Probably the best walk in the world

Dougie and Trish on clifftop walk.
Dougie and Trish on clifftop walk.
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TRISH TAKES FIVE: By Trish Burgess

‘It’s a moderate walk and should take us an hour and a half.’

A great opportunity to test out my new Tough Mudder shoes presented itself on the west coast of Scotland last week, where we had come for some relaxation after Rory’s graduation. We were staying in self-catering accommodation in the grounds of Knockinaam Lodge, a beautiful hotel which Dougie and I had visited last year. We had loved it so much, we decided to return with our boy for his regular reminder of his Scottish heritage.

Armed with a map and written directions, we set off on our walk to the fishing village of Portpatrick. The first part of the trek was going to be the most strenuous. They weren’t kidding. The steep ascent until we reached the relative plateau of the clifftop was a killer. I was tempted to just have a look at the view and clamber back down but the boys insisted we should continue.

Rory was remarkably agile and strode on ahead with ease. This flummoxed me as his default position at home is horizontal on the bed or sofa. Had all those teenage years of indolence actually been a method of storing up energy reserves, to be unleashed on the rugged Galloway coastline?

As our mountain goat led the way through numerous styles and kissing gates, we fought bravely with gorse and bracken and Dougie wished he’d brought a machete with him, or at the very least, a kitchen knife, as the plants reached head height on the Craigoch Park Moor.

The views across the sea to Northern Ireland were spectacular, and we managed a few uneasy glimpses down to the rocks below at Tandoo Point and Ratten Hole.

Just as the 90 minute mark was up, we skirted round the ruins of Dunskey Castle and negotiated a number of steps down towards the delightful curved harbour of Portpatrick, bathed in warm sunshine.

Understandably euphoric after our journey, we made a beeline for the Crown Hotel. I placed my fingers around a very welcome glass of lager then tipped the whole lot into my lap.

A few dabs with a thin napkin proved futile so I had to take myself off to the ladies’ loos and pray they had something more effective at drying up a half pint of Carlsberg.

I whisked my trousers off and wafted them under the hand dryer which was, mercifully, the most powerful machine I’d ever come across in a pub. Its strong air current, coupled with the moisture-wicking capabilities of my performance pants, made light work of the job.

I returned to our table, stain-free with only the pervading whiff of old beer mat that surrounded me giving any hint of my embarrassing accident.

“There’s no time for another drink now,” said Dougie, as he and Rory licked their lips and made a move to go.

“We’ve got to walk all the way back.”

“What!” I wailed. “Doesn’t Portpatrick have any taxis? Uber?”

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I would walk 500 miles...or maybe not

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