THE DAY IT ALL WENT RIGHT

This revisiting of the Great Scottish Summer Tickathon may be dull for you, but it does mean I can dump any photos I didn’t post earlier, and no-one should keep photos any longer than necessary. Just ask my mum.

August 28th 2022.We (Mrs RM, Baa Baa and I) had just finished those tricky Hebridean ticks,

and after a couple on the way across Skye we ended the evening in Plockton,

sitting by the sea humming “Local Hero” (instrumental version) and admiring the Jarl in the Plockton.

That evening in the campervan in Strathcarron, the plans seemed to be coming together. Just as well we weren’t needing any ticks in Inverness with such regular train services.

I’ve still never been to Dingwall. OK, there’s not much there, bar a top Scottish football team, but it still hurts that I haven’t been to every UK town yet. One for 2023.

The next day we headed to Applecross, one of the most remote pubs in the whole Guide.

Dave “US” Dave had warned me about the track through the middle, so we took the scenic route round the coast, just like Don Maclean.

Even more than Tresco, or Claddach Kirkibost, or perhaps even Rousay, Applecross felt like the BIG tick. Isolated, an element of danger in the journey (Baa Baa kept his eyes closed all the way), the huge amount of pinking I’d be able to do afterwards.

And it was gorgeous.

Here’s a rare unreleased photo of Mrs RM and I celebrating the tick. Mrs RM is on the right (depending on which way you’re facing).

We celebrated with an artisanal ice cream from the outside catering hut, which had wisdom to impart.

Apart from two Tayside ticks at Pitlochry and the weird Ben Lawers, all that was left were seven pubs in Orkney.

Mrs RM would have travelled on to Orkney and got them done, it was only a 17 hour trip, but I had parents to visit and thought we might like to linger over the final glories.

So we headed back, via a night in Callander, “Gateway to the Trossachs”, and a gentlefolk’s heaven.

When we arrived it transpired Mrs RM had managed to make a booking for a hotel a month later, but luckily the Crown could accommodate us at 10 minutes notice, and seemed oddly proud of their cask beer.

Which was both good quality and a quid cheaper than in Stornoway, cool and tasty. A dozen residents were enjoying a soundtrack of early AC/DC and a debate on the finer points of the Kiwi v Oz accents differences.

That night I could only think of Orkney.

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