CCVII – Shieldaig to Shieldaig

Hasteful MammalTHE third day of my April 2019 trip promised to be a long one. This was entirely of my own choosing because, when I’d looked at the map, something had leapt right out at me —two places called Shieldaig! This isn’t that amazing in itself; Gaelic toponyms are often repeated as they’re mostly descriptive in nature. ‘Shieldaig’, for instance, is the Anglicised spelling of a Gaelicised version of Old Norse síld-vík, meaning ‘herring bay’ and more than one bay in Scotland would have had herring in it. So, why my excitement about spotting two Shieldaigs?

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CCV – Strathcarron to Applecross

Hasteful MammalAROUND the middle of April 2019, I found myself back in Wester Ross, ready to embark upon a seven-day trek from Strathcarron to Ullapool. This naturally required that I start in Strathcarron, which would have been easier had the Strathcarron Hotel had a vacancy. Alas, it did not. Plan B was to stay in Kyle of Lochalsh, knowing that I could catch the early morning train (on which I’d left the area at the end of my last trip) to whisk myself there at some awful, ungodly pre-breakfast hour. So that’s what I did.

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CXCI – Kinlochhourn to Invershiel

Hasteful MammalTHE third day of my May ’18 trip began with a hearty breakfast and a reconsideration of my plans. I aimed to set off from Kinlochhourn along an old drove road, which would lead me to Arnisdale and Glenelg. From there, I intended to head inland on the Old Military Road — when can I ever resist one of those? — to Shiel Bridge and Invershiel. This was, I had reckoned, about twenty-four miles.

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CXC – Mallaig to Kinlochhourn

Hasteful MammalMY PLAN for day two of my May ’18 walking trip involved placing one foot in front of the other a lot until I got somewhere else. Well, nothing unusual there. Except this time, I planned to do that in the Knoydart Peninsula, a rather remote sticky-out bit of Great Britain. So much so that, while I can’t say that it doesn’t have roads, I can say that they’re not connected to the rest of the roads on GB. So, if you want to visit the village of Inverie, for instance, you need to do so on foot or by boat.

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CLXXVII – Ellenabeich to Oban

Hasteful MammalTHE second day of my August 2017 walking trip was all about doing stuff I’d already done, only differently.  First, I would have to backtrack, doing part of the previous day’s walk in reverse. Then I’d be completing my journey to Oban — which I’d already done once ‘unofficially’ — though by a different route. But before any of that, I resolved to get a proper look at Ellenabeich, which I’d only glimpsed in darkness and/or driving rain

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CLXXVI – Kilmelford to Ellenabeich

Hasteful MammalIT’S been a bit of an unsettled summer and I kept a careful weather eye on forecasts for Scotland with a view to picking the timing of my latest trip carefully.  This turned out to be entirely pointless, though not because of the omnipresent threat of showers.  Rather it was because, as a non-parent, I totally failed to account for the school holidays and their effect on accommodation.

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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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CLX – Arrochar to Strachur

Hasteful MammalHAVING sat out the winter weather, I was as delighted to see the arrival of spring as one can be when blossoming trees are trying to have sex with one’s nose.  One of the best ways to avoid involuntary pollination is to go where that is less likely to be an issue, namely the coast (where a breeze off the sea should be safe to inhale).  And so for the first time in 2017, I made my way back up to Scotland, ready to continue my chosen hobby of putting one foot in front of the other a lot.

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CI – Nefyn to Caernarfon

Hasteful MammalHAVING previously forecast a lot of rain that turned out to be made of golden sunshine, the Met Office recently managed an unspectacular return to form by accurately predicting cloud cover over North Wales.  Which is a bit like predicting sunshine in the Sahara.  But at least I was forewarned and therefore prepared…

Prepared to take no notice whatsoever, that is.

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XCIII – Machynlleth to Aberdovey

Hasteful MammalWHILE the Lemming and I had both agreed that leaving his car at the end point of a walk and catching the train back to the start had been an excellent plan that had given us a much greater freedom with respect to time, we were unable to reprise this cunning scheme on the Sunday due to an annoying lack of trains. What we ended up doing instead was driving back to Machynlleth and walking from there in the knowledge that there was just one — and only one — train from Aberdovey back to Mach.  If we were to miss it we’d be screwed.

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