXXII – Lytham St Anne’s to Fleetwood

Hasteful MammalI AWOKE early in my hotel room in St Anne’s, dazzling sunlight reflecting off all the walls.  The sun was up, the sky was blue and my stomach was ready for breakfast, which seemed the correct order of things.  Had the sun been blue and breakfast all stomachs I think I’d have just stayed in bed.  I fancied that I could smell bacon and decided that it needed to be mine.

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CXIX – Formby to Southport

Hasteful MammalIT TOOK five different trains — two of which involved an underground station on a Northern Line in completely different cities — but I fled the spring sunshine in which London was bathing, in favour of what the weather forecast led to me believe would be the greyly clouded north.

It was wrong of course.

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CXVII – Heswall to Liverpool

Hasteful MammalHAVING slept like a log in my hotel in Heswall, I awoke about as speedily as a tree grows in breadth.  I was warm and comfy and had no great desire to get out of bed but I also knew that the Seacombe to Liverpool ferry stopped running shortly after four pm and thus, if I wanted to catch it, I needed to be ready to go immediately after breakfast at eight. And I knew breakfast started at eight because I’d checked.

The breakfast was a lie

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