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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CCXXIII – Thurso to Dunnet

Hasteful MammalAFTER 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…

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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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