CXCVIII – Elgol to Carbost

Hasteful MammalMY PLAN for day four of my 2018 June/July trip was thrown into doubt before I even went to bed the previous night. I had originally had a lengthy, roundabout route in mind but was considering making it longer by including a part of the day before’s walk I’d cut out. Further complications were added when breakfast, which I didn’t want to skip — the days being way too hot to eat any kind of substantial lunch — was announced to be at a later hour than I’d hoped for. As it was, the announcement turned out to be a blatant lie; breakfast wouldn’t appear until much, much later than that.

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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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CLXXXIX – Lochailort to Mallaig

Hasteful MammalMY PLAN for this walk, as originally envisioned, had been that I would travel up to Lochailort on the 9th of May and spend the night at Lochailort Inn, ready to set off for Mallaig in the morning. That did not happen. Thanks to something of a travel nightmare, I awoke in Glasgow instead. There, I had a hearty breakfast and boarded a train that left at 8 am, the same time I’d hoped to start walking. The rail journey from Glasgow to Lochailort takes approximately five hours, which meant that I didn’t even reach my starting point until lunchtime. This did give me an excuse to nip into the Lochailort inn for a sneaky lunchtime G&T to kick my walk off, but it also meant I only had half a day to complete a walk of about 18 miles. Would that even be possible?

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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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CLXXXIV – Craignure to Pennyghael

Hasteful MammalAS THE winter nights shortened and the calendar crept towards the spring of 2018, I looked forward to resuming my perambulatory pastime.  The warmer weather would also be more welcome except that it never arrived. Instead, a cold front — nicknamed the ‘Beast from the East’ — swept across Britain, burying rural areas under drifts of snow and even dusting London with the stuff.

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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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