It’s now two weeks since I get back from a very enjoyable week spent backpacking in the Scottish Highlands, and a blog post is long overdue.
On the first day I took a rather long route following valleys to camp in a glen above Kinloch Hourn. The next day was an incredible walk in bright sunshine along the side of Loch Hourn to the remote settlement of Barrisdale. On the following day I climbed a bealach (mountain pass) into the Knoydart peninsula, finishing the day at the village of Inverie. After a day off in Inverie, during which time I made extensive use of its excellend pub – The Old Forge – and bought some more food, I set-off for the final three days walking. On the first day I walked over to the head of Loch Nevis, spending the night in the wonderful Sourlies bothy. From there I took a high path over to Glendessary and camped on a headland at the end of Loch Arkaig. On the final day I walked through an amazing V-shaped valley into the alpine looking Glen Finnan to finish near Glenfinnan village, passing under the famous viaduct.
(when I figure-out how to, I’ll post a kml file of the route).
I passed through only one village, Inverie. Apart from the short section of road at Inverie,which isn’t accessible from the rest of the UK road network, I passed over no roads during the week. I camped five nights, spent one night in a bothy due to heavy rain (I had intended to camp nearby), and slept for two nights in the Knoydart Foundation bunkhouse at Inverie. It rained several times every day (I had expected it to), usually for about half an hour at a time, but was generally fairly warm.
I took a few new, untried items of kit with me. The Primus Gravity stove worked well but seemed quite heavy. I appreciated its stability, though. On a previous trip to Scotland my Pocket Rocket stove tipped-over and dumped my food on the ground – rather alarming at the end of a long, hungry day (didn’t stop me eating it though!). I also carried two 1 litre platypus water containers instead of a heavier Sigg bottle and Ortleib water bag. As well as being lighter the Platypus bags didn’t seem to taint the taste of the water. I used one while walking, and both when camped. Although I took chlorine tablets, I didn’t find it necessary to treat the water I drank.
I also took a new Sprayway Compact jacket, which did a good job of keeping me dry in some quite heavy rain. At the last minute I also bought a Sony DSC-W130 camera, which I’m quite pleased with. The photos are here.
Apart from a long weekend in the Lake District a couple of years ago, this was my first first time away backpacking for about five years. I used to spend a lot of hiking and backpacking, but having a young family has meant that such things become much less frequent. Although I missed my family a lot, it was great to be out there with my own thoughts in such a beautiful place. I’m very grateful to Debra (who became a solo parent for the week) for the opportunity.