IT HAS taken me a while to get around to writing up the last day of my April 2023 trip (over four months, in fact) but that delay should not be in any way taken as a commentary on the experience. On the other hand, it is very much an indicator of my propensity to get distracted by stuff and things since then. On the day, 19 Apr 23 yielded a very pleasant stroll along a sandy beach. A ten-mile stroll, plus a few extra miles on each end. And they went something like this…Continue reading “CCXLII – Newburgh to Aberdeen”
DAY 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…Continue reading “CCXXXIX – Banff to Fraserburgh”
I 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…Continue reading “CCXXXIV – Ardersier to Nairn”
THE 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…Continue reading “CCXXV – John o’ Groats to Wick”
I CRAWLED out of bed in the Bettyhill Hotel fearing the worst, weather-wise, as the forecast was for heavy showers. To my surprise and delight, however, I found blue skies and sunshine when I threw back my curtains. This was an excellent turn of events! I immediately resolved to wolf down my breakfast with unseemly haste and then get out on the road and do as much as possible while I still had this good weather.Continue reading “CCXXI – Bettyhill to Melvich”
THE third day of my May ’18 trip began with a hearty breakfast and a reconsideration of my plans. I aimed to set off from Kinloch Hourn along an old drove road, which would lead me to Arnisdale and Glenelg. From there, I intended to head inland on the Old Military Road — when can I ever resist one of those? — to Shiel Bridge and Invershiel. This was, I had reckoned, about twenty-four miles.Continue reading “CXCI – Kinloch Hourn to Invershiel”
ON 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.Continue reading “CLXXX – South Ballachulish to Fort William”
ALTHOUGH there is a certain purist joy in staying overnight at the start and end point of each walk, so that all the travelling that you are doing between places is on foot, there is a whole different kind of joy in starting the day already ensconced in a hotel at your end point. This kind of joy entails the ability to dump all your heavier things in your hotel room, safe in the knowledge that you’ll walk back to them later. It is a ‘travelling light’ kind of joy.
This was, of course, what I was doing when I caught a train from St Bees to Ravenglass in order to spend the day walking back to St Bees (the railway version of the journey was around sixteen times faster).Continue reading “CXXXI – Ravenglass to St Bees”
I SHOULD know better than to try to make plans. Staying overnight in Millom, for instance, so that I could just get up early and start walking. That was a plan right up until the day before, when my hotel turned out not to have an actual room for me to stay in.
Some last-minute problem-solving saw me staying at St Bees instead, which meant that my hotel was right next to a beach but not, unfortunately, next to Millom. My earliness would now be constrained by the railway and the rest of my plans would have to be somewhat fluid…Continue reading “CXXX – Millom to Ravenglass”
WHEN I awoke in Beaumaris, I found that the glorious sunshine that had accompanied the previous two days had quite vanished; the skies were grey and clouded and the weather forecast confirmed that rain would arrive sometime around mid afternoon. This called for drastic action, if unpacking my waterproof jacket from the bottom of my bag can be called ‘drastic’, which it probably can’t.
It could rain if it liked, I was going to walk anyway.Continue reading “CXI – Beaumaris to Llanfairfechan”