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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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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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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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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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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CLXXXIX – Lochailort to Mallaig

Hasteful MammalMY PLAN for this walk, as originally envisioned, had been that I would travel up to Lochailort on the 9th of May and spend the night at Lochailort Inn, ready to set off for Mallaig in the morning. That did not happen. Thanks to something of a travel nightmare, I awoke in Glasgow instead. There, I had a hearty breakfast and boarded a train that left at 8 am, the same time I’d hoped to start walking. The rail journey from Glasgow to Lochailort takes approximately five hours, which meant that I didn’t even reach my starting point until lunchtime. This did give me an excuse to nip into the Lochailort inn for a sneaky lunchtime G&T to kick my walk off, but it also meant I only had half a day to complete a walk of about 18 miles. Would that even be possible?

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CLXXXI – Fort William to Glenfinnan

Hasteful MammalI DECIDED back in September, against all sense and reason, that I would return at that month’s end and continue my walking adventure.  And adventure of sorts was certainly a possibility, given the wind and rain warnings for the couple of days that followed.  But the first day was relatively clement and went something like this…

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CLXXX – South Ballachulish to Fort William

Hasteful MammalON THE fifth and final day of my August 2017 trip I walked from South Ballachulish to Fort William, which lay about 15 miles up what was once a drove road along the shores of Loch Linnhe but is now the A82.  With this in mind, I emerged from the Ballachulish Hotel to face the narrows at the mouth of Loch Leven, which stood between me and that road. If I wanted to walk it, I would first need to cross them.

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CLII – Ayr to Kilwinning

Hasteful MammalTHIS time last month (as I write this), I left my hotel rested (and breakfasted) but I found myself in no immediate hurry to leave the town of Ayr (Inbhir Àir). Instead I bought myself a coffee and ambled idly through its streets, randomly taking in the sights. 

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