Our annual trip to Scotland is becoming more or less business as usual. Don’t get me wrong here. Not in any negative sense, but in a positive way. Like an annual party that you are looking forward to. Planning began as early as January with finding and booking flights. Then there was a first meeting in a cosy pub where we discussed the area options.
- Cairngorms round from Aviemore
- Cairngorms - Blair Atholl to Aviemore
- Achnashellach - Loch Morar (+ hills to the north)
- Loch Monar Round from Craig or Strathcarron
- Glen Etive Ridge
- Corrour to Dalwhinnie
- Ben Alder Region
In the end we agreed on Loch Monar and the Strathfarrar Munros. A potential route was quickly devised. Start and Finish would be at the car park in Scardroy in Strathconon. We’d then walk to our first camp near the footbridge over River Orrin. On the next day we’d conquer the Strathfarrar 4 and proceed to Loch Monar. On the 3 we’d cross a few of the Loch Mullardoch northern Munros while on day 4 we wanted to go for Lurg Mhor and the other 3 Munros at the western end of Loch Monar. Day 5 would see us go over Maoile Lunndaidh and back to Scardroy. That was however a bit over ambitious because there was no day that involved walking without heavy rucksacks. Therefore we decided to skip the Loch Mullardoch Munros and have two camps. The first one for 2 nights at Loch na Caoidhe and the second at Drochaidh Mhuilich for the last 2 nights. This turned out quite well as you’ll see or read.
As every year we prepared our gear and packed and once I had everything in my shiny new rucksack it weighed 15kg (but without a tent, water and food).
Here is our final route:
Day 0 | Sun in Scotland … uh? Surely this will disappear once we started walking.
So we drove in a Wednesday morning to Berlin to the very old, tiny Ex-GDR airport Schoenefeld (Berlin's new airport BER should have opened in 2012 but that has been delayed because of scandals until 2018 or even 2019) and boarded our Ryanair flight to Glasgow.
Dense traffic on the Autobahn
It’s always nice to be offered absolutely nothing but scratch lottery tickets and food & drink with a hefty price tag. We landed at 14:10 and were surprised with beautiful sunshine and mild weather. Wow. That was a nice surprise. Next thing on the list: Passport check. Not a long queue. Then rental car collection.
Welcome to Glasgow
My mate went to the rental car desk while we waited for our rucksack in baggage claim and once we found him he had the keys for a shiny new Volvo. Another nice surprise. Although I must admit this was supposed to be an upgrade but it was just too small for the four of us. We were expecting a spacy Skoda Octavia or something similar but we got a Volvo V40. The 4 rucksacks had to be squeezed into the boot but in the end we managed to fit in and started towards Perth where our next destination was: Tiso.
Gas canister store
The Tiso is really a cool shop for buying outdoor gear but it’s also dangerous. Why? Because we were in a hurry and all we needed was full camping gas canisters but what we bought instead was a few sporks, a new bottle even a new stove. All in all a lot of additional weight. We hit the road again and headed north in the A9 to Inverness. For most of you the A9 is a normal road or a quick way to lose money at speed cameras, for us it is the highway to our mountains of dreams. We noticed a couple of things that had changed during the last 2 years: The guy that had camped along the roadside near Blair Athol was gone and so were some of the old power pylons but a lot of new speed cameras were in place.
We're getting closer
We arrived at the Tesco in the Inverness Retail park and bought food, drink and whisky for the next 5 days. Tesco is dangerous as well. Especially when you’re hungry and when you have to carry everything you buy over the Munros.
After that we entered Burger King. Ordering food in Fast Food restaurants in english speaking countries are always a bit of a challenge. Why? Well, the waiter is asking the same questions a hundred times a day. It comes out blurred. He doesn’t even try to speak slow and clear. So I’m guessing what he’s asking because the questions will be the same everywhere around the globe. To make it easier for him and us we order all the same. Angus Burger meal which will be prepared for us. So we took a seat and waited. And waited and waited. You should know that at least in Germany you’ll get a little sign with a number and once your food has been prepared the waiter comes to your table, collects the number and hands over the food. Well, its not like that in this Burger King. It must have been the third time someone called something incomprehensible that I realised this is our call to collect the burgers which were cold by then. But since this was our last meal before we’d start our tour we them wolfed down anyway.
