Saturday, 31 May 2008

Best laid plans...

Spending time with the cleaner at the Dornoch Inn on a fruitless search for missing headphones was not how I'd planned to spend the first hour of the day. Although we hunted high and low under tables and in rubbish bins, they could not be found. And so, I stomped out of Dornoch in a bad mood. Why? Well today was Sunday and I'd been looking forward to the "Archers Omnibus" followed by "Desert Island Discs" and an afternoon of "Pick of the Pops" (sometimes it was worth putting up with Dale Winters irritatingly smarmy voice if a the "picks" a couple of good years. It would have passed the time on what I knew from last years experience to be a pretty boring route.
To say the walking highlight of the day was lunching in the Co-Op outside Tain tells you all you need to know about today's walk. I had been sort of looking forward to finding "Scotsburn" a place well signposted from Tain, but so elusive even the locals don't seem to know where it is. I must have passed through it, although I can't say I noticed on the the long, albeit quiet, B road to Alness where I catching the bus back to Inverness.
So in the absence of anything interesting to say about today's walk I'll tell you about Dornochs rise to prosperity.
Without the advantage of a herring fishing industry, Dornoch was a deprived and poverty stricken place until the beginning of the 20th Century when some local bright spark said "Hey, we have links, we could have Golf!" And so, a few keen entrepreneurs worked tirelessly to turn Dornoch into a popular golfing destination. Their greatest coup was to attract Andrew Carnegie, a Dunfermline born lad, who'd done alright for himself. When one of the worlds richest men decides to play at Dornoch, King Edward decides to pay it a visit and while he was there clapped a Royal title on it. From there on Dornoch was the "in place" to be, attracting the checked trouser brigade in their droves. Fine hotels and houses were built, so that the Dornoch you see today, with upmarket shops and cafes is a pretty damn smart place to be. I was sorry to leave it, but also looking forward to a night in Inverness., another place with fond memories.
I'd booked a room at the youth hostel and on being handed the key to "East Side 1" the man on the desk apologised for it being so small, and indeed it was. With just enough room for a narrow bed and chair, what did I care? It may have been a cell, but at least it was a single one.
To round the night off, another major blow. Obviously I was not destined to listen to any music today, as tonight, looking forward to a meal and the live music at the "Johnny Fox" pub...Sunday was the bands day off.