Tuesday 13th September 2011 Took the bus from Glasgow to Tarbert. A lovely trip through some incredible highland scenery. Stayed at http://www.knapguesthouse.co.uk/
Wednesday 14th September 2011 Walked 15 miles from Tarbert to Kilberry. Dry day, although I set off in a light drizzle, so put on my waterproofs which seemed to stay on me for most of the day! All the locals are so friendly. One pulled over in his car and we ending up chatting for about half an hour! He ended up asking me if I wanted to buy his house! Was passed by an ambulance and fire engine later in the day and further along came across a 4x4 on its side in a ditch. The driver was OK and they successfully recovered the vehicle. Stayed at the delightful http://www.kilberryinn.com/.
Thursday 15th September 2011 Walked 20 miles from Kilberry to Ardrishaig. A taxi (John & Maureen Byrne of Glenfyne Taxi Company - 07850 645671) offered to take my kit today to the Grey Gull Inn where I am staying tonight, so I was carrying a much lighter load (a few kilos as opposed to 25 kilos! It makes such a difference). Lovely sunny day and beautiful scenery. One lady called Ellen, who was in her 80’s, passed me and insisted I made a detour via her campsite to collect a donation from her colleagues. The campsite was deserted and they looked a little surprised at my request when I turned up. But all credit to them, they raided their petty cash tin and handed over what may well have been their week’s takings. Such generosity. In the evening my nephew Alex turned up on his touring motorcycle. He is touring round Scotland for a few days and was to walk with me the next day. Great to have his company and his banter!
Friday 16th September 2011 21 miles from Ardrishaig to Ardfern with Alex. Walked along the Crinan Canal and then some main road walking. Rain in the afternoon. Lovely pub dinner.
Saturday 17th September 2011 Said farewell to Alex and continued from Ardfern to Kilmelford. Mainly road walking. Sunny spells and heavy showers. Cars stopped to make donations, including one couple who offered me a carton of milk and a packet of ham!
Sunday 18th September 2011 18 miles from Kilmelford to Oban. Sunny day. Started off with a full rucksack but the owners of the hotel where I had stayed in Kilmelford drove past and relieved me of its contents until that evening. So I spent the rest of the day bouncing along the road. Stayed at the Oban Bay Hotel.
Monday 19th September 2011 A rest day. Visited the local Alzheimer Scotland office and met David Macdonald and Andy Crabb from the Charity. Handed over the contents of the collection box. Had my back serviced by Andrew Pallas of http://www.andrewpallas-osteopath.co.uk/.
Tuesday 20th September 2011 Took the ferry from Oban to Craignure on the Isle of Mull. Going on an organised wildlife watching trip tomorrow with local guide and wildlife expert, David Woodhouse of http://www.scotlandwildlife.com/.
Wednesday 21st September 2011 What a brilliant day! David Woodhouse collected a group of us in his people carrier and we toured the southern half of Mull in search of Sea Eagles, Golden Eagles, otters and more. We saw them all, despite atrocious weather. What a thrill to see these incredible creatures, including Marsh Harriers. Mull really is a wildlife haven and has stunning scenery. I have recorded the day and there will be something for you all to listen to in due course. Thoroughly recommended (not my recording… a visit to Mull!)
Thursday 22nd September 2011 10 miles from Craignure to Salen. Stayed at the Glenforsa Hotel which is built entirely out of Norwegian timber. Very ski-chalet in style and comfortable.
Friday 23rd September 2011 Walked from Salen to Tobermory – a lovely place. My kit was ferried up to the Tobermory Hotel.
Saturday 24th September 2011 Took the ferry from Tobermory back onto the mainland. Then walked 14 miles along some stunning coastline to Glenborrodale where I stayed in a lovely timber cabin in the garden of a B&B.
Sunday 25th September 2011 From Glenborrodale I walked in heavy rain and high winds to Salen for a pub lunch. Then onto Ardshealach Lodge in Acharacle.
Monday 26th September 2011 A fantastic day. Bright with sunny spells. My hosts had suggested I walked along the “silver steps” which run alongside Loch Shiel and Loch Moidart. I spotted a couple of eagles in a tree. Saw deer up very close. Staying in the Glenuig Inn. A great base for walkers and brilliant facilities for outdoor enthusiasts.
Tuesday 27th September 2011 From the Glenuig Inn, I walked in strong winds and rain round the coast road to Lochailort and stayed at the Lochailort Inn. Spent a while in the afternoon watching an otter swimming in Loch Ailort, after which he came ashore and shook himself dry before curling up for a sleep. This is the first time I have seen this “in the field”. Very excited! Approaching Lochailort, I walked alongside the River Ailort – a lovely looking salmon river, but I couldn’t see any fish. At the Lochailort Inn “Rob” played the ‘border pipes’ in the bar (incidentally, to buy a set of these pipes nowadays will set you back a minimum of £2,000 and can be as much as £20,000! Few people make them and I gather there is a long waiting list).
Wednesday 28th September 2011 Walked from Lochailort to Arisaig. 11 miles. Saw an otter, seals and a porpoise. A lovely summer-like day with plenty of sunshine, but I lost my sunglasses. I walked 2 miles back up the road to where I thought I may have dropped them but they weren’t there. They have been with me since the start of the walk! Oh well (sniff!).
Thursday 29th September 2011 Rest day.
Friday 30th September 2011 Along the B8008 coast road and enjoyed the silvery sandy beaches. Such a shame that it was raining, particularly as the southern half of Britain is having a heatwave Indian summer! I stopped off to admire the wonderful sand at Morar, alongside the crystal clear waters of the River Morar. Then along the cycle lane of the A380 into Mallaig, opposite the Isle of Skye.