Going west, into the sunset
The road to Scardroy
Back in the car we crossed Kessock bridge which is always a bit special and drove into the sunset. Just before Contin we headed south to Marybank and from there up the glen to Scardroy. The GPS said 19 miles to our destination and I have to admit that these miles are a great drive through a wonderful glen. Finally we arrived at the car park just north of Loch Scardroy where we had to do one last task before we could finally start our walk: Pack everything into the rucksacks. So the contents of four plastic bags we squeezed into our already full rucksacks, shoes were changed and we were ready.
And off we go...
When we set off it was already darkening and initially we had planned to walk all the way to Loch an Chaoidhe but it was clear that this was not manageable. Instead we followed the small road through Scardroy and camped at the bridge over River Meig near the old ruins. Important note: Not a single drop of rain so far.
Day 1 - The Strathfarrar Four
A beautiful morning at River Meig near Scardroy
We woke up to the quiet sound of the river and sunshine which was nice. The schedule for today was tight. Walk to the Loch, put the tents up at the western end and then walk over the four Strathfarrar Munros. So we did not linger long after a quick breakfast and headed of towards SW along the river.
After 1.5km the corrie Coire Mhoraigein forks of to the SE which we then followed. There is a landrover track in places which is easy enough to follow but it disappears from time to time. After a while we arrived at the saddle Drochaid Coire Mhadaidh and continued SE until we arrived at the Loch.
Loch Chaoidhe and the Strathfarrar Munros
There is a beautiful spot near the old ruins at the western end of the loch and that is where we put up our tents. As small stream with fresh water was all we needed. The Munros were calling and so we did not waste time but started soon after into a SW direction which might sound wrong but we did not fancy the steep climb up the Carn an Alltain Rhiabhaich but instead tried to find the path which runs to Loch Monar. We did not really find it but it did not matter. Walking without the 20kg rucksacks was easy, the weather was nice and especially with the good view of the surrounding hills navigation was no problem.
What is this? (There were broken antennas inside)
Therefore we were really surprised when we found ourselves on the top of Sgurr na Fearstaig where we also met another walker with a dog. We exchanged some pleasantries and already wanted to celebrate but realised that Fearstaig is no Munro but just a top. So we plodded on in beautiful sunshine and mild weather and were soon after at the first Munro of the tour Sgurr Fhuar-thuill.
A glimpse of Loch Monar
Sgurr Na Muice
Just following the ridge
The whisky we had bought for this occasion was opened and we enjoyed a mouthful of “the famous grouse - smoky black” (nothing special, i know … but after having dropped a bottle down a gully on Beinn Eighe 2 years ago, we leave the precious stuff at home). The next tops did not really leave an impression. They are beautiful hills but after having seen Liathach, the grey Corries, mighty An Teallach, these were just nice round hills. Too soon we arrived at Sgurr a Choire Glass had some biscuits and another sip of whisky and decided what to do next.
Panorama from Creag Ghorm
To Sgurr a Choire Ghlais
The moon was a constant companion in these 4 days.
In high spirits to Carn nan Gobhar
By now it was 15:30 and we had so far bagged 2 out of 4 Munros but we have not even walked half the way. So we decided to continue to Carn nan Gobhar and were at the cairn 30 min later. Here one of us descended along the burn down to River Orrin and go back to the tents at Loch an Chaoile. The other three of us made a small detour to Sgurr na Ruaidhe.
Am I doing it right, Jaxter?
The long detour to Sgurr na Ruaidhe
If mountains can be boring, then Sgurr na Ruaidhe is exactly that
But by that time I was already feeling how long the day had already been and the ascent from the bealach to the top was a long and exhausting walk which was not helped by my two mates who stormed off and waited at the cairn looking very fresh. Their mountain fitness was much better than mine. It was however quite windy at the top so we did not linger long and turned back.
On Sgurr na Ruaidhe
This was roughly the halfway point of the day and a very long walk was now ahead of us. So we bypassed Carn nan Gobhar on the right and headed straight for Coire nan Each. Here we had the luck to see a pair of grouse. Amazing how well they hide until you almost stumble upon them. But apart from that the way down to River Orrin was a pain and we should have opted for the path in the valley to the west instead.
Descent into Glen Orrin
Ptarmigan? Grouse? Well, one of the birds that can be found on certain whisky bottles.
View into Glen Orrin
Where is the path?
Panorama of the Glen
Finally we found the path and followed it down to the footbridge. When the sun disappeared behind the mountains and all of a sudden it was cold. Exhausted as we were, it was a long and painful walk (5km) along the valley back to the tents. And there it was just noodles and then to bed.
