walkhighlands

Share your personal walking route experiences in Scotland, and comment on other peoples' reports.
Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.

More Lessons from a wild camping trip

More Lessons from a wild camping trip


Postby Physicistinboots » Thu Jun 13, 2013 10:51 pm

Munros included on this walk: Aonach Air Chrith, Creag a'Mhaim, Creag nan Damh, Druim Shionnach, Ladhar Bheinn, Luinne Bheinn, Maol chinn-dearg, Meall Buidhe (Knoydart), Sgurr a'Mhaoraich, Sgurr an Doire Leathain, Sgurr an Lochain, Sgurr na Sgine, The Saddle

Date walked: 03/06/2013

Time taken: 144 hours

Distance: 80.2 km

Ascent: 7587m

2 people think this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).

Following last year’s misadventure filled wild camping trip to the Cairngorms and the somewhat better organised but rather chilly camping trip around the Southern uplands I was once again ready to give up on bathing and comfortable sleeping in exchange for stunning early morning views and that amazing sense of remoteness that comes from pitching your tent in the middle of nowhere. Having learnt lessons from both previous trips I did not this time attempt to carry eight litres of water with me and the daily route plans were much more conservative in terms of how far I thought I could carry a full pack (still not conservative enough).
After several weeks of anticipation, buying freeze dried food, fixing various kit items, weighing out food to get to the daily calorie target and of course drooling over maps, finally we were ready for the off. This involved a very early start followed by a morning of travel then a pleasant afternoon spent sleeping in a park in Fort William before catching the late train to Mallaig. Some research on the internet had informed me that it was possible to camp up by the radio mast just outside of the town centre. A short steep path leads up there and the ground is flat enough to pitch a tent easily.
In the morning we had lovely views over Mallaig and towards Skye. We treated ourselves to one final decent coffee and a very nice scone before catching the ferry over to Inverie. The boat ride itself is good fun as long as you don’t get sea sick!

2013-06-03 Knoydart D1.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


Once in Inverie with a mixture of excitement and trepidation it was time to start walking. The first few kilometres were an easy wander along a good path heading away from the coast. Perfect for last minute bag and clothing adjustments. Once we crossed over the Allt Coire Torr an Asgaill we left the path and headed up the steep slopes of Ladhar Bheinn. Tough going with a full pack and the sun beating down but we were fresh and made good time up to An Diollaid. From there it is a relatively easy walk up to the summit. Here we briefly experienced our only cloudy summit of the trip but even this had cleared by the time we finished our celebratory cereal bars.
P1020985.JPG
Along the ridge to Ladhar Bheinn

The way down took quite a while as there is a bit of scrambling which needed to be taken very carefully with the bags. Partway down we met the only two other walkers we saw in the Knoydart peninsula. They were based in Inverie and walking all of the local hills in between whisky drinking!
We took a mini detour to visit Stob a’ Chearcaill before another somewhat steep descent down towards Mam Barrisdale to pitch camp for the night.
P1020992(1).JPG
Napping at the end of the day


2013-06-04 Knoydart D2.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


Even after only one day I was quite glad to leave the bag behind on day two and head off to Luinne Bheinn and Meall Buidhe unencumbered. It felt like we flew up the hills. At the top of both we had amazing views, I particularly liked the view over the sea to Skye from Meall Buidhe. The water looked amazing, still and silvery, after a hot day of climbing it looked very tempting from afar.
P1030001(1).JPG
Views over Knoydart

We descended again and crossed the Abhainn nan Eildean before climbing back up to Mam Barrisdale to collect the bags and tent and walk down towards Barrisdale Bay. The last part of the day was a gentle walk along the shores of Loch Hourn. At any other time it would have been a very pleasant walk but by that point I was just looking forward to my freeze dried meal and a sit down! We eventually camped right next to the Loch, happily not too many midges were apparent so we were able to sit outside and appreciate the views.
P1030019(1).JPG
A view from Barrisdale

P1030021(1).JPG
Ready to pitch the tent again


2013-06-05 Knoydart D3.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


Day three was a bit of a disaster in walking terms. I had badly underestimated how much insulin my evening meal would require and woke up with sky high blood sugar levels in no fit state for anything. So we decided to take most of the day off. After napping for most of the morning we strolled the rest of the way along the shore to Kinloch Hourn and were surprised to find a tea room there! Miles from the next settlement you can get tea and scones which were very welcome!
We eventually continued on our way and ended up pitching the tent by Loch Coire Shubh in the shadow of Meall an Uillt Bhain. Having decided to take a quick dip we discovered that at some point (probably during the napping) we had picked up some unwelcome hitchhikers in the form of ticks. New lesson for wild camping – always take tweezers! We wandered back to the tea room to get some advice and a very nice couple of fellow hikers let us borrow theirs.
P1030030(1).JPG
A rather chilly swim

P1030034(1).JPG
Sunset over the hills


2013-06-06 Knoydart D4.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


Day four and we were back to serious walking. Once again abandoning the bags and taking a circular route up to Meall an Uillt Bhain and then on to Sgurr a’Mhaoraich. This is a really beautiful hill top, you don’t know in which direction to look first there is so much to see. We took our time at the summit soaking in the views before heading back via Sgurr a’ Mhaoraich Beag. We managed to accidentally scare a young deer which we were practically on top of before we noticed it. Also some hares and a few soaring birds of prey – second thing to remember next time is binoculars.
P1030036(1).JPG
The loch from above - you can just about see our tent!

