Scotland 2002

26. September 2002 — Day 1 - Thursday

Very bad start for my holiday. Totally miscalculated the time I needed to get ready and go to the airport. Arrived 6:20am and the check in was already closed. RyanAir offered to let my backpack go in as carryon luggage. But I had my knife and alcohol bottle in it. So I had to take the next flight at 12:50 PM. That cost me 1/2 day and 60 Euros. Dogh! This meant also that I didn’t make it into Glasgow before 3pm and the next train/bus to Fort William was leaving at 6pm. This was a day with a lot of waiting around. Made it half way through the Ken Follett book I bought. Arrived in Fort William at 9pm and found a hostel.

Posted by Marko Hauke on 09/26 at 08:44 PM
Scotland 2002

27. September 2002 — Day 2 - Friday

Woke up at 8:15 quite late but I had to wait for the Tourist Info to open anyway. Got all the maps that I need (hopefully). After crossing the Loch by ferry I was finally ready to start (11:45). Weather: overcast 15 - 17 °C. The first part of the way took me along the shore of Loch Eil westwards. Not very interesting walk on the road for about 15 km. Then the route got interesting in to an uninhabited glen. Just a small track to follow. I’m camping in a side-glen near a river. There is nothing man-made in sight (except the Landrover track). The sun is disappearing behind the mountains and leaves the mountain side opposite of me flooded in sun light. Very nice. It’s 18:30 and I think it’s gonna get dark very fast. Did 22 km today. Not bad considering that I had a late start and it’s the first day.

Posted by Marko Hauke on 09/27 at 08:48 PM
Scotland 2002

28. September 2002 — Day 3 - Saturday

Got up at 8am and broke camp at 9:15. For the next 7 - 8 km there was no path and the route climbed up into the glen were I camped to a mountain ridge with a great view into the next valley. The descend was very cumbersome - twisted my ankle twice and fell on my butt because I slipped. Ah wet butt. Climbed to the ridge on the other side of the valley and down again to Straton (End of the 2nd Stage in the guide book). From there I followed the path into the narrow glen and reached the ridge which had a great view over Loch Nevis. The descend was quite steep and when I reached the shore I found a Bothy. The small cottage seemed to be frequently used by hikers and fishermen by the looks of it. Good no camping tonight. Stopped at 7pm. The weather was overcast again for the whole day at 15 - 17 °C.

Posted by Marko Hauke on 09/28 at 08:53 PM
Scotland 2002

29. September 2002 — Day 4 - Sunday

The night was very uncomfortable and I woke several times. Sore legs and little critters seemed all around me. Started of at 8:30 along Loch Nevis and then into a side valley through heavy marshland. Very wet and difficult. Did my first river fording and had to take my shoes off. The way continued deep into a narrow glen and progress was very slow. After the valley made a turn eastwards I had to climb up northwards, but was not sure of the way. What should have been 100m (high) turned out to be something like 300m before I reached the footpath that the guide book was suggesting. After a hard struggle I reached the top and guess what? Down on the other side into the next glen. Seems to be the crux with this trek up a glen down the other. Sun came out a few times but it stayed very misty (high fog).

Reached Barrisdale at about 3pm and that was half way (10 km). This gives an average speed of 2 km per hour which shows how difficult the terrain was. I pressed on along Loch Hourn for another 10 km but even though there was a path it was rough going and it took me longer then expected and I reached the head of the loch at nearly 6pm. I wanted to reach a hunting shelter some 3 - 4 km away. This include climbing up about 400m and there were lots of tracks. I was not sure after awhile if I was still on the right way. It started to get dark and my warries increased. No sign of a shelter. On the map it only looked like a short distance and I was already thinking about what to do if I didn’t find the shelter. There was no cover e.g. trees or larger rocks at all. Finally at nearly 7pm I saw a small wooden shed. Only enough for 2 - 3 people. Another day of 28 km which leaves a short 12 km for the next day to reach Shiel Bridge the next day.

