27/05/12 Ardnamurchan

This is a sizeable peninsula that reaches out towards the Inner Hebrides, providing the UK mainland with its most westerly point.

Again, I’m been fortunate enough to see it in dazzling sunshine, with millpond calm lochs, mountains of different hues of green, grey and black standing starkly against the vibrant blue sky.

It had been a quiet couple of days – the few people I’d seen had waved happily as they’d passed in their cars, or whizzed by on their bikes.

No matter – the scenery, as ever, was breathtaking and my heart was full.
Towards the end of the day I started looking for a pitch – I saw one place that told me I had to be a member of the caravan club so I wandered on.

I’d walked about a hundred yards when I became aware of a gentle padding of feet behind me…

Lions and tigers and bears, oh my…
I turned round to find a young boy – 10 or so…’There’s a campsite back there,’ he panted.

‘Well…’ I began

‘There isn’t another one for another 3 miles….there’s a hotel there too,’ he said with such disgust I thought that they might eat Belgian babies there.
‘I normally just put my tent up in a field if I’ve got nowhere else to stay,’

He immediately moved from marketing mode,’There’s a great field just round the corner…’

And there was.

The following day I met a young couple talking to some particularly cute pigs.
He turned around and admired Hubert – we got chatting about one thing and another…when Lyme disease came up.
‘Oh, we’ve had friends with that who’ve made full recoveries,’

‘I didn’t say I hadn’t…’

‘You look really well…’

‘I was ill, but I think I’ve made a full recovery…you can get injections now to prevent you from getting Lyme’s…’
What was I trying to argue? We went back and forth with this … It felt like that bit in Starwars where I was saying Lyme’s can be bad in some cases and the younger woman was saying, ‘These aren’t the Jedi you’re looking for…’
Medics, I decided – the road to recovery starts with telling folk how minimal their illness is and how well they look.

What do I know? They could’ve been accountants…

I arrived in Acharacle with a craving for something…venison burger perhaps…
The first cafe I came to provided me with the goods. As I left though, I was met by a man with a booming voice and great presence.

He listened to my story with great interest and promptly told the people around him about it.

I had been saying that I’d walked around Scotland relying solely on the hospitality of others and that I haven’t starved…

‘You will in England,’ grinned the English guy just behind me.

The Scottish guy – Fergie MacDonald the accordion player – played a tune just for me – I was delighted.

I contacted Teen, who’s house I was aiming for on the peninsula – her uncle had played in Fergie’s band!

I knew Teen wasn’t going to be home when I arrived and that her dad was coming to stay and would furnish me in hospitality instead.

As I approached the house I was met by a friendly couple, full of questions about my quest – I was about to embark on a soliloquy when I saw the gentlest of nudges come from the man to the woman.

‘You’re Teen’s dad!’ I accused.

He laughed – she laughed and it’s all been hospitality, stories, going down the hill to visit Teen’s aunt and relaxing.
I’m clean and showered now – my clothes no longer smell like dead bears – my day of rest has recharged my batteries in every sense of the word – tomorrow it’s all roads to the point of Ardnamurchan.

Walk a mile


This entry was posted in inequality, mental health, Uncategorized, walking and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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