The long way back
Evening at Am fiar-loch
Loch na Caoidhe
Almost back at the tents
Spaghetti for dinner
Day 2 - Transfer walk from Strathfarrar to Monar
Today a walk with a heavy burden was planned which should lead us to Loch Monar then over Maoile Lunndhaid and finally to our next campsite somewhere at a saddle named Drochaid Mhuilich. But first we enjoyed the mirror-like surface of Loch an Caoidhe, coffee and porridge and some fine italian Parma ham.
Mirrorlike surface of the loch ... oh and even more sun. This cant be Scotland
Breakfast ... Dont worry, the frog was unharmed. We're not french!
Afterwards we packed our stuff and headed SW along the River Orrin. As on the day before we climbed up the faint path at sgairdean na Caoidhe. From there we found a path in a very scenic little valley/corrie Coire Domhain which lead us all the way down to Loch Monar. Initially it was our idea to have lunch along the shore of the Loch but we were somewhat surprised to find the water level to be very low so that the shore line was far away looking not very inviting amidst mud and rocks. So we plodded on westwards along the Loch in search of a place to have lunch and to cool our feet. The whole day the sun was scorching down and whereas in the years before there was always water in small burns, these burns were now almost dry or full of green ooze.
Down to Loch Monar.
Not exactly full.
Blue, cool. A welcome sight on such a warm day.
Allt na Cois
We finally found a nice spot at the Coire Fionnarach at the burn that flows into Loch Monar. After some fine potato soup, tea and mars bars we skinny dipped into the burn but the water was nowhere as warm as the air so there was no lingering in the water. The place along the burn was such a nice place that it was hard to shoulder the rucksack and move on.
Our swimming pool
Stones and water
Not a lot of water in that burn either.
Especially because from now on it was all uphill. But there was a small path that goes all the way from the corrie up to 650m making the long ascent over heather a bit easier. On the path we met the same guy we had already met the day before. He was in a hurry because he had to reach his car parked at Loch Monar in order to leave Glen Strathfarrar before they closed the gate.
It's all uphill from here
a short stop to refill the bottles
A small cairn where the path ends
Where the path ends the Munro is still a good distance away but the ascent is not too steep and so after some walking and admiring the views we reached the cairn of Maoile Lunndaidh.
Still uphill but we're almost there
View to the east
Liathach, Beinn Eighe, Slioch, the Maiden and the Fisherfields .. they were all there
Still some snow up here but by far not as much as last year.
Here we waited for our mates had some water and walked on over Mica Ridge. The view from here down to Loch Monar is great and would be a great feature on every other Munro but on this one its nothing compared to the view down Fhuar-toll Mor on the north side of the hill. It is such a contrast to the mild, rolling hills to the west to look down this steep corrie with the sparkling lochans. It is one of these locations were pictures just don’t show the true beauty of the place.
The corrie ... so unexpected and so beautiful
Carn nam Fiaclan
Anyway we moved on to the west to Carn nam Fiaclan wondering if there is a path or at least a possibility to descent to Drochaid Mhuilich or if the slope is too steep which would have required and adaptation of plans to say the least. So we walked closer to the edge always wondering what might be behind and were relieved when we realised that its possible to descent and the gradient is not too steep. So we walked over rocks which were abundant in the upper third and then over grass and there was even a faint path now and then.
Carn nam F... the cairn
view to our intended camp site, at the lochan just below Sgurr a Chaorachain
We stopped to check the time and decided that we would not camp near the Lochan Gaineamhach but at the burn that flows out of it right on the saddle between Bidean an Eoin Dearg and Carn nam Fiaclan. That looked like a really nice place as it was still in the sun whereas the Lochan already was in the shadow.
Steep descent from Carn nam Fiaclan
Sgurr a Chaorachain - A beautiful Munro
By then I had already managed to descent roughly two thirds of the way when I stumbled over a small rock and was sent hands first down the hillside. Somehow I stopped the fall with my hands rolled over my backpack and came to a rest. Ouch. There was no pain at first but I felt thoroughly shaken and stumbled back on my feet. A quick damage assessment revealed nothing serious but scrapes on both hands would give me a good excuse for not washing the dishes once back home.
I have fallen ... in love with a steep slope
We then moved on the our intended camp place and found it surprisingly dry and even. A really nice spot. This was the first evening where we actually had some time to rest, to sit down and just enjoy being there, have a decent dinner (ok, just couscous) and a dram of whisky. By eight everyone went to bed.
