CLXXXIX – Lochailort to Mallaig

Hasteful MammalMY PLAN for this walk, as originally envisioned, had been that I would travel up to Lochailort on the 9th of May and spend the night at Lochailort Inn, ready to set off for Mallaig in the morning. That did not happen. Thanks to something of a travel nightmare, I awoke in Glasgow instead. There, I had a hearty breakfast and boarded a train that left at 8 am, the same time I’d hoped to start walking. The rail journey from Glasgow to Lochailort takes approximately five hours, which meant that I didn’t even reach my starting point until lunchtime. This did give me an excuse to nip into the Lochailort inn for a sneaky lunchtime G&T to kick my walk off, but it also meant I only had half a day to complete a walk of about 18 miles. Would that even be possible?

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CLXXXI – Fort William to Glenfinnan

Hasteful MammalI DECIDED back in September, against all sense and reason, that I would return at that month’s end and continue my walking adventure.  And adventure of sorts was certainly a possibility, given the wind and rain warnings for the couple of days that followed.  But the first day was relatively clement and went something like this…

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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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CLII – Ayr to Kilwinning

Hasteful MammalTHIS time last month (as I write this), I left my hotel rested (and breakfasted) but I found myself in no immediate hurry to leave the town of Ayr (Inbhir Àir). Instead I bought myself a coffee and ambled idly through its streets, randomly taking in the sights. 

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CXLVI – Glenluce to Drummore

Hasteful MammalLURED by a weather forecast that promised sunshine in Scotland and rain in London, I headed back to Galloway in the middle of April in order to get in a couple more days of walking.  The weather was sunshine and small fluffy clouds for most of the journey to Scotland.  It was also sunshine and small fluffy clouds for most of the journey home. Can you guess how it was in between?

It rained. A lot. Well, obviously.

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CXLV – Port William to Glenluce

Hasteful MammalTHE final day of my mid-March adventure did not begin with blue skies and sunshine but with a comfortingly familiar overall greyness and grimness.  Having prepared myself for meteorological misery with a hearty breakfast and warm clothing, I ventured out once again…

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CXLII – Gatehouse of Fleet to Newton Stewart

Hasteful MammalON THE second day of my recent Galloway gallivant, I decided to consider my options carefully.  I planned to walk from Gatehouse of Fleet to Newton Stewart and three possible routes presented themselves.  I could stick to the coast and dodge lorries on the A75 for fourteen miles or I could head inland and follow one of two alternatives, namely National Cycle Network route 7 and an old military road.  It was time to consult the self-imposed rules by which these walks are governed…

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CXXXVI – Carlisle to Annan

Hasteful MammalNEAR the start of September, five years and one day after I set off from Gravesend, I found myself heading out of Carlisle on a route that would lead me to the Scottish border.  Not only was this the start of the sixth year of this walking endeavour but the day would end with my stepping foot in Scotland for the first time in thirty-eight years.  It was not unexciting.

The day began with the first possible train out of London, which deposited me mid-morning in Carlisle. 

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CXXXV – Bowness-on-Solway to Carlisle

Hasteful MammalI HAVE had many alarm clocks over the years and, given time, I can learn to sleep through any of them.  But a faceful of blinding solar emanations is always difficult to sleep through, which how I came to be up and about and haring for a bus on the third and final day of my mid-August trip. I made it to the bus stop with just minutes to spare and mentally thanked the great, glowing orb in the sky.

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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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