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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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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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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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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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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CCXXX – Golspie to Tain

Hasteful MammalA LITTLE over two months ago, as I write this, I awoke in Golspie (Goillspidh) and was pleased to realise that I was now back onto what passed for my plan. By adding extra distance into the day before, I was back to being where I had intended when I had intended.  But would things stay that way?

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CCXXIV – Dunnet to John o’ Groats

Hasteful MammalA LITTLE over a week ago, as I write this, I awoke in my hotel room in Dunnet and threw back the curtains to find a cloudy sky and puddles on the ground. The heavy rain, forecast to appear for an hour the previous day, had stubbornly remained through the night. But, while it had clearly continued until not long before I awoke, I was pleased to see that it had finally stopped, which meant I could start on my trek for the day…

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CCXX – Tongue to Bettyhill

Hasteful MammalFOLLOWING 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 couldn’t blame it.

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