CCII – Flodigarry to Sligachan

Helpful 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.

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CLXXXVI – Salen to Tobermory

GIVENHelpful Mammal the dismal downpour that had dominated day two of my first 2018 walking trip, I threw back the curtains on day three with some trepidation.  The sky was grim and grey but the water appeared to be staying up there and not rushing to join me on the ground.  I judged this a qualified success and hurried to the bus stop, keen to get started while that was still the case.

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Extra 3 – Kilmelford to Oban

Hasteful MammalON THE sixth and final walking day of my July 2017 trip I knew I was in trouble the moment I got out of bed. My knee was stiff and slightly inflamed and the previous day’s 20-miler had done it no favours at all.  My plans for the day involved another 20 miles but that was now looking rather foolish. Perhaps I should abandon my walk altogether?  I mean, I could hardly do that using only one leg…

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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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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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CLXII – Dunoon to Tighnabruaich

Hasteful MammalTHE early part of April 2017 was gloriously bestowed with blue skies and sunshine but, for one reason and another, I wasn’t able to head back up to Scotland until the latter half of the month.  The weather afforded me just one further day of unusually summery spring, that day being the one I used to travel up. The following morning, as I threw back my hotel room curtains, a world of greyness stared back.

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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.

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XXVII – The Isle of Portland

Hasteful MammalSUNDAY’S walk began and ended at Ferry Bridge, being a circular walk around the Isle of Portland.

I awoke not so much with the lark as with a surfeit of alarms, my phone being joined by the alarm clock in my room, which the B&B owners had thoughtfully set for me. I was too early for a cooked breakfast but they laid on cereal, which I declined, and toast, which I munched upon merrily. They then scored highly on the Helpful Mammal Scale of B&B Excellence by asking if, since I wasn’t eating the cereal, I wanted some extra toast instead.

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