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West Highland, Great Glen and Affric Kintail Combo 3/3

West Highland, Great Glen and Affric Kintail Combo 3/3


Postby pbeauvillard » Wed Jul 11, 2018 11:49 am

Route description: Affric Kintail Way

Date walked: 15/05/2018

Time taken: 15 days

Distance: 310 km

Ascent: 5191m

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Anne & Patrick - A french couple, used to long distance trails that we pratice 2 or 3 times a year, usually in the mountains. In May 2018, we hiked in Scotland, starting on the West Highland Way, then the high-route of the Great Glen Way, followed by the Affric Kintail Way. We then concluded our trip with a day walk in Inverness, and a couple of days in Edinburgh. Our trip report starts below. It is split in 3 parts : Part 1 is on the WHW, Part 2 for GGW, and Part 3 for AKW and the end. We hope you'll envoy reading and will forgive us for our english. Finally, thanks to Fairweather Softie, China88, Mal Grey, Gaffr, Scottk, Caberfeidh, Abbruce, Bootsandpaddles, and BobMcBob for their advices on the forum.

The Part 1 of our report, along the West Highland Way, can be found here.
The Part 2 along the Great Glen Way is here.
Our complete slideshow can be seen here :https://youtu.be/yvGqRqvGd24

Sunday, May 27 (Day 12)
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We leave the Great Glen Way for the Affric Kintail Way. The stage is very peaceful and very pleasant, although it unfortunately contains a long stretch of 7 km along the road. We have the impression of hiking in the “Massif Central” of France, apart from the rivers that are here wider. Arrived at Cannich, we stock up on provisions for the next 3 days. And in the evening, Patrick succeeds (finally) to make excellent popcorn with our Jetboil. We do this using coconut oil, which is very convenient while trekking as it is solid at 25°C. This is also our new thing (with puffed rice): light, compact, does not require water, and super nourishing!

Monday, May 28 (Day 13)
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Great sun again this morning. We are waiting for the opening of the coffee shop to take a "full Scottish breakfast" before leaving for the wild. The first kilometers, we follow a broad forest road. Patrick is disappointed: he does not like these wide paths and prefers the mountain trails ... But the forest is beautiful, the view magnificent. We picnic at Dogs Falls. The Affric River is superb. South side, we start to climb and enjoy the still magnificent views of the peaks where there are still some firn.
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We start looking for a spot to pitch the tent but find nothing that suits us. So, we continue to the River Affric car park where we hope finding a nice spot. The place is nice yes, but the “camping not allowed” signs question us ... Is the bivouac tolerated? When in doubt, we continue our journey. The fatigue begins to be felt, and still no spot... Finally, we arrive at a place with a remarkable view of the mountains. The soil seems almost flat, but "boggy". We plunge into the peat, but reasonably to imagine putting our tent. At least pegs will not be difficult to pitch. Fearful of moisture, we are laying our life blanket between the floor mat and mattresses: one more insulation layer will not be superfluous. Once seated in the tent: we do not move any longer and try to distribute our weight evenly... In fact, the night will be excellent!

Tuesday, May 29 (Day 14)
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And we wake up dry! We were not drowned in the swamp. The folding of the tent and the breakfast are delicate not to wet our stuff. Outside the fog envelops everything. Patrick, who loves it, is trying to take pictures ... and we are waiting for the fog to clear up, to take advantage of the scenery that we feel is exceptional. Gradually, the sun comes up and we start walking. The view is sublime. Without a doubt the most beautiful stage of our trip. Arrived overhanging Loch Affric, we are attracted by its beach and descend to the edge of the lake. The water is cool, but not cold, and Patrick bathes with great pleasure.
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We leave. The sun beats down. We find some shade behind a rock for a picnic. As the valley is oriented east-west, it is bathed in sunshine from early morning until late evening. It's nice, but in fact, this heat takes our strength away! Once at the Alltbeithe hostel, we meet Graeme, the replacement manager who welcomed us warmly, offers us a tea and a nice tchat. He tells us where to go, a little further, in a dry place, and along the river. The place is wonderful, at the junction of two rivers. The bath is invigorating and healthy!
In the evening, the ticks inspection is positive again for Patrick: Two insects of a sudden, one already in place, the other still seeking its spot before it was removed.
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Wednesday, May 30 (Day 15)
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Last stage of our trek ... We wake up with some "midges". Not much, but enough to put our hat-net, and say that it was useful to carry it. Again, the day is hot and tiring, but still very beautiful landscape.
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We met virtually no-one, which changes us (and we liked) to highway-like trails like the West Highland Way. We arrive in Morvich where we setup at the campsite. We have nothing to eat and are informed that unfortunately the Jac-O-Bite restaurant is closed. We have enough force to push up Kintail Lodge for dinner, which gives us a nice night walk along the Loch Druich.

