Walk completed August 28, 2011

Friday, August 19, 2011

Day 80 – Wester Kirkhill to Dingwall – 12 miles

Today I had to head west a few miles to get around the Beauly Firth, but once I did that, I headed straight north. The entire day was spent along roads.

Rare Scottish Sunshine
Road walking is hard on the feet, but with a sidewalk alongside the road for most of the day, and a route that was never in doubt, it was a relaxing, mindless activity. I wouldn’t want to do it every day, of course. But, of course, I will be doing it every day until I reach John O’Groats. Maybe I’ll be lucky and find a few footpaths to follow. Jack Frost found a few, and provided the details – I’ll just need to be sure I'm not daydreaming when I get to them.

A small network of roads gave me several route choices. Naturally, the longer route (longer by 5 miles) provided better scenery. Remembering what happened to my feet the last time I had a long day of road walking, I opted for the less scenic shorter route. That took me through the villages of Beauly, Muir of Ord, and Conon Bridge.

Beauly is the smallest of the three. It has an attractive town center, bustling with people. Virtually all of the people were elderly – white haired elderly. There wasn’t a bus in sight, so I concluded that most of the people were residents rather than a tour group. The butcher shop and the bakery seemed to be the busiest stores. I didn’t notice whether the candlestick maker had many customers.

The next town north was Muir of Ord, which had a completely different feel. Several of the buildings were boarded up, suggesting a town in decline. I saw no elderly people, but rather six or eight young mothers pushing children in strollers. It was about noon, and I was passing the library, so there may have been a library function for children. There were also a number of young men about – either walking down the street or accompanying mothers pushing strollers. Were they on their day off, or are all of their days off?

River Conon
I didn’t pass a commercial center in Conon Bridge. I was walking on the main road through town, and saw very few people outside of their cars. The homes were nicely maintained, though, which suggests there is some bit of affluence there. Perhaps it’s a commuter town.

Garden near Conon Bridge
So, there you have my very unscientific observation of the demographics of three villages, done at different times during the same day, and reported from my frequently faulty memory. If you are planning to buy property in any of them, you should perform your own due diligence.

High Street, Dingwall
I liked Dingwall when I arrived. High Street is a bustling commercial center during the day. I went back in the evening for dinner, and everything was closed. High Street was deserted. The hotel I went to for dinner was also deserted, except for me. Now that I’m away from the trails, I won’t be meeting other walkers, but I would expect either other tourists or locals. Perhaps that will happen as I get farther from the city – right now, Inverness is still only a short distance away.

I’ll be interested to see what develops over the next 10 days. Believe it or not, that’s all I’ve got left.

© 2011 Ken Klug


  1. Blue shies, nothing but blue skies.....ok, no weather talk, but I have to thank you again for the pic of the garden. Just enjoy so much those beautiful flowers, the little town is cute too!
    10 more days, yeah!

  2. Not long to go now. Take it easy on the footpaths, and avoid any injuries. Hope you have a good few days weather.