CXCIII – Kyle of Lochalsh to Isleornsay

Hasteful MammalI AWOKE on the fifth day of my May ’18 walking trip serenaded by the patter of rain. This made the day relatively simple as I had a wet weather plan and a dry weather plan and now I didn’t need to agonise over how dry ‘dry’ actually was. Thus, when I emerged from my hotel, full of cheer and hearty breakfast, I knew what route I would take. It began with the A87, which would carry me off the British mainland and onto the Isle of Skye (An t-Eilean Sgitheanach).

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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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CLXXXI – Fort William to Glenfinnan

Hasteful MammalI DECIDED back in September, against all sense and reason, that I would return at that month’s end and continue my walking adventure.  And adventure of sorts was certainly a possibility, given the wind and rain warnings for the couple of days that followed.  But the first day was relatively clement and went something like this…

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CLXXVI – Kilmelford to Ellenabeich

Hasteful MammalIT’S been a bit of an unsettled summer and I kept a careful weather eye on forecasts for Scotland with a view to picking the timing of my latest trip carefully.  This turned out to be entirely pointless, though not because of the omnipresent threat of showers.  Rather it was because, as a non-parent, I totally failed to account for the school holidays and their effect on accommodation.

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Extra 3 – Kilmelford to Oban

Hasteful MammalON THE sixth and final walking day of my July 2017 trip I knew I was in trouble the moment I got out of bed. My knee was stiff and slightly inflamed and the previous day’s 20-miler had done it no favours at all.  My plans for the day involved another 20 miles but that was now looking rather foolish. Perhaps I should abandon my walk altogether?  I mean, I could hardly do that using only one leg…

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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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CLXXI – Machrihanish to Tayinloan

Hasteful MammalON A certain morning in early July, on which citizens of a former colony would later be celebrating Getting Away with Violent Treason, I found myself arising not only much earlier than the impending celebrants but also than many in my own time zone.  I used this head start on my day to check out of a Campbeltown hotel and take the bus back to Machrihanish where, I hoped, it would be raining slightly less hard.  My hope proved entirely unfounded.

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CLXX – Southend to Machrihanish

Hasteful MammalON THE last walking day of my May trip I caught a bus from Campbeltown to Southend.  Upon arrival, I would turn and walk back to Campbeltown albeit by a roundabout route.  This would be the final and most arduous section of the Kintyre Way, passing near to — but not over — the Mull of Kintyre from which Northern Ireland can be seen.  The Kintyre Way actually ends at Machrihanish but I had it in my head to also walk the five miles from there to Campbeltown (unless I’d had enough by then, when I might just use public transport).

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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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