Posted by Marko Hauke on 09/29 at 08:55 PM
Scotland 2002

30. September 2002 — Day 5 - Monday

The night was OK in the shelter with a little rain but by morning it was dry again. Had a hard time getting to sleep because the blisters on my left foot hurt a lot. Eventless night otherwise and I started at 8:15 with a good bit of cross country again up a wide valley to almost 800m onto a saddle. Saw a herd of deer but they were way up on the mountain side. The descend was fine through a valley. Cross country most of the way to Shiel Bridge. Arrived at 1:30pm at the hostel. Easy day today, I’m on holidays after all. After passing the shop by 100m without knowing I walked a mile to the hostel and then had to walk back to buy some supplies. Aaarrrgh. Stupid guide book could have said something in there. Now heading to the pub for bar food. Hostel gives a chance to wash my cloth as well wink

Posted by Marko Hauke on 09/30 at 08:57 PM
Scotland 2002

01. October 2002 — Day 6 - Tuesday

The food was heavenly yesterday. At least that’s how it appeared to me. Had fried Brie and then Lasagne. Strange combo Lasagne, Fries and red cabbage. Had 3 pints which made me really tired and I left the bar at 10pm. Once in my bed I could not sleep because my right food has a really bad blister that I think became infected. The day was quite tough. The route was easy to follow passing the Falls of Glomach. Spectacular except that the weather was not as good and I nearly got eaten alive by flies. I pressed on until I reached Loch An Lasiah at about 6pm. The surrounding of the lake were really wet but I found a dry spot in the wood. I guess about 28 - 29 km.

Posted by Marko Hauke on 10/01 at 09:00 PM
Scotland 2002

02. October 2002 — Day 7 - Wednesday

Another troubled night caused by my right foot. It seems OK once it’s plastered up and in the boot. Arrived in Strathcarron at 11am but not much there (Post Office /Shop / Railway Station). The next stage in the guide book was only 10 km mostly road and I intended to stay in the hostel. But I arrived in Achnashellach Station at 2pm and thought that would be half a day wasted again so I continued for another 8 km to reach the bothy “Easan Dorcha” (The Teahouse). That makes 25 km for today. I’m not supposed to stay over night because it’s dear stalking season but I try my luck.

Posted by Marko Hauke on 10/02 at 09:01 PM
Scotland 2002

03. October 2002 — Day 8 - Thursday

No problem with the deer stalkers but was lucky being in the shelter as it started raining quite heavily at 7pm. It got very windy as well. This morning the first few kilometers were OK on an estate road but then the road went into a forest without a path and I got kinda lost because I didn’t find the “defined path” mentioned in the guide book. Then I didn’t find the gate through the forest fence. So had to go cross country to the next forest bit over a swampy area when there should have been a path. The book already told me not to go through the wood because they had storm damage and the way was severely obstructed. But of course I had to go through it, Never was good at listening at peoples advice. Very difficult, but made it, just wasted lots of time. Kinlochewe was another Post Office - Shop - Tearoom - Towns. Left at 13:30 and took the bad weather variant of the route. Glad I did, started raining as soon

as I left town. The next part of the way was very difficult navigationally. No route and very little landmarks. The plan was to camp at Loch an Nid but I did not find a suitable place, too wet. I was kind of afraid with my down sleeping bag so I decided to continue on, to get of the mountain at 5pm and nearly 27 km. I wanted to try my luck with what I thought was a bothy on the OS map. It was already quite dark when I got there and it turned out to be some cottage with one of those 6 wheel vehicles in front of it. So had to back track about 2 km. and then continue on the track over the mountain ridge. Probably a silly thing to do but it was a) to dark to find a proper place to pitch the tent and b) if there was space it was soaking wet. I stopped on the other side of the mountain at about 11pm and just crashed on the side of the road. Did not get much sleep and was really cold and damp. Think I did about 40 km.

Posted by Marko Hauke on 10/03 at 09:03 PM
Scotland 2002

04. October 2002 — Day 9 - Friday

Woke up at 6.15 and started down the road to Dundonnell in wet shoes and wet socks. Not comfy and my feet were just hurting. Planned to either take the ferry across to Ullapool or if the ferry was out of service to get into the hostel in Dundonnell. Frankly Dundonnell is a kip - ferry only runs during summer, hostel was booked out. I changed my plans to go the guide book route to Inverlael and then some how get to Ullapool, which would have been 10 km to walk. Just while bending into the track I ran into a stalking party and they didn’t want me to go up that way. The head stalker recommended a different way but since I did not have the proper map I did not want to risk it. Only option left was a walk along the road (25 miles) since I could hardly walk that did not sound to convincing. The only other possible thing left was hitch hiking. Got a lift half way by a guy from Edinburgh. Then for the last bit 2 Aussis gave me a lift. Now I’m in a hostel in Ullapool. Washed my cloth and bought new socks but didn’t do much else. I will stay for another day to get my shoes properly dry and give my blisters a chance to heal.

