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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CCIII – Sligachan to Kyleakin

Hasteful MammalTHE previous day’s walk may have ended ended in grey raininess but the third day of September 2018 began with mostly bluish skies and sunshine, though a crisp bite to the air had developed. As I stepped from my hotel, I was confronted with the sight of the Cuillin veiled lightly in thin, misty haze.

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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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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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CLVIII – Helensburgh to Kilcreggan

Hasteful MammalDAY three of our recent four-day adventure promised to mostly involve walking both sides of the Gare Loch, at the mouth of which sits Helensburgh.  Blazing sunshine was unlikely but it was expected to be dry, though rain clouds would sweep in overnight to make the next day a write-off.  While this meant that the Lemming and I had to adjust some of our plans for the week, it left those for day three untouched.

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CXL – Dalbeattie to Kirkcudbright

Hasteful MammalWAY back in the distant dawn of time, known to some as ‘last October’, I plodded step by step from Dalbeattie to Kirkcudbright, fitting in my last walk of the year before the days got too short. As it turned out, they already had, which goes some way to explain why I was up and about in Dalbeattie before it was properly light. 

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CXXXVIII – Dumfries to Southerness

Hasteful MammalWITH autumn racing past apace, I thought I’d better get some more walking in before short days and bad weather complicate things too badly.  With this in mind, the second half of October saw me return to Scotland, ready for three day’s walking in the approximate vicinity of the Kirkcudbrightshire coast.

According to the Met Office, I had three clear days before the rain swept in so that would work out nicely. If they were right.

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CXXI – Preston to Lytham St Anne’s

Hasteful MammalI CHOSE the penultimate weekend of March 2015 on which to return to Preston and continue what was in theory my coastal perambulation, not that much of the first day’s walking could really be described as ‘coastal’.

In theory, my route for the day was pretty simple. I just needed to head west along the northern bank of the Ribble until it widened out into an estuary and I could head north along the coast.  That seemed pretty straightforward, what could possibly go wrong? 

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CXX – Southport to Preston

Hasteful MammalON WHAT would turn out to be a bright but breezy day, I sacrificed any hope of breakfast by rising around dawn in the hope of maximising all available daylight. I planned to walk to Preston by a slightly meandering route that totalled 25½ miles.  The question was, would I make it there before dark?

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XC – New Quay to Llanon

Hasteful MammalAS I sit and write this, the rain intermittently pattering at my window, a steady stream of news articles is indicating that most of the coastal towns and villages that I have visited in both Wales and the West Country are, to varying extents, underwater.  We knew that more storms were coming, combining rain and gale force winds; flood warnings had been issued.  And then they combined with the pull of the moon to coincide with high tides.  The results look spectacular but are disastrous for the communities involved.

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