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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CCXLV – Stonehaven to Montrose

Helpful MammalI ALIGHTED at Stonehaven railway station early on 13 Sep 2023, ready and eager to resume my migration southward. I had already breakfasted, prior to departing Aberdeen, and so was already fuelled up for the journey, with a particular emphasis on being sufficiently caffeinated – early mornings and I are not what you might call natural acquaintances, except when I see them from entirely the wrong end, having somehow forgotten to go to bed. Fortunately, on this particular morning, that was not the case and I was sufficiently rested as well as fuelled. No excuse, then, for not immediately getting on with it…

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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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CCXLIII – Aberdeen Loop

Helpful Mammal I RETURNED to the great grey granite city of Aberdeen just before mid-September in a largely successful bid to get a few days of walking in before the weather changed from summery to autumnal. A train journey lasting several hours conveyed me north from London and it was early evening when I finally alighted at Aberdeen station.  From there, it was a very short walk to check in at my hotel, after which I was faced with the question of what to do with the rest of my evening. The obvious answer was to find food and go over my plan for the following morning’s walk. What I actually did was go for a walk right there and then. In the rain.

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CCXLII – Newburgh to Aberdeen

Helpful MammalIT HAS taken me a while to get around to writing up the last day of my April 2023 trip (over four months, in fact) but that delay should not be in any way taken as a commentary on the experience. On the other hand, it is very much an indicator of my propensity to get distracted by stuff and things since then.  On the day, 19 Apr 23 yielded a very pleasant stroll along a sandy beach. A ten-mile stroll, plus a few extra miles on each end.  And they went something like this…

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CCXLI – Peterhead to Newburgh

Helpful MammalAFTER breakfast, I began my penultimate coastal walk of April 2023 by – and this should hardly be surprising – walking along the coast. I finished it like that, too, with some coastal walking in between. Although, technically, I suppose I didn’t actually begin with coast as I initially detoured a few metres further inland to take a better look at some Peterhead structures I’d glimpsed the previous evening on my way to my hotel.

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CCXL – Fraserburgh to Peterhead

Helpful Mammal CLOUDED skies and a chill breeze awaited me upon the fourth morning of my April 2023 trip, as I emerged from my hotel and went in search of a breakfast more appetising than the lacklustre effort that had been on offer there. On walking days, breakfast is serious business and I required a more fulfilling refuelling. The question was, would Fraserburgh deliver?

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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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CCXXX – Golspie to Tain

Hasteful MammalA LITTLE over two months ago, as I write this, I awoke in Golspie (Goillspidh) and was pleased to realise that I was now back onto what passed for my plan. By adding extra distance into the day before, I was back to being where I had intended when I had intended.  But would things stay that way?

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CCXXIX – Berriedale to Golspie

Hasteful MammalI HAD a problem on the second day of May, which was that I awoke in Helmsdale, exactly where I had planned to be.  How is this a problem, you might reasonably ask? Because it was not where I needed to be – my plan had failed to come to fruition and I had curtailed my previous walk some eight and a half miles short of Helmsdale. I thus needed to get back to Berriedale, if I were to pick up where I left off. Somehow.

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