CCXLVII – Arbroath to Dundee

Helpful MammalIN LATE April 2024, I headed up north once again to continue my intermittently-ongoing amble around our shores.  Since my last walk left off in Arbroath, it was to that town that I now returned, alighting at the station at some unsociably early hour in order to give myself the whole day in which to go easy.  I had done little to no long-distance walking since my last trip and was concerned that I would be out of practice. The test of that would be to get going…

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CCXLVI – Montrose to Arbroath

Helpful MammalTHE final day of my mid-September 2023 trip saw me alighting from a train at Montrose railway station at an unsociably early hour, keen to continue southwards towards Arbroath. The weather felt slightly less warm than it had been but the skies were mostly clear and good conditions were forecast, so my sartorial choice of a t-shirt and shorts was not being brought into question. Except, maybe, for the small but excruciating detail that said shorts would potentially bring my legs into full contact with every single stinging nettle on the route. Again.

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CCXLIV – Aberdeen to Stonehaven

Helpful MammalOVER Breakfast on the twelfth day of September 2023, I wrestled with a choice of routes by which I might head south from Aberdeen. There was a coastal path for at least part of the way to Stonehaven, and it had been my original intention to take it.  I had, however, since learnt of the existence of a mediaeval drovers’ road named the Causey Mounth, which had served as the main highway between Aberdeen and Stonehaven until the current A92 was constructed in the 1960s and 70s. This faced me with something of a dilemma; after all, I could hardly do both, now could I?

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CCXXXIX – Banff to Fraserburgh

Helpful MammalDAY three of my April 2023 trip began with my throwing back the curtains of my hotel room to find a thin veil of cloud obscuring the sky.  The weather was warm and dry though, so I considered this natural screen against sunburn a bonus.  I was, at this point, still naively hoping I’d reach the end of day six without resembling an ambulatory tomato and on day three that still looked like it was possible…

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CCXXXVIII – Cullen to Banff

Hasteful MammalMID-April, I awoke in my hotel room, about half a mile west of Cullen (Inbhir Cuilinn) proper, ready to begin my second day of a six-day walking trip.  This would be a shorter walk than the day before, at about sixteen miles, and would take me through Cullen itself and onwards to Banff.  That’s the original Scottish Banff, of course, not the Canadian one, which would be a far longer and more challenging walk, what with the ocean and all.

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CCXXXVI – Forres to Lossiemouth

Hasteful MammalTHE last day of my October 2022 trip began with the gentle sound of raindrops upon the windows of my hotel room. Once again, this eased off during breakfast but most of my morning’s exertions would still be cooled by the lightest of misty drizzle hanging damply in the air. I didn’t mind this in itself – I quite like the rain – but it did threaten to hide any scenic views that my day’s walk had to offer. The walk would be from Forres to Lossiemouth along part of the Moray Coastal Trail

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CCXXXV – Nairn to Forres

Hasteful MammalON THE third morning of my four-day October 2022 trip, I initially awoke to the sound of rain and quickly decided that the best way to address this was to ignore it in the hope that it would go away.  While I can’t say that it worked completely, it was more successful than it had any right to be, having eased off to light, misty spitting by the time I surfaced for breakfast.  By the time I had finished my breakfast, the rain had also come to an end, at least for now.  The skies might be unpromisingly clouded but they weren’t actually leaking.

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CCXXXIV – Ardersier to Nairn

Hasteful MammalI AWOKE in Ardersier after an undisturbed night’s sleep. If Georgina, the alleged resident ghost of the Gun Lodge Hotel had sat on the edge of my bed in the night, she had done it considerately enough so as not to wake me. Thus, fully refreshed, I was ready for the day’s challenge, which was not very challenging at all…

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CCXXXII – Dingwall to Inverness

Hasteful MammalON THE Fifth of May 2022, I breakfasted in Dingwall in the small but splendid hall of Tulloch Castle Hotel after a night quite unhaunted by the ghostly Green Lady, for whom the hotel bar is named (well, that is where its spirits are found). Indeed, the only tortured soles causing me apprehension were those on the bottom of my feet, which were making a valiant effort to inform me that my hiking shoes needed replacing. Not tomorrow or the next day but today. And yesterday would have been far better.

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CCXXXI – Tain to Dingwall

Hasteful MammalSOME three months ago – I have really been inexcusably tardy about writing this up – I breakfasted in Tain (Baile Dhubhthaich) within the walls of Mansfield Castle Hotel, which was not really a true castle but a mansion house with a tower and battlements tacked on for aesthetic effect…

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