THE 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…Continue reading “CCXXV – John o’ Groats to Wick”
TWO 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”
THE 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…Continue reading “CLXXXII – Glenfinnan to Strontian”
ON 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”
IT’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.Continue reading “CLXXVI – Kilmelford to Ellenabeich”
DAY 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…Continue reading “CLXVIII – Carradale to Campbeltown”
MORNING in Kilwinning was heralded by the light pitter-patter of drizzle upon the window, which did little to compel me to leave my nice warm bed. Summoning every ounce of available willpower, I forced myself up and into the bathroom where the cold, tiled floor leached out my body heat in seconds. This was clearly a situation in need of a remedy and that remedy came in the form of as much cooked breakfast as I could physically shove into my face. Right, now I was set for a full day’s walking; drizzle be damned!Continue reading “CLIII – Kilwinning to Largs”
THE 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”
IT WAS my intention to awake bright and early on the last day of my early August walking trip. And technically, I succeeded. I awoke bright and early, turned off my alarm and promptly went back to sleep. As you do.
It was a couple of hours later that I actually surfaced, roused by the persistent sunshine that was streaming in through my hotel room window. I decided to take the sun’s subtle hint — one ignores a thermonuclear fireball at one’s peril — and was soon kitted up, checked out and ready to perambulate. I would be starting my day with north-west England’s one and only proper set of sea cliffs: St Bees Head.
TOWARDS the end of April I returned to Carnforth with the express intention of leaving both it and Lancashire behind and striking out into Cumbria and the south of the Lake District. The sky was grey when I got there and I fully expected that any views of distant hills would be totally hidden by mist. Also, at some point it would rain.Continue reading “CXXV – Carnforth to Grange-over-Sands”