Thursday, May 31 (Day 16)
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We return to Kintail Lodge for breakfast, before taking the bus to Inverness. From the bus station to the campsite, we drive along the river Ness which crosses the city and gives it a country-side look. Then we make a long tour in Inverness, especially to go to the other end of the New Caledonian canal. We, too, went from one sea to another ...

Friday, June 1 (Day 17)

The night was long! Very long. Before taking our bus to Edinburgh in the middle of the day, we visit 3 major stores: 1) The mountain warehouse: we never go past a store of this brand without coming in. And often, we find something useful. 2) a clothing store where Anne buys a very nice kilt, and 3) the whiskey shop, where Patrick comes in saying that he just looks ... but will leave with 2 "dram to share": Secret of Islay and Craigellachie ...
The bus trip to Edinburgh is under heavy rain. The kind of rain that we prefer to have while sitting in a bus than hiking!

Saturday June 2nd (Day 18)
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Edinburgh ... Patrick finds this city, after 41 years, with a lot of emotions. The summer of his 15 years old, he had been in language exchange with a high school student from here and had spent 3 weeks in Edinburgh. Without having precise memories, the city seems familiar. In addition, our AirBnB overlooks the Meadows, the park that Patrick went through in the morning to go to high school. After a search on the internet, Patrick finds himself linked via LinkedIn with his correspondent, and by email with his parents via a professor at the University of Edinburgh. The world is small 😉
We spend the day touring the New Town, then the Old Town. At the National Gallery, Anne falls under the spell of Giovanni Bressani's portrait by Giovanni Battista Moroni. At the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, the bust of Robert Louis Stevenson is a sign: between hikers, we recognize each others!
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Sunday, June 3rd (Day 19)

We thought we were going to see Edinburgh from the top of Holyrood Park. But the sky is low, and Arthur's seat is in the mist. So, direction ... The Scotch Whisky Experience where we both have a great time. Patrick tasted 5 whiskys, 1 for each of the regions of production, with a special mention for the Speyside, which we did not know about and appreciate for their floral and fruity taste. In the afternoon, we take advantage of our bus-card to get away from the center, and visit the city differently: Leith, Port of Edinburgh, Portobello, and back by the house where Patrick had stayed, in the district of Newington.

Monday June 4th (Day 20)

Last day of our trip ... We have the pleasure to meet David again for a nice lunch before leaving for the airport. Like each time, at the end of each of our long trails, we start to plan the next one. This summer will be finish our crossing of the Pyrénées, on the GR10. In the fall, we'll see ... And in April, we look for a crossing of Portugal, on Via Algarviana and Rota Vicentina ...

Farewell !
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Last edited by pbeauvillard on Sun Jul 29, 2018 10:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
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pbeauvillard
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Re: West Highland, Great Glen and Affric Kintail Combo 3/3

Postby gld73 » Wed Jul 11, 2018 6:59 pm

I enjoyed reading all 3 parts of your walk report - your apologies for it being in your second language are not necessary, the language is beautiful. Hope you had a great holiday here :D
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Re: West Highland, Great Glen and Affric Kintail Combo 3/3

Postby Scottk » Fri Jul 13, 2018 11:21 pm

Nice report and great picture of Loch Affric beach. It's a great campsite and the fishers hut has a large covered platform for cooking of the weather is poor.
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