Chilling at the camp
Its quite quiet...
Not everyone, I decided to explore the area and just walk up the corrie and wander around. So I followed the burn and when I arrived at the little lochan I saw that on the ridge there was still sunshine so I walked up there (not up to the actual ridge but up to 800m) and stood there, watching the sunset, looking at the mountains around. It had become kind of a running gag on this tour that we argued which hill is actually the Maiden/A Mhaidhean. So in the end we would point to random hills and say „Oh look, there is the Maiden!“. The view from up here was magnificent, the sun was very low just above Liathach with Beinn Eighe to the right. I'm sure the Maiden and Slioch where somewhere as well.
Moon over Bidean an Eoin Deirg
Carn nam Fiaclan
Sunset over Liathach (I'd guess)
I must have stood for quite some time when I finally walked down to the lochan. Here I looked at the water and again enjoyed the views and sounds when all of a sudden I heard a loud sound. I can't describe how it sounded but was a bit muffled, like away but still loud so that I looked around, a bit frightened what I might see. Then I saw some stags a couple of hundred meters away high above me, looking down to me. Puuuh, I was relieved that there was no spooky creature like the Old man of Ben MacDui (He would have been quite far away from home to be around at least). Somehow that sound had destroyed the magic a bit. Suddenly I felt no longer like I wanted to hang around and so I walked back to the tents where I grabbed my book and read for another hour before drifting off into sleep.
At Lochan Gaineamhach
The sun has set ... and its getting cold!
Time for bed
Day 3 – The Loch Monar Horseshoe
This day was the day I had looked forward to. Because I had the impression that the Munros around here are more rugged than the lovely round Strathfarrar Munros. So a scramble here and there, dramatic views and nice ridge walks was what I had hoped for. As usual we had a short breakfast, the left the heavy rucksacks and the tents behind and headed for the first Munro.
Our first target for the day - Bidean an Eoin Deirg
Going up. Its either very steep or the plane is about to crash
Half way up. Part of my hand is on the opposite hillside
Well the first Munro top that is. Bidean an Eoin Deirg. So we started to the east around the base of Bidein an Eoin Dearg and then up the northern flank which was steep with a lot of loose scree but still an easy scramble up to the top. If you climb up such a steep and rocky slope the top is suddenly there. It is not something you can see for ages but boom! Its there. And so we found ourselves faster than expected at the Top of Bidean an Eoin Deirg.
At the top. Great views all around
Group photo at the top
It was an amazing view from up here down to the tents, to Maoile Lunndhaid and to Loch Monar and the other 3 Munros around the western part. All of these we wanted conquer today. After some minutes two ladies arrived at the top and we had a nice conversation about walking in the High Tatras and climbing especially in the Saxon Switzerland which is just around the corner from where I live. We then followed the ridge to Sgurr a Chaorachain, todays first Munro but it was nowhere as nice as the Munro top where we just came from.
On Sgurr a Choarachain
Almost our entire route for today: Lurg Mhor, Cheesecake, Sgurr Choinnich
A short stop later we scrambled down to the bealach between the two Sgurrs. Here we separated. One of our mates had no intention to follow us on the horseshoe walk and opted for leisure day with a short walk up Sgurr Choinnich and then back to the tents. We traversed Sgurr Choinnich SW flank and headed for Sgurr Conbhaire from where we had a great view around.
Bealach below Sgurr Choinnich
On to Sgurr na Conbhaire - A nice peak like a watchtower
This little peak sits right in the middle of the horseshoe and offers great views all around and down to Loch Monar. What we had realised at this point was, that we were running low on water. It was so dry, that all these little streams one would normally find everywhere on hillsides had disappeared altogether. We descended from Conbhaire in a straight line down to the glen while looking for water but only found a trickle with green ooze.
Halfway down - The descent was a knee killer!
Vegetation in steep places
DEATH was on our heels!
Further down we found the remains of a stag. Yummy! When after a long time we arrived at the bottom our water bottles were empty and our knees were aching. What made things worse was the wall in front of us that is the north face of Lurg Mhor. There was no chance we would find a way up there. So we looked at the map and decided to cross the empty reservoir and have short stop at the burn. The look of the area normally covered with a few feet of water was somewhat outlandish. There was no green vegetation just sand and rocks and mud. But here and there were the roots of old trees. The wood was greyish white, very old looking and obviously washed round. I wasn’t sure whether these trees were still cut down shortly before the reservoir was filled or of these roots were hundreds of years old.
