It would seem strange at this time of year, already late November, to start walking in the dark. Surely it would be better to take a walk during daylight hours, and preferably during those precious all too brief moments when the sun is out. Well yes, that also. I had already taken a stroll over the hill to the village shop for parcel tape and more ibuprofen. Dorothy advised me behind her mask not to get them muddled. Dusk shortly after four and dark by five, the moon two thirds full, the wind has dropped an intermittent showers hopefully passed. Wrapped up warm and weather proof I step outside, heading up to the road junction and the two brilliantly blinding orange street lamps. I turn right and head downhill, pausing just beyond Roddy’s bungalow and the orange glow I shut my eyes and count to thirty. The full night walking team would normally be Kate and her border terrier Rusty, and Donald with his young collie sheep dog Laddie. Tonight it’s just me, no torch, no chat, no barking. Opening my eyes I can now make out the horizon, the high ridge and buzzards eyrie, and all importantly the road. The cattle grid is another thirty yards on and I search the ground before me. It’s only half seven but my eyes are quickly becoming accustomed to the dark. The edge of the road is indicated by the puddled water and soon the damp bitumen shows lighter. The moon is behind me, my own massive head torch. The evening mild, only a slight breeze and I lower my hood so as to hear the water running in the ditches, which give way to the rowdy burn running under the road. Winding and descending I make my way past the Traigh Mhor turning. The noise level increases as I pass over the crashing cascades of a larger burn then stride out along the straight stretch above the inlet. The moon has cleared no longer veiled by low wispy cloud and the below me the crashing of the luminous waves indicate the tide is well out. Rounding the corner there is a light up ahead. At first I think it might be Donald’s head torch but quickly realise it’s far too bright for that. Beyond the dazzle I see more lights and the form becomes clear. A parked up camper van, and once again I hold my hand up to the inquisitive glare of the light aimed at me. I plod on and offer a polite good evening in passing, wondering what they must things of the mysterious night walker. Reaching the high ground above Garry beach I would normally swing my legs over the fence and head down along the cliff tops, perhaps on a clear full moon evening but definitely not now as a large raven’s head of a cloud slips briskly across the face of the moon creating beyond a precipitous dark gulf. I lean against the fence and search the sky. Mars, tinged pink and un-twinkling is due south but the night sky is confusingly overcast the constellations buried in scud-clouds. Time to head back as more clouds approach. Silvered insulating privacy on the camper vans windscreen and time for bed. The road home is clear as the moon slips once more from the gathering clouds. My pace doesn’t alter on the uphill section, the night removing all sense of its steepness. The final stretch is more like entering the outskirts of a street lit town as my night vision is blinded by artificial light. Beneath the lamps all is a warm glow but beyond my house is invisible and once again I wonder what purpose there is in street lighting when people already have their own outside lights if they really feel it’s needed. So who decided it was necessary for a hand full of houses way out here in New Tolsta, and what was their reasoning? Do we need to think it through again and if it is indeed not needed how can we get it removed? Only having passed the glare can I once again see the familiar chimney outline of croft 17. As I open the door the last bus passes, lit up like a fairground stall, and empty.