[This walk was completed on the 11th August 2020]
After a lazy day yesterday, I’m determined to get some miles under my boots today. It’s a late start, because I get distracted by breakfast in the hotel (a strange experience where you wear a mask to enter the room but remove it once you’re seated, as if Covid only infects you when you’re standing up).
I walk through rain showers to reach the viewpoint at Red Point, where I take a self-portrait.
It’s a dull morning, and I’m glad I saw this same view in sunshine yesterday. Not so great today.
Time to walk back along the road, still damp from the morning’s rain. I really wish people didn’t leave their bins in such an obtrusive place. Really spoils the vista.
Then a large lorry rolls by, and I realise why the bin is waiting by the side of the road. It’s dustbin day!
I make the short climb to the top of the hill…
… where the view on the other side is wonderful. Not so wonderful is the sign warning me about animals roaming freely. I don’t mind sheep and hens, but would prefer not to meet any cows.
Soon spot some sheep. The lambs are nearly as large as their mothers now, and I guess will soon be on their way to the butcher. Poor things. Just as well they don’t know what’s in store for them.
I also notice large, fresh-looking cow pats. But, luckily, see no sign of the cows.
This road is long and pretty featureless. I’ve already walked up it once, choosing to walk instead of using my heavy Monster bike because of the unrelenting gradient. Walking down is much easier and the view is improving all the time, as the last of the rain clouds roll away.
Near the bottom of the slope, I hear a rumble behind me. Step out of the way to let the dustbin lorry go past.
Even in such a wild and empty place, the infrastructure of civilised life remains intact. Dustbin lorries carry away our rubbish. A lonely post box stands ready to collect the mail.
I pass a ruined building, and a few scattered cottages. An abandoned car stands forlornly in a meadow, no longer moving, but acting as some sort of storage shed.
There are a few mysterious container boxes (what do they contain?), stacks of pallets, and even a parked boat. Wonder if this one is ever used.
A “For Sale “sign catches my eye, and I wonder how much this property costs. Probably affordable for young couples, but then what do you do out here? It looks picturesque in the summer, but it must be a tough existence in the winter. And what do you do for work?
Onwards, the road dips down and up again.
A lone figure comes towards me. The only other walker I’ve seen today. He has long hair and is wearing loose pyjamas, like a Buddhist or a Judo player. I would like to chat, but he avoids making eye contact and strolls past without acknowledging my presence.
I’ve nearly reached the bottom of the hill, where the cottages are grouped closer together, to form a village called South Erradale. There are road works going on.
Now, here is a house I might like to live in. What a view!
A couple of serious walkers stride towards me, and give me a nod as they pass. They are carrying huge back packs, and I guess they’re probably heading for Red Point and Craig’s Bothy beyond.
They’ll probably do in a single day the same distance as has taken me three days – no four, if you count the lazy day yesterday – to achieve. I feel suddenly very dissatisfied with myself. So many days here already… and so little distance covered. What a wimp I am!
The first part of my walk today is nearly over. There is my car, parked in another little settlement, called Opinan. It overlooks some dunes and the lovely beach where I spent some time sitting in the sun yesterday.
I may not walk very far in a day, but at least I get to enjoy the place.
Just before I reach my car, I pass a green box attached to the wall of a shed. A public defibrillator.
They are a common sight now, and I have mixed feelings about them.
In my hospital days, as a junior doctor, I attended dozens of cardiac arrests, and our success rate was very low, even with all the equipment and the help of trained medical staff. Less than 1%, I’m sure. In fact, I only recall one successful resuscitation attempt, and that was with a man who lost consciousness as I was talking to him – so my reaction was immediate. He turned out to be in ventricular fibrillation, which is about the only condition where a defibrillator is likely to be helpful (the clue is in the name!).
Anyway, that green box is a stark reminder of our mortality and the uncertainty of life.
Route so far: