some town in czech
some town in czech
  • CWT diaries #2
    • 04/10/2013
Where was I up to? ah yes day 6.
BTW being in a cosy hostel with a log fire and rain pattering against the window is not exactly inspiring me to run back into the boggy, buggy hills tomorrow, even though I know its the final push to the north coast (should take four days to Durness)

So day 6: a slow trudgy start across rough heather, past a stalking lodge and then reaching a ridge I got my first view of the dramatic peaks of Torridon - looking like they were capped with snow but later turned out to be a combination of white rocks and lichen.
Descending into Strathcarron hoping for an ice cream but nothing doing so onwards along a tranquil stretch of river before a brisk 500m ascent to end the day, which my legs were none too excited about!
The thing with this part of the world is that all the climbs start at sea level, so if a peak shows at 500m, that's what you climb, not like in those namby pamby Cairngorms!
Joyous to find a flat piece of grass amidst the rocky terrain of the Beleach Ban, camped under clear skies to be woken at 3am by a ridiculously bright sickle moon and starry sky. nice.
So nice that it was tempting to stay up there for the whole morning, admiring the sunny views, but better to take advantage of the continuing good weather so off we go.

And the scenery managed to get even more stunning as I circled up to the waterfall at Sail Mhor, a bowl of towering ridges behind it and a huge expanse in front as wide glens opened up in three directions. Epic.

Finished the day at Kinlochewe and stopped in the bunkhouse for the day off my muscles were demanding.

Day 8, rejuvanted and easy tracks, but the scenery not so amazing, another sunny day though.

Day 9, a sluggish start requiring a mars bar break in the first half an hour. The clouds gathered and the wind picked up to 30mph.
After crossing two yes two roads, and zig zagging up through the forest from Inverael, I was back in isolated upland valley territory in Glen Douchary, where the river cuts through a beautiful little gorge, not what you'd expect to find up there!
Arrived in the evening at Knockdamph bothy where I met a lovely lady from Ullapool named Sue, who was on a three day coast to coast trip and had a copious bag if walnuts!

Day 10. Lots of ominous dark clouds and it didn't take long for the drizzle to start, so I was looking forward to a rare lunchtime pint at Oykel Bridge. Unfortunately the hotel was closed up like a ghost town so nothing for it but to plod on.

And that brings us up to yesterday evening and that horrible wet night.

So the headlines are - tough underfoot, but plenty of good photos and splendid isolation, inspiring freedom, - but hiking up here isn't a game, you are miles from another person and have to watch your feet!
  • Cape Wrath Travail
    • 04/10/2013
So now ten days in!
Yesterday was the first time it rained! But it rained good and proper and swamped my tent, soaking virtually everything. Fortunately my lilo-esque thermarest mat kept my sleeping bag above the tide line, and a short day today to reach Inchnadamph hostel and many radiators! Pity to have rushed through some nice scenery to get here though.

So a bit more of a recap:
Day one out of Fort William started with a quick ferry ride across the sea loch amidst the early morning mist, leaving me alone on the far shore with a hungry otter and eventually my first views of Ben Nevis.
An easy days walk for 21 miles ending with a night in an old fashioned railway sleeping car at Glenfinnan, a rather unique hostel.

Day two I started late due to watching a steam train cross the majestic viaduct, which led to a rather dicy dusktime descent to Souris bothy, where I battled mice all night, eventually losing a small bag of trail mix.

Day three didn't get easier, mainly trackless, soggy ground with a follow your nose approach to navigation required and some tricky scrambles, although rewarded with great views and solitude.

Day four was Barisdale to Shiel Bridge, starting with a nice walk along to Kinloch Hourn and then a surprisingly enjoyable 700 m ascent.
Wild camped and was kept up half the night by stags barking and grunting. They sound like dying cows.

Day five, a quick stop at the petrol station for biscuits and mars bars and then quick march to Glamoch Falls, with its 100m vertical drop.
"Don't look down" on this part of the path!
At the bottom a postcard perfect loch with highland cattle posed in front, and then another hustle to reach Maol Bhudie bothy, where two lads from Colchester, Rob & Will, had a welcome fire going. They were walking an alternative CWT route as far as Ullapool.

end of part one...


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