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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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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CLXXXVIII – Mingarry to Lochailort

Hasteful MammalTHE FIFTH day of my first walking trip of 2018 was also its last, a slightly-frustrating state of affairs that would see me reach Lochailort but not Mallaig. This had not been my original plan, which had included a sixth day, but ominous meteorological forecasts had promised that a Mini-Beast from the East would bring bad weather and likely heavy snow. I didn’t want to get to Mallaig only to find myself trapped there and so my plans had been curtailed.

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CLXXVIII – Oban to Port Appin

Hasteful MammalIT HAD been raining when I reached Oban and it rained through the night with thunder and lightning thrown in for good measure.  I knew then, when I woke bleary-eyed in the morning, what the cold, grey light seeping through the curtains must mean. The only real question was how bad would it be?  I hesitated, my hand halfway to the window, not at all sure that I was keen to find out…

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CLXXV – Cairnbaan to Kilmelford

Hasteful MammalDAY Five of my most recent trip began with an urgent assessment of the damage to my knee. The previous day it had chosen to protest — through the medium of pain — against my plan to walk six days straight.  An evening of rest and a cold compress had reduced the inflammation to almost negligible levels and a tentative stroll up and down the hotel hallway revealed that while it was in some indefinable way not quite right, it didn’t exactly hurt.

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CLXXIII – Tarbert to Kilberry

Hasteful MammalON THE third day of 2017’s July trip, I theoretically had a choice on how to proceed. I could continue up the A83, along the shores of Loch Fyne to Lochgilphead or I could go the long way around, following the B8024 along the Atlantic coast.  The former would be a shorter walk of about fourteen miles, the latter would take me two days. 

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CLXXII – Tayinloan to Tarbert

Hasteful MammalI 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.

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CLXVI – Lagg to Lochranza

Hasteful MammalTHE second day of my May 2017 walking trip began with blue skies, sunshine and a hearty breakfast at the Lagg Hotel on Arran. My plan for the day was a fairly long walk by my standards — twenty-five miles to Lochranza — constituting the third and final part of my circuit of the isle. Or, to look at it another way, by nightfall my total net travel over Arran would be zero.

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CLXV – Brodick to Lagg

Hasteful MammalTHE morning of 6th May 2017 found me blinking at the sun’s harsh glare as its rays danced and sparkled across a vivid blue sea.  The sky was azure, dotted here and there with fluffy clouds and palm trees stood proudly in front of the B&B in which I breakfasted.  Mountains rose from the island’s interior.  Had I somehow travelled to St Lucia by mistake? A glance at my breakfast plate disabused me of the notion. No, this was definitely Scotland

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CLVII – Dumbarton to Helensburgh

Hasteful MammalON 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.

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