Posted by Marko Hauke on 10/04 at 09:05 PM
Scotland 2002

05. October 2002 — Day 10 - Saturday

A day rest in Ullapool, nothing exciting. Went shopping, cooked a nice dinner, then went to the pub for one or two. I have to say even little country pubs in Ireland have more flair and atmosphere then the two Scottish ones I have been to so far.

Posted by Marko Hauke on 10/05 at 09:08 PM
Scotland 2002

06. October 2002 — Day 11 - Sunday

Not a really special route today. About 18 km from Ullapool into a wide valley on an estate road. The way then continued on a track to a really cozy bothy at the lake. Weather was absolutely stunning. Lots of sunshine, still a little cold. I arrived early at 2pm and sat in the sun reading “The Rainmaker” by Grisham.

Posted by Marko Hauke on 10/06 at 09:10 PM
Scotland 2002

07. October 2002 — Day 12 - Monday

Since Friday my left foot is making a lot of trouble. The ankle hurts a lot even though I didn’t twist it or any thing of that sort. So the first 13 km were on a track with one difficult river crossing. That took a couple of minutes to find a good spot. Then I had to make a decision do I walk on the road (little bit longer) or follow a forest road mentioned in the guide book. The forest road mentioned a difficult bit of half a kilometer cross country (which I later learned was not there, apparently the forest service joined the two forest road). I decided for the road walk because it might be easier on my ankle. I made it to Loch Ails and camped on the shore. It started raining soon after I went into my sleeping bag and continued all night. Stupid me pitched the tent entrance into the wind, so it wasn’t a comfortable night at all.

Posted by Marko Hauke on 10/07 at 09:13 PM
Scotland 2002

08. October 2002 — Day 13 - Tuesday

The route in the book suggested a way over the mountain massive, but a look in the morning showed the mountain tops covered in clouds. Additionally most of the route would be on a path or cross country. So again I decided for a road walk of 15 km to Inishnadamph and then I wanted to go further to Kulesku. After the 15 km on the road I actually had enough. My ankle was really troubling me and I could hardly walk. I checked into a very nice Hostel, big old country house. Arrived there by 1pm and just relaxed, put my feed up, talked to some other guests.

Posted by Marko Hauke on 10/08 at 09:14 PM
Scotland 2002

09. October 2002 — Day 14 - Wednesday

The first part (5 - 6 km) was on a track/path and my foot felt OK. I thought great, but then I had to take the road again which was down hill - pretty steep and my foot started acting up again. It got really bad, so I started to walk on the grass apron and it got better. So what I thought to be good for my foot for the last two days was actually the reason why it hurt. Damn. Well, made it to Kulesku and then came a tough part uphill to about 500 m with lots of wind, really exhausting. Met 4 Dutch guys who were going for the Cape as well. I saw there entry in the bothy in Knockdamp on 6. October and I was wondering if I would catch them (they were one day ahead of me). We talked a little, but then I had to look for a camping place because we approached Achfray. Were I’m gonna catch the post bus in the morning to Lairg.

Posted by Marko Hauke on 10/09 at 09:16 PM
Scotland 2002

10. October 2002 — Day 15 - Thursday

Woke up early this morning because I was anxious to miss the post bus and I didn’t know how far I had to walk from my camping place to the bus stop. I took the bus to Lairg at 10am then got a connection to ... and from there got the bus to Inverness. Were I checked into a hostel again until Sunday. For dinner I treated myself to an all you can eat buffet of deep pan pizza. So my Cape Wrath adventure ended after 14 days and 260 km. I fell short by 45 km or three days.

Posted by Marko Hauke on 10/10 at 09:17 PM
Scotland 2002
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