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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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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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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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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CCXXII – Melvich to Thurso

Hasteful MammalMY FINAL walking day of 2019 began with breakfast in the Melvich Hotel (established 1851). They had helpfully painted a mural map along one wall of the dining area and I dawdled for a bit, gauging my progress against it. That progress would cease if I didn’t get outside and do the next bit, however, so I settled my bill, picked up my stuff and headed out to do that walking thing…

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CCXIX – Durness to Tongue

Hasteful MammalFOLLOWING a day spent idling lazily in Durness (thanks to my plans re Cape Wrath coming to naught), the first Sunday of October 2019 saw me up and about bright and early. Well, early, at least. It wasn’t actually all that bright, being grey and overcast. But while brightness was elusive, earliness was unavoidable; I had a long day of walking ahead of me…

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CCXVIII – Durness loop via Balnakeil and Faraid Head

Hasteful MammalI RETURNED to Durness in early October 2019, arriving mid-afternoon as that was the time that the one and only bus pulled into town. I made my way to my B&B (which had power this time — yay!) and sat and had a cup of tea.

‘Okay,’ I thought to myself, ‘now what?’

Except I already knew what as I’d planned that out already…

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CCVIII – Shieldaig to Poolewe

Helpful MammalTHE morning of day four began with the ravenous consumption of breakfast; I’d missed dinner the night before after walking thirty-odd miles and my body was demanding fuel insistently. All it had had the previous evening was a cheeseboard, which was tasty but small, and if I were to stand any chance of completing another day’s walking, I would have to give it more input than that. So I did.

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