CCXLIV – Aberdeen to Stonehaven

Helpful MammalOVER Breakfast on the twelfth day of September 2023, I wrestled with a choice of routes by which I might head south from Aberdeen. There was a coastal path for at least part of the way to Stonehaven, and it had been my original intention to take it.  I had, however, since learnt of the existence of a mediaeval drovers’ road named the Causey Mounth, which had served as the main highway between Aberdeen and Stonehaven until the current A92 was constructed in the 1960s and 70s. This faced me with something of a dilemma; after all, I could hardly do both, now could I?

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CCXLI – Peterhead to Newburgh

Helpful MammalAFTER breakfast, I began my penultimate coastal walk of April 2023 by – and this should hardly be surprising – walking along the coast. I finished it like that, too, with some coastal walking in between. Although, technically, I suppose I didn’t actually begin with coast as I initially detoured a few metres further inland to take a better look at some Peterhead structures I’d glimpsed the previous evening on my way to my hotel.

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CCXXXIX – Banff to Fraserburgh

Helpful MammalDAY three of my April 2023 trip began with my throwing back the curtains of my hotel room to find a thin veil of cloud obscuring the sky.  The weather was warm and dry though, so I considered this natural screen against sunburn a bonus.  I was, at this point, still naively hoping I’d reach the end of day six without resembling an ambulatory tomato and on day three that still looked like it was possible…

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CCXXXVI – Forres to Lossiemouth

Hasteful MammalTHE last day of my October 2022 trip began with the gentle sound of raindrops upon the windows of my hotel room. Once again, this eased off during breakfast but most of my morning’s exertions would still be cooled by the lightest of misty drizzle hanging damply in the air. I didn’t mind this in itself – I quite like the rain – but it did threaten to hide any scenic views that my day’s walk had to offer. The walk would be from Forres to Lossiemouth along part of the Moray Coastal Trail

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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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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.

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CLXXXII – Glenfinnan to Strontian

Hasteful MammalTHE weather forecast for the 1st of October 2017 was one of rain and strong winds.  For some, the Met Office, despite a generally high level of accuracy, still labours under a reputation for the opposite, which it gained in past decades when meteorology was rather more hit and miss.  I was therefore subconsciously hoping for blue skies and sunshine in total defiance of the forecast.  It was, if you like, my personal forecast. Imagine then my joy and excitement when I woke that morning and threw back the curtains to reveal…

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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.

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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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CLXVIII – Carradale to Campbeltown

Hasteful MammalDAY Four of my May 2017 walking trip presented me with a choice. I had two options for walking from Carradale to Campbeltown: the coastal route down the B842 or a longer, meandering trek via the Kintyre Way.  While both had their advantages, I’d already spent the previous day on the B-road. But Section 5 of the Kintyre Way could hardly be described as ‘coastal.’ Ah, decisions, decisions…

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