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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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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CCXXXVII – Lossiemouth to Cullen

Hasteful Mammal LAST week, I made my way back up to Scotland from London to resume where I had previously paused my perambulatory pastime.  That, you may recall, was in Lossiemouth, which lies an inconvenient six miles or so from the nearest rail link, thanks to the likes of Dr Richard Beeching. This being so, I returned to Lossiemouth in a roundabout way by first spending a night in Inverness (where I had dinner with a friend who recently moved there) and then caught the first train to Elgin in the morning. It seemed like a plan. And it was.

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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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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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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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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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CCXXVII – Wick to Lybster

Hasteful MammalTHE last day of April 2022 began with my awakening early enough to be downstairs and ready to eat the very moment breakfast service began in my hotel. Then, pleasingly filled with both bacon and enthusiasm, I headed outside to walk through Wick and then southwards to Lybster, the name of which I had as yet no idea how  to pronounce (it’s ‘libe-ster’ not ‘lib-ster’).  

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CCXXVI – Wick Loop via Ackergill and Noss Head

Hasteful MammalAT THE end of April 2022, I returned to Caithness to not so much continue my coastal circumperambulation as to cover the cracks.  Windy conditions and poor visibility had kept me off the shoreline and on public roads on my last walk and, as a result, there were a couple of things I’d missed out that I would rather have not done. I aimed to fix that with a circular walk, starting and ending in Wick.

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