CXXXIX – Southerness to Dalbeattie

Hasteful MammalI AWOKE in Southerness to find blue skies and warm sunshine. It was almost as if the weather had forgotten that this was October in Scotland. Still, I was not about to look a gift horse in the mouth, especially if it was pulling the chariot of the sun.

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CXXXVII – Annan to Dumfries

Hasteful MammalABOUT a week into September I stumbled out into bright morning sunshine in the town of Annan.  Surely this couldn’t be Scotland? Where was the rain and the snow? But a search of my pocket revealed unfamiliar banknotes for north of the border was indeed where I was.

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CXXXIII – Maryport to Silloth

Hasteful MammalIN THE middle of August, despite rain being forecast, I made my way back up to Cumbria for the purpose of further perambulatory diversions. 

Having left London at a time known only to insomniacs and chorusing birds, I alighted in Maryport sometime mid-morning to find the small town in bustling holiday mood.  I immediately went looking for an ice cream; the sunshine was mocking the Met Office with a vengeance—it was more like Umbria than Cumbria.

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CXXXII – St Bees to Maryport

Hasteful MammalIT 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.

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CXXXI – Ravenglass to St Bees

Hasteful MammalALTHOUGH there is a certain purist joy in staying overnight at the start and end point of each walk, so that all the travelling that you are doing between places is on foot, there is a whole different kind of joy in starting the day already ensconced in a hotel at your end point.  This kind of joy entails the ability to dump all your heavier things in your hotel room, safe in the knowledge that you’ll walk back to them later. It is a ‘travelling light’ kind of joy.

This was, of course, what I was doing when I caught a train from St Bees to Ravenglass in order to spend the day walking back to St Bees (the railway version of the journey was around sixteen times faster). 

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CXXX – Millom to Ravenglass

IHasteful Mammal SHOULD know better than to try to make plans.  Staying overnight in Millom, for instance, so that I could just get up early and start walking.  That was a plan right up until the day before, when my hotel turned out not to have an actual room for me to stay in.

Some last-minute problem-solving saw me staying at St Bees instead, which meant that my hotel was right next to a beach but not, unfortunately, next to Millom.  My earliness would now be constrained by the railway and the rest of my plans would have to be somewhat fluid…

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CXI – Beaumaris to Llanfairfechan

Hasteful MammalWHEN I awoke in Beaumaris, I found that the glorious sunshine that had accompanied the previous two days had quite vanished; the skies were grey and clouded and the weather forecast confirmed that rain would arrive sometime around mid afternoon.  This called for drastic action, if unpacking my waterproof jacket from the bottom of my bag can be called ‘drastic’, which it probably can’t. 

It could rain if it liked, I was going to walk anyway.

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CX – Benllech to Beaumaris

Hasteful MammalMONDAY mornings are not renowned for their better qualities and are sadly often only appreciated in contrast to something worse.  Monday last week (as I write this) was a glorious exception, beginning with the awareness that I’d taken the day off and that a full English Welsh breakfast awaited.  Also it was sunny, I had slept well and I was ready to walk…

To be honest, I think that Monday was more than a little confused. I know I was.

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LXXXVI – Goodwick to Newport

Hasteful MammalMY EIGHTY-sixth walk was not a particularly long one, being only twelve miles, but it was another of those moments of synchronicity where such a distance not only brought me to a convenient stopping point (in this case Newport, which is not to be confused with the other, larger Newport on the South Welsh coast) but also achieved a nice round number of miles since Gravesend, namely one thousand, four hundred.

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Extra 1 – Trefin to Strumble Head Again

Hasteful MammalAS I mentioned previously, I wasted too much time when walking from St Davids to Strumble Head and ended up skipping a couple of sections of coast path and going by road.  I hadn’t particularly wanted to skip them and several Pembrokeshire locals suggested politely that it might have been a mistake so, prior to continuing on from Goodwick, I went back and re-walked the Trefin to Strumble Head section via the coast path.

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