CXCVI – Isleornsay to Broadford

I AWOKE oHasteful Mammaln the first of July with some alarm and trepidation. Not just because it heralded the second half of 2018, meaning six months had passed and I’d so far achieved almost none of the goals I’d set myself for the year but also because it was once again oppressively hot and my plan for that day would have been doubtful whatever the weather. There was a very real chance that I’d fail to achieve my goals for that day alone and it was more tempting than it should have been to sit in the shade all morning and relax and enjoy the view.

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CXCV – Armadale to Isleornsay

Hasteful MammalIT’S been a month since my last walking trip, which occurred at the end of June 2018 but which I hadn’t gotten around to writing up until now. I had more success in returning to Scotland than I’d enjoyed on the previous trip, though a bus terminating unexpectedly at London Bridge due to roadworks did have me jogging across central London in the small hours of the morning in order to catch the first train out. I travelled up to Mallaig and stayed the night there, ready to take the ferry back to Armadale in the morning. Which I did.

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CXCIV – Isleornsay to Armadale

Hasteful MammalWHEN I planned my May 2018 walking trip, I never actually intended to have a sixth walking day but that was okay because I hadn’t originally planned to have a fifth one either. I had expected to reach Kyle of Lochalsh (Caol Loch Aillse) on day four and from there take a train home the next morning. This plan, which on the face of it seemed reasonable, fell apart when circumstances demanded that I reach Kyle on a Saturday. With next to no trains home on a Sunday, I elected to extend my trip and thus day five took me to Isleornsay (Eilean Iarmain).

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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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CXCI – Kinlochhourn to Invershiel

Hasteful MammalTHE third day of my May ’18 trip began with a hearty breakfast and a reconsideration of my plans. I aimed to set off from Kinlochhourn 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.

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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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CLXXXVII – Tobermory to Mingarry

Hasteful MammalMY FOURTH walking day in 2018 began with dull grey skies and the promise of drizzle all morning. Who can resist such tempting conditions as that? Clearly not me. Noël Coward once sang that only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun but he never said anything about venturing out in an antemeridian downpour. Even the maddest of dogs would refuse to countenance such nonsense and so, like the Englishman I was, I would have to do this walk alone.

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CLXXXVI – Salen to Tobermory

GIVENHasteful Mammal the dismal downpour that had dominated day two of my first 2018 walking trip, I threw back the curtains on day three with some trepidation.  The sky was grim and grey but the water appeared to be staying up there and not rushing to join me on the ground.  I judged this a qualified success and hurried to the bus stop, keen to get started while that was still the case.

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CLXXXV – Pennyghael to Salen

Hasteful MammalWHILE my first walking day of 2018 was blessed by blue skies and sunshine, the second saw neither of those things.  The forecast had become one for unrelenting rain but, to be honest, that was okay because it was better than the sleet that it had previously predicted.  Armed with a seemingly bottomless packed lunch courtesy of my B&B (Seaview in Fionnphort), I caught the bus back to rain-sodden Pennyghael and prepared to splish-splash the 23 miles to Salen.

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CLXXXIII – Strontian to Craignure

Hasteful MammalIN KEEPING with my unintentional Christmas tradition of not writing up the last walk of the year until the festive season, it’s time I recounted the details of my walk from Strontian to Craignure. Not that I walked the entirety of that distance; Craignure is on the Isle of Mull (Muile), so a ferry crossing was involved.

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