FOLLOWING my thirty-miler from Durness to Tongue, I slept the sleep of the absolutely steam-rollered. Come the next morning, my body was not at all keen to stop sleeping and carry on with the walking part of my walking trip.
I AWOKE on day two of my July 2017 trip with a sense of excitement. Not only was I about to embark upon another day of plentiful pedestrian progress but also I was awaking on an island. Now, I realise that I normally awake on an island but I was on a smaller island and that makes all the difference.
I BEGAN the fifth day of my May 2017 trip in Campbeltown on the Kintyre Peninsula. According to the itinerary that I had prepared for myself, I would be walking to Southend, which seemed like quite a challenge. I mean, that’s a walk of roughly 550 miles. Also, even by my notoriously lax standards, it cuts off an awful lot of coast.
DAY Four of my May 2017 walking trip presented me with a choice. I had two options for walking from Carradale to Campbeltown: the coastal route down the B842 or a longer, meandering trek via the Kintyre Way. While both had their advantages, I’d already spent the previous day on the B-road. But Section 5 of the Kintyre Way could hardly be described as ‘coastal.’ Ah, decisions, decisions…
I SPENT the third and final day of my April walking trip making my way around the coast of Arran towards the island’s main settlement, Brodick. I was met by low cloud and greyness as I emerged from my hotel but the moisture in the air could not dampen my enthusiasm. My t-shirt, yes. My spirits, no. And so, grinning like a mildly humidified idiot, I set off…
THE early part of April 2017 was gloriously bestowed with blue skies and sunshine but, for one reason and another, I wasn’t able to head back up to Scotland until the latter half of the month. The weather afforded me just one further day of unusually summery spring, that day being the one I used to travel up. The following morning, as I threw back my hotel room curtains, a world of greyness stared back.
ON THE second day of my recent trip, I awoke to find that the promised sunshine had delivered itself in abundance. The skies were blue and the weather warm while, down south in London, water was falling from the sky. I knew then that, as I walked to Helensburgh, a dash of unashamed schadenfreude would enhance my every step.
I HAD been half-expecting that my walk ending in Glasgow would be the last one of this calendar year before the winter weather rolled in. But, as it turned out, a week of excellent early November weather in Scotland not only coincided with cold and wet weather in London but also with my good friend the Lemming being able to join me for a week, which he did.
AT AN early hour on October’s first Monday, I bounded keenly out of my hotel to discover that the skies had clouded overnight and a bracing breeze had sprung up, throwing my choice of attire — a thin t-shirt — into question. I dealt with this by ignoring the question entirely. I gave the chill wind the cold shoulder and remained lukewarm about the concept of wearing warm layers. T-shirts are cool.
THIS 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.