Could you give us a lift please?
Part of the old forest
I cooled my feet in the burn, refilled my bottle and then just before we started the ascent we met a guy who wanted to fish here. He had a strong Scottish accent and looked like someone who knew how to fish. We said goodbye and started the ascent up to the Coire Doinn Mor. Even though we had today left all rucksack behind and had just a lightweight daypack with us the ascent was blistering, back-breaking … you name it. My mates both much fitter than I am were ahead of me and the distance grew by the second. After ⅔ of the way I lost sight of them and just stumbled along. I did not think, I did not stop to take photos, I just wanted to get up that bloody hill. Finally after what felt like ages (but in reality it was just 45min) I arrived at the ridge and together we walked on, towards Meall Mor.
On to Meall Mor.
Where we came from - Sgurr na Conbhaire
Meall Mor in sight
Meall Mor is a nice and round hill and from our direction we initially thought this is the Munro. To our surprise once we stood at the top we saw Lurg Mhor behind and a fine ridge that connects Meall and Lurg. This ridge required some care because it is relatively exposed with drops on either side. Still it was fun to scramble along and only the walking poles walking unhelpful at this point.
Steep drop on the ridge between Meall and Lurg Mor
Lurg Mhor and Bidein a Choire Sheasgaich
Scrambling on the ridge
Somehow it was great to see the glen between Sgurr Conbhaire and Lurg Mhor and the idea that we just walked that distance gave us a feeling of accomplishment. But we were wrong, so wrong. A quick look at the map revealed, that by now (16:30) we had not even managed to walk half the way.
Posing in front of Lurg Mhor
The distant Cuillin ridge on Skye
So we hurried up, descended from Lurg Mhor and found ourselves on the top of Bidean a’ Choire Sheasgaich some 50 minutes later. Views were still great up here, especially to the west where Skye and the mighty Cuillins ridge loomed in the haze. But we all knew, now came the key part of this walk because we had to decide where to descend from Bidean to get up Beinn Tharsuinn. With regard to the OS25 map the only chance was to head north to the little lochan and the turn west down the Coire Seasgach. But somehow we thought the east face doesn't look to steep as well so after a short look down the north face which is just an almost vertical drop we turned to the east and tried to descend there.
Ascent to Cheesecake
Well, if would have been on my own, I would have turned back and followed the Coire Seasgach. But because we were three guys we decided to give it a try. The next 15 minutes were no fun. The slope was steep, very steep. It was in fact so steep if one of us would have slipped he would have rolled, slid and fallen some hundreds of meters down without any chance of stopping the fall. I was scared and cursed my mates. At one point my left foot slipped and instinctively grabbed a rock with my right hand and my abrasion from the day before burst open again. Arghhh.
the hair-raising descent from Cheesecake
Can you see how steep that hillside is?
But we made it (otherwise you would not read these line) and the slope became less steep with every ten meters and soon I felt relaxed but also exhausted. Next target was the saddle between Beinn Tharsuinn and Bidean where we wanted to refill our bottles in the burn. By now we had no water left. The burn had water and so we drank until we could drink no more and then walked up the slope to Beinn Tharsuinn.
Descent done. Now for the refreshments.
Between Cheesecake and Beinn Tharsuinn
The initial ascent was steep but only 200m then we followed the wide ridge to the top and walked past a very lovely little lochan. By now (19:20) it became obvious that we would not make it back to the tents in daylight but we did not haste and did not linger. We just plodded on.
Lochan on Beinn Tharsuinn
A look back to Cheesecake
The way ahead
At Bealach Bhernais
Meall Mor looms in the back. We've been there a couple of hours ago
Over Beinn Tharsuinn to the Bealach Bhernais. Here we saw another tent but either its owner was already asleep or still walking since we saw no one around. From here the ascent to Sgurr Choinnich was really exhausting. Roughly 350m of ascent on a nice path but without flat sections and so it was just long, very long.
The long and cruel ascent to Sgurr Choinnich
#nofilter sunset on Sgurr Choinnich
Sgurr na Conbhaire - we walked along that ridge 8 hrs ago
Once I reached the top I had to take a break the sunset was just too beautiful to be missed. So instead of using overblown phrases to describe the beauty I’ll just post a few photos.
