When the TGO Magazine published the entry forms for the TGO 2017 I was planning another hike and did not enter. When this was delayed by 6 months I was left with 2 weeks in May free.
Scotland is one of my favourite hiking destinations so I returned for a short walk.
The plan was to start at Invirie and walk for a week in a generally northern direction. The route had many alternatives that would be used depending on the weather and how I felt at any particular junction.
The great thing about not having a fixed destination or time limit is that I can just follow my feet. This approach was to prove very beneficial. I had maps for the entire area and many nights I pitched the tent not knowing where I would go the next day. I knew that in a weeks’ time I needed to be near to a train or bus station.
The weather for the first few days was overcast with low cloud but little rain during the day. This meant that going high would wait for another year. The rivers were passable and did not cause any problems.
Across Koydart to camp near to the bothy at Barrisdale was straight forward. The skies were overcast but the heavy rain and high wind held off until I had the tent up.
Along Kinloch Hourn I encountered a deer grazing very close to the trail. He was not bothered and continued having lunch. I admired him and the view over the loch and surrounding hills. A tea-room just before camping provided me with rest and refreshment.
The rain was getting heavier. I wanted to get the tent up and cook a meal so I camped by the river. It was another dry, but overcast day, but a wet and windy night. A dry day in Scotland means just light showers.
I planned to go over the Forcan ridge and down to Shiel Bridg but the hills to the North were covered in thick dark cloud. The valley ahead was clear. My first Monro would have to wait!
Suardalan Bothy had no other guests for the night so I had the master suite. It is a good place for a couple to spend a quiet weekend.
It rained during the night but inside was dry and comfortable. Bothy’s are colder than a tent but my sleeping bag kept me warm.
The low clouds continued until I got close to Movie and this provided a good opportunity to practice my navigation. The forest in the area was being harvested so I walked on the road to avoid the logging trucks. About 4 Km from Sheil Bridge a farmer offered me a lift, which I took. I would not do that on the TGO! The early shower, lunch and a few pints in the Bunk House Annex was very welcome. So was the drying room for my tent and shoes. In the evening I walked to the store to get some supplies I did not need.
These pictures tell the story of the weather for the remainder of the walk.
Water-proof and warm gear was packed away for the remainder of the hike. Sun Hat and light clothes were used. I enjoyed the scenic walk along River Croe then the long climb, passing more waterfalls, to the Bothy at Camban. I spent some time eating, drying the sweat from my shirt and relaxing. This Bothy is not as nice as the one I spent the previous night but it was good to get out of the sun.
Maria arrived as I was getting ready to move on. She had started at Movich and took the same route as I did. We had a similar plan of just walking where we fancied and we found a good spot to camp just before the bridge to Alltbeithe.
Before dinner I walked to the hostel to get a couple cans of Coke for Happy Hour. Next morning after a cup of tea at the hostel we walked to Strawberry Cottage. Maria then returned to Movich to collect her car for a long drive and ferry back to Germany.
I live in a very small island and have to walk the same places over and over. In Europe every weekend can be in a different country and culture.
I continued along Loch Affric, through the Nature Reserve, past Dog Falls and arrived at Cannich Camp Site by 5pm. The last part was a busy road, the first in the 6 days of hiking.
Next morning was spent relaxing at the camp café and then a bus to Inverness where I camped. In the evening I met up with Sarah. We met on a previous TGO and had a few beers and good conversation. Next day was spent on a train back to Tumbridge Wells. A bed always feels better after sleeping on the ground for 5 nights.
Another good trip completed. I am already planning my next one. Watch this space!