Walk completed August 28, 2011

Monday, August 22, 2011

Day 83 – Tain to Dornoch – 10 miles

Dornoch Firth Bridge in distance
Dornoch is only a stone’s throw from Tain, but on the other side of the Dornoch Firth. Getting across the firth requires a long walk west to the bridge, then a short walk north across the bridge, and finally another long walk east to Dornoch. Thus, I covered 10 miles to gain perhaps a mile north.

The walk out of Tain started along the busy A9 road, but there was a wide grass verge to walk on – at times 30 feet wide. Because the road parallels the Dornoch Firth, I had nice views. The verge disappeared at the Dornoch Firth Bridge, and I was relegated to walking on a sidewalk adjacent to high-speed traffic.

Just after crossing the bridge, I met Peter, who is cycling from John O’Groats to Land’s End. He left JOG yesterday. It will still take me a week to get there. I really need to think about exchanging my boots for pedals.

Fantasy garden on
road to Dornoch
 A short way beyond the bridge, I found a gate and a footpath which allowed me to leave the busy A9 roadway and cut over to a minor road leading to Dornoch. I decided to stop in Dornoch today so I wouldn’t arrive in JOG a day too early. I’m not sure what I would do with the extra time were I to arrive at JOG a day early. Dornoch is a lovely village in a nice setting, so it seemed to make sense to stay here with my extra day. Besides, I had a little experiment I wanted to do.

The Dornoch Castle Hotel is an elite property – or at least that’s what the hotel rates would suggest. A single room in the hotel is £121 (approximately $200). But they have several “very basic” chalets outside of the main hotel building that are £51 (approximately $85). When I was in Tyndrum I reserved a chalet, and today I intended to try negotiating a complementary upgrade to a room in the hotel. After all, I had walked all the way to Dornoch from Land’s End, and if anybody deserved an upgrade, I did. I wanted to see if the people in the village where Madonna recently got married treat us commoners as well as they treat celebrities. I stayed awake most of last night practicing my upgrade request.

Upon checking into the hotel, I had no sooner begun my upgrade pitch when the desk clerk volunteered that she could give me a free upgrade to a hotel room. Somewhat taken aback by how the clerk shortcut my prepared remarks, I almost refused the upgrade. Fortunately, my background as a highly-trained lawyer kicked in, and I kept my mouth shut. Maybe I’ve regained that lost puppy look – but more likely, King Arthur put in a good word for me.

© 2011 Ken Klug


  1. Never refuse an upgrade, what's wrong with you?! All that walking is finally catching up with you.....so glad your ...highly trained lawyer skill kicked in!

  2. Well done, you deserve an upgrade. I will be sad when your journey ends, as i am enjoying reading your days journal. Take care on the roads ahead.