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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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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CCXVI – Scourie to Rhiconich

Hasteful MammalTHE first question on day five of my September 2019 trip was ‘is it still raining’? The answer was ‘ish’. The second question was would the day begin by heading off-road along a footpath, or would I once again be treading the tarmac? A strong indicator as to which this would be occurred when my hotelier asked me my plans for the day…

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CCXIII – Achiltibuie to Lochinver

Hasteful MammalTHE second day of my September 2019 trip continued two themes of the previous one. The first of those was distance, in that I’d have done another 26 miles by the end of it. The second was going by road instead of footpath, though I had no idea, when I set off, that that’s what I’d be doing.

Heh. As if I ever have any idea what I’m doing…

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CCXI – Dundonnell to Ullapool

Hasteful MammalTHE seventh and final walk of my April 2019 trip was faintly momentous in that it marked the first time since Gravesend that I’d walked seven days in a row (I had taken a seven-day trip way back in Cornwall but had spent the sixth day as a rest day). My legs didn’t feel quite as fresh at the start of Day Seven as they had at the start of Day One but neither did they feel like they were made of lead. I was game…

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CCX – Laide to Dundonnell

Hasteful MammalBECAUSE of a small inconvenience on Day 5 of my April 2019 trip — i.e. my hotel having ceased to exist — Day 6 actually began in a more leisurely manner than it might otherwise have done. I awoke in a pleasant B&B that was right at the start of the day’s walk (and not three miles away, as the hotel would have been) and enjoyed a leisurely breakfast and a lengthy chat with some other guests who were happy to enthuse about walking.

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CCVIII – Shieldaig to Poolewe

Hasteful MammalTHE morning of day four began with the ravenous consumption of breakfast; I’d missed dinner the night before after walking thirty-odd miles and my body was demanding fuel insistently. All it had had the previous evening was a cheeseboard, which was tasty but small, and if I were to stand any chance of completing another day’s walking, I would have to give it more input than that. So I did.

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CCI – Portree to Flodigarry

Hasteful MammalTHE first day of September 2018 saw me back in Portree, wondering what had happened to the blazing sunshine in which I’d travelled the day before. A band of low cloud had swept in overnight and was filling the air with the sort of misty drizzle that isn’t so much rain as floaty dampness.

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CC – Dunvegan to Portree

Hasteful MammalBREAKFAST in my Dunvegan B&B was a communal affair that could have easily been an awkward occasion as the mostly English guests avoided talking to each other. We were saved from silent discomfort by two things — firstly the rampant idiosyncrasy of our landlady, which prompted remark (from me at least as she decided I was sat in the wrong seat and made me move) and secondly that amongst our number were a couple from New York, for whom embarrassed reticence was quite literally something that only happened to other people. Panicked by their attempts to chat with total strangers, we took refuge in non-committal answers and trying to hide behind the marmalade…

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