P1030042(1).JPG
At the summit of Sgurr a’Mhaoraich

P1030043(1).JPG
One of the views from the summit

P1030046(1).JPG
And another view

Loaded up with the bags once more we headed off along the Allt Coire Sgoireadail up to the Bealach Coire Sgoireadail. Once again a good path and probably a very nice walk but tough if you are already tired, hungry and carrying a heavy bag! We soldiered on to our destination on the Bealach Duibh Leac, a great place to camp with views along the South Glen Shiel ridge in one direction and down Glen Shiel in the other. Another exciting freeze dried meal (no sarcasm they do actually taste pretty good and by the end of each tiring day I had been fantasising about dinner for a few hours) followed by yet another early night – I quite easily slept for ten hours most nights on the trip.
P1030057(1).JPG
Camping on the bealach


2013-06-07 Knoydart D5.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


Day five saw us bag free and meandering our way over Sgurr a’ Bhac Chaolais and up Sgurr nan Sgine. Then came the descent to the bealach where we managed to lose the path and head down what we later saw was one of the steepest parts of the slope. However we made it in one piece to Lochan Bealach Coire Mhalagain. There were a few more people about than on the previous days mostly walking up or back down the Saddle. We saw a few people doing the ridge traverse which looks like great fun but we decided to leave that for another time when we were fresher and stuck to the grassy slopes. Once again we lost the path somewhere and went with the age old method of heading upwards – easy enough as the day was yet again beautifully clear and sunny.
Great views from the summit, even after five previous Munros on this trip the sight of all those hills wasn’t getting old. A short break then back down again to the bealach. We then decided to attempt to return to our tent without passing over the top of Sgurr nan Sgine or Sgurr a’ Bhac Chaolais again. This was a semi-successful strategy. Probably less tiring than walking back up but not less time consuming as it involved a fair amount of scrambling round steep hill sides. We eventually made it back and I treated myself to the most calorie rich freeze dried meal in the selection in preparation for day six – the seven Munro South Glen Shiel Ridge
P1030077(1).JPG
Sunset over the hills

P1030081(1).JPG
And early(ish) morning cloud

P1030084(1).JPG
The traditional way to take down the tent


2013-06-08 Knoydart D6.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


This is a ridge that I have wanted to walk for a while. And although we were starting fairly high already we would have the bags to carry which would make it a long day. In the end it took us about eleven hours. We progressed very slowly, my knees were letting me know of their existence by this point in the trip but they only had to hold out for one more day! In actual fact the going seemed to get easier the further we went along the ridge. The first peak Creag nan Damh seemed to be the toughest with far too many false summits. After that a sense of achievement, the good weather and the stunning views propelled us along. Over Sgurr an Lochain, Sgurr an Doire Leathain, Maol Chinn-dearg, Aonach air Chrith, Druim Shionnach and finally Creag a’ Mhaim. My personal favourite was Aonach air Chrith, it has a nice little bit of scrambling just before the actual summit.
P1030086(1).JPG
Along the South Glen Shiel Ridge

P1030094(1).JPG
Taking a well earned break

As it was a sunny Saturday there were loads of people on the hills ranging from those with huge backpacks like us to the runners with nothing but a water bottle. Naturally the further you progress the fewer people you meet coming in the other direction until by the end of the day we had the last summit to ourselves and could celebrate with a wee dram (Laphroaig this time) and drink in one last look over the hills and glens before semi-reluctantly (only semi as we wanted dinner!) making our way down.
P1030111(1).JPG
Nearing the end

P1030121(1).JPG
The final cairn!

