Journeying on the Isle of Islay

Posted by on Aug 8, 2012 in Camp, Islands, Walk | 2 Comments

‘The act of journeying contributes to a sense of physical and mental well-being, while the monotony of prolonged settlement or regular work weaves patterns in the brain that engender fatigue and a sense of personal inadequacy.’  Bruce Chatwin, Nomad Invasions, 1972 The Sound of Jura from Rhuba Bachlaig Those of us who live in Scotland […]

A scorching day on the South Glen Shiel Ridge

Posted by on May 29, 2012 in Northwest Highlands, Walk | One Comment

The old Road to the Isles, looking towards Cluanie Last Friday provided a rare combination of fabulous weather and the opportunity for a spot of hillwalking. We decided on the South Glen Shiel Ridge, originally hoping to knock off the full seven Munros. However a later than intended start, a drive that took longer than […]

Benighted on Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan

Posted by on Sep 6, 2011 in Camp, Northwest Highlands, Walk | 10 Comments

Mullach na Dheiragain from near the summit of  Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan   I panted my way to the summit of Mullach na Dheiragain at 2030 hrs.  After fueling up on trail mix I rummaged in my pack for my head torch. The prospect of benightment didn’t concern me in the slightest. After the short, light […]

Isle of Jura backpacking and snake charming

Posted by on Jul 13, 2011 in Camp, Islands, Walk | 7 Comments

The wild, uninhabited west coast of Jura captured my imagination when I glimpsed it between fleeting clouds from the summit of Beinn Shanntaidh two years ago. We returned at the weekend and made two traverses from the road on the east coast to the west. The first skirted the northern flanks of the Paps to Glanbatrick […]

A Lightweight Epiphany in Glen Affric

Posted by on Apr 11, 2011 in Camp, Northwest Highlands, Walk | 2 Comments

The one that got away. Mam Sodhail and Carn Eighe from the ridge of Sgurr na Lapaich, 23rd April 2006 It may seem contradictory for one who purports to take a dim view of the pastime of Munro bagging to keep a careful record of his own ascents, but that is exactly the position in […]

Animal Rescue on Stac Gorm, Loch Ruthven

Posted by on Feb 1, 2011 in East Highlands, Walk | 3 Comments

My heart sank as I watched Tam, my faithful border terrier, disappear from view, silently swallowed by the heather. I knew that we were in the vicinity of a deep cleft in the rock. Clearly it extended further than I had realised, overhanging heather completely obscuring its upper reaches, a fiendish trap lurking on the seemingly innocuous summit of Stac […]

Solar Arc

Posted by on Jan 3, 2011 in Books, Northwest Highlands, Walk | 4 Comments

We are blind to much of the wonder of the natural world. The beauty of great nature writing  is that it can open our eyes to this unseen splendour and provide us with the vocabulary needed to describe phenomena which might otherwise pass us by. In his book ‘Arctic Dreams’ Barry Lopez describes how reflection and […]

Cairngorms: Carn A’Mhaim from Lin of Dee

Posted by on Jul 5, 2010 in Camp, East Highlands, Walk | 3 Comments

The southern approaches to the Cairngorms have a charm all of their own, the crunch of granite gravel under the mountain bike tyre, camping amid great stands of Scots pine. All in all a more leisurely and dignified experience than rushing towards the ski infrastructure from the Coire Cas car park to the north. A […]

36 hours in Fisherfield

Posted by on Jun 29, 2010 in Camp, Northwest Highlands, Walk | 5 Comments

Those familiar with the Scottish countryside will know that the Fisherfield Forest is misleadingly named, for it is not a tree forest but a deer forest, a historical term for a hunting ground. My weekend visit to this remote and spectacular region presented an opportunity to commit fully to the concept of the Bushbuddy wood-burning camp stove.  I was slightly nervous […]

The White Shepherd: Walking the Strathfarrar Hills

Posted by on Oct 5, 2009 in Books, Northwest Highlands, Walk | No Comments

The weekend saw the appearance of the ‘white shepherd’, a name for the first snows of winter derived from their effectiveness at flushing grazing sheep from the high tops. The phrase dates back to a bygone era; it was the roaring of stags rather than the bleating of sheep that provided the soundtrack to Sunday’s […]