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.

Continue reading “CCII – Flodigarry to Sligachan”

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.

Continue reading “CXCVII – Broadford to Elgol”

CXCVI – Isleornsay to Broadford

I AWOKE oHasteful Mammaln the first of July with some alarm and trepidation. Not just because it heralded the second half of 2018, meaning six months had passed and I’d so far achieved almost none of the goals I’d set myself for the year but also because it was once again oppressively hot and my plan for that day would have been doubtful whatever the weather. There was a very real chance that I’d fail to achieve my goals for that day alone and it was more tempting than it should have been to sit in the shade all morning and relax and enjoy the view.

Continue reading “CXCVI – Isleornsay to Broadford”

CLXXX – South Ballachulish to Fort William

Hasteful MammalON THE fifth and final day of my August 2017 trip I walked from South Ballachulish to Fort William, which lay about 15 miles up what was once a drove road along the shores of Loch Linnhe but is now the A82.  With this in mind, I emerged from the Ballachulish Hotel to face the narrows at the mouth of Loch Leven, which stood between me and that road. If I wanted to walk it, I would first need to cross them.

Continue reading “CLXXX – South Ballachulish to Fort William”

CLXXIX – Port Appin to South Ballachulish

Hasteful MammalON THE penultimate day of my August 2017 walking trip, I awoke and breakfasted as early as possible.  It had rained through the night and the forecast was uncertain though the clouds seemed pretty sure that they hadn’t finished yet. I was equally sure that I wanted to get going and cover as much distance as possible while the water was just hanging there, threatening and grey, but not dropping onto everything.

Continue reading “CLXXIX – Port Appin to South Ballachulish”

CLXXVIII – Oban to Port Appin

Hasteful MammalIT HAD been raining when I reached Oban and it rained through the night with thunder and lightning thrown in for good measure.  I knew then, when I woke bleary-eyed in the morning, what the cold, grey light seeping through the curtains must mean. The only real question was how bad would it be?  I hesitated, my hand halfway to the window, not at all sure that I was keen to find out…

Continue reading “CLXXVIII – Oban to Port Appin”

CLVI – Glasgow to Dumbarton

Hasteful MammalI HAD been half-expecting that my walk ending in Glasgow would be the last one of this calendar year before the winter weather rolled in.  But, as it turned out, a week of excellent early November weather in Scotland not only coincided with cold and wet weather in London but also with my good friend the Lemming being able to join me for a week, which he did.

Continue reading “CLVI – Glasgow to Dumbarton”

CLV – Greenock to Glasgow

Hasteful MammalAT AN early hour on October’s first Monday, I bounded keenly out of my hotel to discover that the skies had clouded overnight and a bracing breeze had sprung up, throwing my choice of attire — a thin t-shirt — into question.  I dealt with this by ignoring the question entirely. I gave the chill wind the cold shoulder and remained lukewarm about the concept of wearing warm layers. T-shirts are cool.

Continue reading “CLV – Greenock to Glasgow”

CLI – Girvan to Ayr

Hasteful MammalTHE sky was blue and the sun blazing fiercely when I returned to Girvan late in August.  Doused head to toe in my own bodyweight of sunscreen, I strolled back towards the harbour ready to continue from more-or-less where I left off.  This would be the first of three days of walking, covering the sixty-odd miles or so between Girvan and Largs.  Day one’s objective was Ayr, Ayrshire’s historic county town, where I would stay overnight.

Continue reading “CLI – Girvan to Ayr”

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.

Continue reading “CXLIX – Portpatrick to Cairnryan”