Hoping to start writing in earnest this week, and have spent some considerable time assessing what I have left to do my publishing deadline at the end of September. A lot of words certainly, but also a few trips which I have to shoehorn in somewhere. I’ve still got to get to Orkney and Lewis, plus a few more outliers, and realised that I’ve days of time rich travel are over for the moment. The solution? Car hire. Now I know this breaks the guiding philosophy of the blog but needs must, and in my defence, it is the first time in however long that I’ve personally resorted to the evil combustion engine. Even so, scrabbling the money together has not been without its stresses, but this is the culmination of all my endeavours, and I’m not about to blow the time-frame I’ve sign up to just on the point of principle.
So to the weekend past. I’d been invited to a house warming at Cuil Bay, off the Oban road from Ballachulish which would in now circumstances involve a train to Connel Bridge, and then a cycle up the fantastic Sustrans Route 78, part of the Caledonian Way. But with a car as a option, my mind started racing. How much could I squeeze in over the course of 48 hours? Where had I got to get to? Jez this is just so easy! I calmed down after a breathless half an hour, and settled for Doune Byre, Carron, and Taigh Seumas a’Ghlinne in Glen Duror. Neat as it was so close to the party. And if I had time a visit to a well kept place with a yellow door, which I had agreed with its maintenance crew wouldn’t be an entry in the book. Still ambitious, because I needed to check out three of the routes into Carron, but still doable.
In the end Saturday turned out to be quite a crazy day. Too embarrassed to say quite how I ended up fifteen feet above some tree stumps in the plantation east of Carron, balancing precariously on a windblown conifer trunk, I got the photos in the bag, and made it round to Meoble and Kilraus to suss out the walk in’s to the north and south. Earlier in the day Doune Byre had proved a breeze, though another ‘not suitable for cycling’ like its sister bothy Rowchoich. Parked up after less than 500 yards having learnt my lesson a fortnight ago. Taigh Seumas a’Ghlinne was saved til Sunday morning, and a second excursion up beyond The Bill to took up most of the afternoon.