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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CCXXXIII – Inverness to Ardersier

Hasteful MammalAFTER a five-month hiatus during which the weather delivered heatwaves that would have been hell to try to walk in, I returned to Inverness amid cooler autumnal conditions that also threatened to be damper. I was back in Scotland for four days of walking, having finally devised a way to break what would otherwise have been a nine or ten-day trip from Inverness to Aberdeen

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CCI – Portree to Flodigarry

Helpful 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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CXCVII – Broadford to Elgol

Helpful MammalTWO days into July 2018 and three days into a walking trip, I arose bright and early to find that outside it was brighter (though no earlier) than I was. The grey skies and rain of the previous evening — which had added a level of meteorological mockery after searing heat had prompted route revisions — had dissipated overnight and the air temperature was back to feeling like the inside of an oven. This was brought home to me as I stood on the shoreline, looking across to the harbour pier where I’d stood in the rain twelve hours earlier.

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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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CLXXIII – Tarbert to Kilberry

Hasteful MammalON THE third day of 2017’s July trip, I theoretically had a choice on how to proceed. I could continue up the A83, along the shores of Loch Fyne to Lochgilphead or I could go the long way around, following the B8024 along the Atlantic coast.  The former would be a shorter walk of about fourteen miles, the latter would take me two days. 

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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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CL – Cairnryan to Girvan

Hasteful MammalWITH wonderful synchronicity my one hundred and fiftieth walk also included my two thousand five hundredth mile.  The objective for the day was to walk from Cairnryan to Girvan, which I made to be twenty-three miles.

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CXXXVI – Carlisle to Annan

Hasteful MammalNEAR the start of September, five years and one day after I set off from Gravesend, I found myself heading out of Carlisle on a route that would lead me to the Scottish border.  Not only was this the start of the sixth year of this walking endeavour but the day would end with my stepping foot in Scotland for the first time in thirty-eight years.  It was not unexciting.

The day began with the first possible train out of London, which deposited me mid-morning in Carlisle. 

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CXII – Llanfairfechan to Llandudno

Hasteful MammalI HAD a plan that, while not exactly cunning, had at least had some cunning described to it once.  The plan was this: stay overnight in Llandudno, catch the train back to Llanfairfechan and then walk back to my hotel, where all the heavier things from my bag would be waiting for me.  It was a good plan. I liked my plan. But it had one tiny little flaw.

It relied on trains

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