We found a small path straight down to the North of Creag a’Mhaim which was not on the map but we didn’t feel like taking the larger path to the South East which would have taken us further from the pub. As it was this great little path led us all the way to the road (over some enormous stiles) and then it was an exhausted but jubilant walk around Loch Cluanie to the Cluanie Inn. The thought of a hot meal and a cold drink fuelling us for those last few kilometres.
The last lesson from this wild camping trip had been becoming increasingly apparent throughout the day. Despite the use of copious quantities of sun cream my hands were badly sunburnt and the joy of a double Cluanie burger was somewhat marred by the burning sensation. So next time perhaps some very light gloves?
Day seven found us waking up for the last time this trip in a tent. After a bracing but refreshing wash in the loch there was just about time for a bite to eat at the Inn. We also managed to find a very old book there on Scottish outdoor pursuits which described the new fashion for pedestrianism? (we assumed this referred to walking) and described the curious phenomenon of ladies taking part in outdoor activities – madness!
We managed to get an earlier bus than we had booked thanks to some helpful bus drivers :D . It was a bit of a shock to get back to cities. We were probably also a bit of a shock to the city as by this point we were somewhat Robinson Crusoe-like in appearance having only washed in lochs for seven days. I think by that point my hiking trousers could probably have walked back on their own.
So overall a few lessons to learn for next time but an amazing trip. I discovered that I cannot eat cereal in the morning without feeling ill for the next few hours. Taking my usual breakfast of a boiled egg and toast might not work but I am sure there is a happy middle ground to be found. We had no problems finding water for drinking and sometimes even for washing as well! Stronger sun cream would have been useful but you generally don’t expect that much sun in Scotland  . We picked the right time to miss the real start of the midge season and the few bites that we did get were easily dealt with using bite cream. Ticks could probably have been avoided by not lying on the grass so much, but it is very tempting after a hard days walk.
Probably the clearest sign of a great trip is that I am already thinking about the next one :D
Physicistinboots
 
Posts: 26
Munros:65   Corbetts:1
Donalds:4
Sub 2000:4   
Joined: May 3, 2010

Re: More Lessons from a wild camping trip

Postby bootsandpaddles » Fri Jun 14, 2013 11:05 am

Looks like a brilliant rip. :clap:
User avatar
bootsandpaddles
 
Posts: 666
Munros:282   Corbetts:101
Donalds:7
Joined: Aug 5, 2008

Re: More Lessons from a wild camping trip

Postby bootsandpaddles » Fri Jun 14, 2013 11:06 am

bootsandpaddles wrote:Looks like a brilliant rip. :clap:


Sorry I meant trip!
User avatar
bootsandpaddles
 
Posts: 666
Munros:282   Corbetts:101
Donalds:7
Joined: Aug 5, 2008

Re: More Lessons from a wild camping trip

Postby SAVAGEALICE » Fri Jun 14, 2013 3:21 pm

wow thats some trip ..looks like you were lucky with the weather ..well done :clap: :clap: :D Dont think i could go "wild" for that long! :crazy:
User avatar
SAVAGEALICE
 
Posts: 614
Munros:282   Corbetts:175
Grahams:56   Donalds:1
Sub 2000:45   Hewitts:23
Wainwrights:33   Islands:21
Joined: Aug 26, 2008
Location: Alness, Ross-shire

Re: More Lessons from a wild camping trip

Postby mrssanta » Fri Jun 14, 2013 5:23 pm

brilliant! what a fantastic week.
have you considered oatcakes and cheese for breakfast? That's what I have when camping, easily transported, especially if you splash out on some cheese portions or babybel type things.
User avatar
mrssanta
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 2984
Munros:245   Corbetts:10
Grahams:3   
Sub 2000:9   Hewitts:44
Wainwrights:40   Islands:8
Joined: Jul 18, 2011
Location: north yorkshire moors

Re: More Lessons from a wild camping trip

Postby Physicistinboots » Fri Jun 14, 2013 5:49 pm

mrssanta wrote:brilliant! what a fantastic week.
have you considered oatcakes and cheese for breakfast? That's what I have when camping, easily transported, especially if you splash out on some cheese portions or babybel type things.


I will give that a try next time :) Thanks!
Physicistinboots
 
Posts: 26
Munros:65   Corbetts:1
Donalds:4
Sub 2000:4   
Joined: May 3, 2010

Re: More Lessons from a wild camping trip

Postby skuk007 » Fri Jun 14, 2013 10:04 pm

Great report. Looks like some stunning scenery, you had perfect weather. Bet you cant wait to get started on your next trip already.
User avatar
skuk007
Hill Bagger
 
Posts: 1419
Munros:44   
Hewitts:8
Wainwrights:16   
Joined: Aug 24, 2009
Location: Bristol

Re: More Lessons from a wild camping trip

Postby weaselmaster » Fri Jun 14, 2013 10:17 pm

Good report - wild camping is great, isn't it? (as another recent convert)
My breakfast regime is porridge with some raisins in it and also some dried coconut milk powder - i make up a small bag with each day's portion in it then in the morning just add the appropriate amount of water and boil for 4 mins. If you play about with the amount of dried friut you put in it (or even use jam or some sort of fruit spread) you should be able to get a good mix of quick and slow acting carbs which would probably level out your blood sugar more than cereal bars would do?
User avatar
weaselmaster
Wanderer
 
Posts: 1786
Munros:206   Corbetts:18
Grahams:69   Donalds:85
Sub 2000:178   Hewitts:31
Wainwrights:15   Islands:28
Joined: Aug 22, 2012
Location: Greenock

2 people think this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).



Walkhighlands community forum is now advert free

We need help to keep the site online.
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by setting up a monthly donation by direct debit?



Return to Walk reports - Scotland

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: bobalexander1983, kaiserstein, m3doc, Malkie, SiliconSoul, Wdmullen, weregettingthere and 45 guests