Get into the groove 3

DAY 9: Dingwall to Beauly – 9.8 miles

When I went to bed yesterday I had considered taking today off, or at least only venturing the 6.3 miles from Dingwall down to the Muir of Ord, where I had a potential couch surfing opportunity. But it would seem no matter how stiff my calves, ankles and feet are each morning when I get up – and this morning they were particularly bad – give me 10 minutes of moving around and I’m pretty much back to normal. Either way I wasn’t too worried about how long the shambolic continental breakfast at Faulty Towers was taking… I even made an extra coffee and post office stop before leaving town (to get another stamp for my “proof of walk sheet”). I was just going to see how the day went and play it by ear… or by foot rather.

But with pretty much perfect walking conditions – cloudy but warm – and my favourite Groove Armada tunes to give me that extra push, it turned out to be a very good day indeed. So much so that I decided to keep going once I reached Muir of Ord… after grabbing a pie for lunch, as I could smell the side street bakers from the main road and literally followed my nose!. And as luck would have it, the next small town on the map just happened to be “Winners of Scotland in Bloom” and was most definitely Beauly by name and beauty by nature 🌺 Arriving mid-afternoon also gave me the chance to find a cheap B&B and then go explore. NB: I’ve realised now that every town seems to have that the one mis-fit guest house – no frills, shared bathroom, cheap, wifi if you hang out the window – and thankfully I always seem to be able to track it down! Anyway just as I dumped my things in my £30 a night room and made it back out onto the street, the sun made a full appearance and for the very first time since arriving in Scotland, I really felt like I was on holiday 🙂

As I’m already carrying more than enough weight on my back and am working to a very tight budget, thankfully there is nothing extra I need to buy on this trip – just shelter, food and drink. I didn’t however bring any kind of wallet or purse with me and moving small change from pocket to pocket, never finding it when I need it, was becoming a bit of a pain. I also thought it would be nice at some point to buy something Scottish to take home with me, even if it ended up being just a cheesy tartan scarf. Suddenly with touristy shops to peruse I came across a tiny tartan purse for just £7, which not only ticked both boxes, but also helped put me in the holiday spirit even more. Finding a lovely deli with wall-to-wall organic, local, yummy, tasty looking things was therefore the icing on my holiday cake. Trying to avoid eye contact with the wine section, I eventually decided on a ploughmans with homemade lemonade… they did not disappoint.

My evening was finished off hanging out the window of my B&B to try pick up a wifi signal from the nice hotel opposite, with the radiator on extra high to get my handwashing dry, and a bit of Love Actually on the tele. Happy days ☀️


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