CCXLVI – Montrose to Arbroath

Helpful MammalTHE final day of my mid-September 2023 trip saw me alighting from a train at Montrose railway station at an unsociably early hour, keen to continue southwards towards Arbroath. The weather felt slightly less warm than it had been but the skies were mostly clear and good conditions were forecast, so my sartorial choice of a t-shirt and shorts was not being brought into question. Except, maybe, for the small but excruciating detail that said shorts would potentially bring my legs into full contact with every single stinging nettle on the route. Again.

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CCXLV – Stonehaven to Montrose

Helpful MammalI ALIGHTED at Stonehaven railway station early on 13 Sep 2023, ready and eager to resume my migration southward. I had already breakfasted, prior to departing Aberdeen, and so was already fuelled up for the journey, with a particular emphasis on being sufficiently caffeinated – early mornings and I are not what you might call natural acquaintances, except when I see them from entirely the wrong end, having somehow forgotten to go to bed. Fortunately, on this particular morning, that was not the case and I was sufficiently rested as well as fuelled. No excuse, then, for not immediately getting on with it…

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CCXLIV – Aberdeen to Stonehaven

Helpful MammalOVER Breakfast on the twelfth day of September 2023, I wrestled with a choice of routes by which I might head south from Aberdeen. There was a coastal path for at least part of the way to Stonehaven, and it had been my original intention to take it.  I had, however, since learnt of the existence of a mediaeval drovers’ road named the Causey Mounth, which had served as the main highway between Aberdeen and Stonehaven until the current A92 was constructed in the 1960s and 70s. This faced me with something of a dilemma; after all, I could hardly do both, now could I?

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CCXLI – Peterhead to Newburgh

Helpful MammalAFTER breakfast, I began my penultimate coastal walk of April 2023 by – and this should hardly be surprising – walking along the coast. I finished it like that, too, with some coastal walking in between. Although, technically, I suppose I didn’t actually begin with coast as I initially detoured a few metres further inland to take a better look at some Peterhead structures I’d glimpsed the previous evening on my way to my hotel.

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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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CCXXIX – Berriedale to Golspie

Hasteful MammalI HAD a problem on the second day of May, which was that I awoke in Helmsdale, exactly where I had planned to be.  How is this a problem, you might reasonably ask? Because it was not where I needed to be – my plan had failed to come to fruition and I had curtailed my previous walk some eight and a half miles short of Helmsdale. I thus needed to get back to Berriedale, if I were to pick up where I left off. Somehow.

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CCXXVIII – Lybster to Berriedale

Hasteful MammalACCORDING to the Met Office, what I should have seen on 1st May, as I threw back the curtains of my hotel room window, was a wall of white mist. What I actually saw was that the mist was missing; the weather was clear…

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CCXXVII – Wick to Lybster

Hasteful MammalTHE last day of April 2022 began with my awakening early enough to be downstairs and ready to eat the very moment breakfast service began in my hotel. Then, pleasingly filled with both bacon and enthusiasm, I headed outside to walk through Wick and then southwards to Lybster, the name of which I had as yet no idea how  to pronounce (it’s ‘libe-ster’ not ‘lib-ster’).  

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CCXXVI – Wick Loop via Ackergill and Noss Head

Hasteful MammalAT THE end of April 2022, I returned to Caithness to not so much continue my coastal circumperambulation as to cover the cracks.  Windy conditions and poor visibility had kept me off the shoreline and on public roads on my last walk and, as a result, there were a couple of things I’d missed out that I would rather have not done. I aimed to fix that with a circular walk, starting and ending in Wick.

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CCXXV – John o’ Groats to Wick

Hasteful MammalTHE morning of the 11th of March was bright, dry and blustery with the bluster turned up to eleven. This was excellent insofar as it meant that not only would I not be rained on but that the wind should have helped dry the ground out. The only issue was that, if the previous days had been ungodly windy, then that had just been the warm-up – the wind had now become an abhorrent entity embodying meteorological malevolence. If I exaggerate, it’s not by much…

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