CLXVII – Lochranza to Carradale

Hasteful MammalDURING my coastal walking endeavour I have been inconsistent where islands are concerned. I ignored Sheppey, clipped one side of Hayling and dismissed Wight as something for another day. Anglesey, by contrast, I included.  Once I reached the Firth of Clyde there were islands a-plenty and at first I chose to regard them from afar. The Cumbraes and Bute I thus passed by, likewise the Isle of Arran.  Except that the convolutions of the coast brought Arran within reach a second time and, partly motivated by the distribution of ferry routes, I decided to my own surprise to walk it.

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CLXVI – Lagg to Lochranza

Hasteful MammalTHE second day of my May 2017 walking trip began with blue skies, sunshine and a hearty breakfast at the Lagg Hotel on Arran. My plan for the day was a fairly long walk by my standards — twenty-five miles to Lochranza — constituting the third and final part of my circuit of the isle. Or, to look at it another way, by nightfall my total net travel over Arran would be zero.

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CLXIII – Tighnabruaich to Lochranza

Hasteful MammalOVER breakfast in Tighnabruaich, I learned two things. One was that it had rained all night; the other was that an unexpected General Election was now to occur in June.  While it was the latter that aroused the most comment and interest, the former was of more immediate concern as it had the potential to make my day rather squelchier than planned.

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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.

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CXXXV – Bowness-on-Solway to Carlisle

Hasteful MammalI HAVE had many alarm clocks over the years and, given time, I can learn to sleep through any of them.  But a faceful of blinding solar emanations is always difficult to sleep through, which how I came to be up and about and haring for a bus on the third and final day of my mid-August trip. I made it to the bus stop with just minutes to spare and mentally thanked the great, glowing orb in the sky.

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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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CIX – Amlwch to Benllech

Hasteful MammalTO RESUME my perambulation around the coast of Anglesey I took advantage of a lull at work and travelled back to Amlwch on a Friday afternoon, staying overnight in nearby Bull Bay.  This meant that I was up and out early on Saturday morning, returning to Amlwch just in time to realise that I’d left my sunscreen in London.  The weather forecast was approximately ‘Gas Mark Five’.

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CIII – Llanfair PG to Malltraeth

Hasteful MammalIT WAS just before six in the morning when I returned to Llanfair Pwllgwyngyll, having negotiated the cunning and secret railway challenge designed to prevent you from doing so:

Not only is the station saddled with the impressive (if contrived) name of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch but it is also a request stop, which means that the train will only stop to let you off if you can successfully tell the guard that that’s where you are going.  It also helps if you can stop saying it before the train hurtles past.

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XCVII – Portmeirion to Pwllheli

Hasteful MammalI AWOKE at an unearthly hour in Portmeirion, which was not entirely unconnected to the discovery that my phone’s alarm clock remains active even if the phone is turned off.  Its beeping and warbling thus ate up any charge it had managed to recover overnight. Still, this meant that I was awake and, after a light snooze, I was able to watch the sun rise and to amble about the village in its first rays.  It was lovely.

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XC – New Quay to Llanon

Hasteful MammalAS I sit and write this, the rain intermittently pattering at my window, a steady stream of news articles is indicating that most of the coastal towns and villages that I have visited in both Wales and the West Country are, to varying extents, underwater.  We knew that more storms were coming, combining rain and gale force winds; flood warnings had been issued.  And then they combined with the pull of the moon to coincide with high tides.  The results look spectacular but are disastrous for the communities involved.

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