Hike Southbound through Britain with Daryl May
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DS9 Lane approaching Kiltarlity
Days S1 - S20                                                                 Scottish Highlands
Day S9 - Dingwall to Kiltarlity
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Northbound Home
Sunday, March 2, 2008

Time of departure: 8.00 am
Time of arrival: 2.30 pm
Place departed: Dingwall, Highland
Place arrived: Kiltarlity, Highland

Miles: 14
Cum miles: 133.7
Percent complete: 13.8

Bed sign Brockies Lodge Hotel, Kiltarlity ****
Cost for bed and breakfast: 40 ($80)
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DS9 Field nr Kiltarlity
DS9 Mountain

It snowed overnight, but only slush remained on the streets and grass verges in the morning at my elevation. The surrounding hills were snow-covered all day. The forecast mentioned snow for tomorrow also.

Today was pretty nice hiking weather. Mainly blue skies, calm but cold . . . only occasional sprinkles of rain.  I left early, greeted by birdsong, and quickly passed the Conon Bridge Hotel two miles away, which is where I had initially planned to stop last night. By mid-afternoon, I had reached my originally-planned destination of Kiltarlity, after 14 miles. So I am exactly on my schedule in terms of hiking days, but 15 days' late in terms of elapsed time.

I reached Brockies Lodge Hotel just in time to enjoy the Sunday lunch carvery, which they serve until 3 pm. Roast beef with Yorkshire pudding, carrots, parsnips, potato, broccoli, cauliflower, and gravy. Very acceptable, for sure.

After a bath, I removed my dressings and examined the big blister. It's coming along all right; the dead skin has come away, and the blood blister has gone, leaving a clean smooth skin surface. The skin is not strong yet, though, and I'll dress it again for tomorrow's walk. As with yesterday, it wasn't the blisters that ached as much as my ankles and feet. But I did succeed in covering three extra miles for about the same amount of ache. I am pretty sure that that was due to my softer, non-fancy new insoles as described yesterday.

I dress in layers. If I wore them all, I would have an undershirt or fleece, followed by a shirt, then a sweater, then another sweater, and then a thin rain jacket. That's five layers, though I've only needed three so far, which is what I wore today in aproximately 40 degF (5 degC) weather. Some hikers are big on wool for close-to-the-skin, and a Gore-tex jacket for rain protection. I have silk-and-cotton for close-to-the-skin, and just polyester for rain protection. My jacket will, however, scrunch into the size of a pair of socks, and for some reason I don't sweat under it. What I'm especially happy with are my cashmere sweaters, which are extremely warm and light, and also scrunch up well. I'll wear a cashmere sweater rather than a shirt if only one of the two is needed. I really recommend cashmere, though it can be expensive. Mine came from a thrift store (charity shop). In the States, these stores are often as big as large supermarkets (i.e., they offer a large selection of sweaters and all other clothes), and they're really inexpensive. They don't generally vary their sweater prices to reflect "cashmere", so I probably paid about 1.50 ($3) for each of my two cashmere sweaters. And, by the way, they wash and dry easily.

I am hoping that today's straightforward hiking day presages a change of mood. It's been hard-sledding with my blisters, ankle and feet pain, and poor weather. But then most end-to-end hikers encounter these. They come with the territory, and they make the hike the challenge that it is.

 Day S8                            2007 and 2008 Daryl May                         Day S10