CLXXXVII – Tobermory to Mingarry

Helpful MammalMY FOURTH walking day in 2018 began with dull grey skies and the promise of drizzle all morning. Who can resist such tempting conditions as that? Clearly not me. Noël Coward once sang that only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun but he never said anything about venturing out in an antemeridian downpour. Even the maddest of dogs would refuse to countenance such nonsense and so, like the Englishman I was, I would have to do this walk alone.

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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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CLXXXV – Pennyghael to Salen

Helpful MammalWHILE my first walking day of 2018 was blessed by blue skies and sunshine, the second saw neither of those things.  The forecast had become one for unrelenting rain but, to be honest, that was okay because it was better than the sleet that it had previously predicted.  Armed with a seemingly bottomless packed lunch courtesy of my B&B (Seaview in Fionnphort), I caught the bus back to rain-sodden Pennyghael and prepared to splish-splash the 23 miles to Salen.

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CLXXXIV – Craignure to Pennyghael

Hasteful MammalAS THE winter nights shortened and the calendar crept towards the spring of 2018, I looked forward to resuming my perambulatory pastime.  The warmer weather would also be more welcome except that it never arrived. Instead, a cold front — nicknamed the ‘Beast from the East’ — swept across Britain, burying rural areas under drifts of snow and even dusting London with the stuff.

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CLXXXIII – Strontian to Craignure

Hasteful MammalIN KEEPING with my unintentional Christmas tradition of not writing up the last walk of the year until the festive season, it’s time I recounted the details of my walk from Strontian to Craignure. Not that I walked the entirety of that distance; Craignure is on the Isle of Mull (Muile), so a ferry crossing was involved.

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CLXXXII – Glenfinnan to Strontian

Hasteful MammalTHE 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…

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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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CLXXIX – Port Appin to South Ballachulish

Hasteful MammalON THE penultimate day of my August 2017 walking trip, I awoke and breakfasted as early as possible.  It had rained through the night and the forecast was uncertain though the clouds seemed pretty sure that they hadn’t finished yet. I was equally sure that I wanted to get going and cover as much distance as possible while the water was just hanging there, threatening and grey, but not dropping onto everything.

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CLXXVIII – Oban to Port Appin

Hasteful MammalIT HAD been raining when I reached Oban and it rained through the night with thunder and lightning thrown in for good measure.  I knew then, when I woke bleary-eyed in the morning, what the cold, grey light seeping through the curtains must mean. The only real question was how bad would it be?  I hesitated, my hand halfway to the window, not at all sure that I was keen to find out…

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