CCXL – Fraserburgh to Peterhead

Helpful Mammal CLOUDED skies and a chill breeze awaited me upon the fourth morning of my April 2023 trip, as I emerged from my hotel and went in search of a breakfast more appetising than the lacklustre effort that had been on offer there. On walking days, breakfast is serious business and I required a more fulfilling refuelling. The question was, would Fraserburgh deliver?

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CCXXXIX – Banff to Fraserburgh

Helpful MammalDAY three of my April 2023 trip began with my throwing back the curtains of my hotel room to find a thin veil of cloud obscuring the sky.  The weather was warm and dry though, so I considered this natural screen against sunburn a bonus.  I was, at this point, still naively hoping I’d reach the end of day six without resembling an ambulatory tomato and on day three that still looked like it was possible…

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CCXXXVIII – Cullen to Banff

Hasteful MammalMID-April, I awoke in my hotel room, about half a mile west of Cullen (Inbhir Cuilinn) proper, ready to begin my second day of a six-day walking trip.  This would be a shorter walk than the day before, at about sixteen miles, and would take me through Cullen itself and onwards to Banff.  That’s the original Scottish Banff, of course, not the Canadian one, which would be a far longer and more challenging walk, what with the ocean and all.

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CCXXXVII – Lossiemouth to Cullen

Hasteful Mammal LAST week, I made my way back up to Scotland from London to resume where I had previously paused my perambulatory pastime.  That, you may recall, was in Lossiemouth, which lies an inconvenient six miles or so from the nearest rail link, thanks to the likes of Dr Richard Beeching. This being so, I returned to Lossiemouth in a roundabout way by first spending a night in Inverness (where I had dinner with a friend who recently moved there) and then caught the first train to Elgin in the morning. It seemed like a plan. And it was.

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CCXXXVI – Forres to Lossiemouth

Hasteful MammalTHE last day of my October 2022 trip began with the gentle sound of raindrops upon the windows of my hotel room. Once again, this eased off during breakfast but most of my morning’s exertions would still be cooled by the lightest of misty drizzle hanging damply in the air. I didn’t mind this in itself – I quite like the rain – but it did threaten to hide any scenic views that my day’s walk had to offer. The walk would be from Forres to Lossiemouth along part of the Moray Coastal Trail

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CCXXXV – Nairn to Forres

Hasteful MammalON THE third morning of my four-day October 2022 trip, I initially awoke to the sound of rain and quickly decided that the best way to address this was to ignore it in the hope that it would go away.  While I can’t say that it worked completely, it was more successful than it had any right to be, having eased off to light, misty spitting by the time I surfaced for breakfast.  By the time I had finished my breakfast, the rain had also come to an end, at least for now.  The skies might be unpromisingly clouded but they weren’t actually leaking.

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CCXXXIV – Ardersier to Nairn

Hasteful MammalI AWOKE in Ardersier after an undisturbed night’s sleep. If Georgina, the alleged resident ghost of the Gun Lodge Hotel had sat on the edge of my bed in the night, she had done it considerately enough so as not to wake me. Thus, fully refreshed, I was ready for the day’s challenge, which was not very challenging at all…

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CCXXXIII – Inverness to Ardersier

Hasteful MammalAFTER a five-month hiatus during which the weather delivered heatwaves that would have been hell to try to walk in, I returned to Inverness amid cooler autumnal conditions that also threatened to be damper. I was back in Scotland for four days of walking, having finally devised a way to break what would otherwise have been a nine or ten-day trip from Inverness to Aberdeen

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The Queue

Hasteful MammalTHIS was a walk of about 3½ miles between two points that are only 1½ miles as the crow flies. Actually, it was less a walk than a stop-and-start shuffle and it took my friend Simkin and I nine hours to do it. That’s just over 2½ hours per mile. And if you’re measuring speed in hpm instead of mph, that suggests something’s afoot…

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CCXXXII – Dingwall to Inverness

Hasteful MammalON THE Fifth of May 2022, I breakfasted in Dingwall in the small but splendid hall of Tulloch Castle Hotel after a night quite unhaunted by the ghostly Green Lady, for whom the hotel bar is named (well, that is where its spirits are found). Indeed, the only tortured soles causing me apprehension were those on the bottom of my feet, which were making a valiant effort to inform me that my hiking shoes needed replacing. Not tomorrow or the next day but today. And yesterday would have been far better.

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