July 03

We reached Ullapool on the Cape Wrath Trail at the weekend and have returned home to the luxuries of modern living!  After wild camping in remote glens and cooking simple hot food over a single burner stove even an electric kettle seems wonderful. The rest of the Trail remains to be completed at another time.

The weather has been just blissful. This was taken on a poor day, looking over to Knoydart along Loch Hourn.

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Some of the walking on this trip is over pathless rough ground:

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It was hard work.  These two weeks have been some of the hardest walking I have done for a long time.  There was the combination of rough ground underfoot, hot weather and heavy rucksacs stuffed with food, tent and bad weather gear – just in case.

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But the rewards were magnificent.  Because of the sunny, hot weather the ground was dry and the bogs were not very soft.  The rivers also were very low so we had no problem fording them.

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The views of the mountains were stunning

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The wild campsites were unbelievable

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From this site we watched the sunset over the loch. We had the whole place to ourselves.

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An eagle flew low over our tent and as the sun went down a badger came snuffling along the beach and walked by us – only eight feet away. We were downwind of him so he couldn’t smell us and he stared in our direction, unsure of what was there but badgers are pretty blind so he could not see us. The water in this loch was very cold.  I went for a swim that lasted approximately sixty seconds!

I found it difficult to take pictures that showed the sheer scale of the countryside and the feeling of emptiness.  We would only see two or three people in a long days walk.  Sometimes we saw no one.

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The inhabitants of the countryside were thrown out of their houses in the ‘clearances’ many years ago.

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A disintegrating old door in a derelict cottage:

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This part of the world is absolutely stunning.  Go there one day if you have never visited.  I hope you get the kind of weather we did:

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June 23

Five days into our walk along the Cape Wrath Trail. Five days without internet. Five days of heavy rucksacs, rough paths, bogs and gorgeous scenery. It has not all been like this:

Although there are a lot of rivers and streams to cross they are fairly low at the moment and there are usually enough stones to hop across dry-footed:

But sometimes you have to wade:

The walking has been really hard work and our progress has been slower than Valerie and I had planned. These Scottish miles seem longer than English ones. The views have been stunning.

We have stayed in a Bothy. These are small buildings open to anyone who wants to stay. There are usually no services. No running water. The toilet system is to take the spade positioned inside the door, walk away from the building and dig yourself a hole.

We slept in this one on a very wet night:

We camped outside this one:

Inside there are maybe a few chairs and a table

And there is usually a raised platform to sleep on ( note the spade there!)

We have seen a few deer. These ones are on the shore. I wondered if they had developed a taste for seaweed.

The country here is big and empty. We walk all day and maybe see two people.

Down there along the right hand shore by two trees is the Bothy:

What’s not to like about this kind of walking? I like the New Zealand word ‘tramping’. It seems most appropriate for this kind of travel.