The large shadow of Sgur Choinnich over Loch Monar
Sun over Sgurr Choinnich
the sun sets behind Liathach
After a while we moved on. The tents were not too far away and instead of crossing Sgurr a’ Chaorachain again we traversed the NW face of the Munro in 900m height and then headed east past the lochan to our tents were we arrived just before it got really dark. Our mate was already waiting for us and had a nice day chilling and exploring the surrounding area. Not long after some spaghetti and tea we quickly went to bed.
Dramatic clouds and moon
Day 4 - Moruisg and the way back
A new morning. Clouds for the first time but no rain
If I remember correctly we even had set the alarm to 7.30 to avoid sleeping long. Still it took some time to have breakfast, pack and get ready for today’s walk. We started and followed the burn An Crom-allt down to the confluence with River Meig then turned left for Glenuaig bothy.
Heading for Glenuaig
A look inside the shelter. Someone must have cycled in from Craig
Good to know...
"Darling, when we will arrive in Auckland?" - "Oh shut up and walk on!"
the shelter itself
Short stop here to have a look at the shelter which looks cosy. From here tried to find the start of the zig-zag path that leads up to Moruisg. Apparently the lower 100m have been washed of but then we found the start and followed the path stoic to its end at 750m. The path makes the ascent rather easy and we arrived quickly at the flat plateau below Moruisg. We scared some deer, left the rucksacks at the saddle below Moruisg and walked up the last 100m to the this year's last Munro. Weather up here was a contrast to what we had in the last couple of days. It was windy and cold with low clouds and from time to time we found ourselves surrounded by fog. Confusingly there are at least 2 cairns on the Munro so when we separated on the race for the Munro two of us went to the SW cairn while the others went to the SE cairn. Because we did not see the other cairn we waited for each other for quite some time until we went looking. I have no idea which cairn is the true summit but it doesn't matter anyway.
Below Moruisg summit
heading for Carn Gorm (not the famous one)
Because of the wind and mist we didn't linger and went back to the rucksacks. From there or way was just a long walk back to the car. We followed the line of hills to the east and reached a hill called Carn Gorm.
A look back to Bealach Bhernais
Following the burn down to River Meig
At this point we decided to descent to River Meig and because of the narrow contour lines of the slope to the south we followed Allt na Criche a nice little burn that flows from the Carn Gorm plateau down to River Meig. That decision was probably not a good idea. The low we came, the thicker the heather became and the peat ditches became annoyingly deeper. We paused at the Allt na criche at 400m and cooled our feet in the cold water. From here the descent down to River Meig was really steep but finally we arrived at the path near the river and looked back. To our surprise the slope up to Meall Doir a’ Bhainne doesn't look steep and would have been the better choice.
A short break to cool...
...the swollen feet.
the burn just before it flows into River Meig
The path along the river is not always clearly visible but still easy to follow. Here for the first time I became a bit melancholic and had the feeling that here and now the our wonderful walking tour in 2017 was almost over. Maybe that was because we hurried along the way, knowing that we were quite late and had a long drive ahead to a nice camp site. When we finally reached the little bridge over River Meig where we had camped the first night I quickly collected our replacement gas stove (because we had bought the wrong gas canisters at Tiso) and stones as souvenirs for my kids which I had collected in the first evening as well.
Closing the circuit....
... we had camped here 4 days ago
Deer in Scardroy
Choices ... but not for us
Flowers along the road
The last 3km back to the car park were longer than expected but finally we arrived and celebrated with a nice beer. What a walk this was. Just great. The longest so far with the best weather I’ve ever seen in Scotland.
Our poor little Volvo was loaded with the 4 rucksacks and 4 smelly walkers. We said Goodbye to Scardroy and drove down the Glen (very scenic btw) to Marybank where our phones burst to life and buzzed because of several new messages (none of them really important after 4 days in the wild). From here we drove to Aviemore and headed straight for the Glenmore campsite which was open and had hot showers.
At Glenmore campsite
Clean, smelling pleasantly with decent clothes we drove back to Aviemore where we tried to get someting to eat at the Winking Owl. But similar to last year the pub was full to the brim so we looked for alternatives. We liked the atmosphere in the Cairngorm hotel but not the food (burgers were quite dry) and so we decided to give the MacDui’s a chance. It was a pleasant evening with local beer (the waitress mentioned with every pint served that it was brewed locally here in Aviemore) nice venison burgers and haggis neep and tatties for starters. Then back to the campsite and to sleep.
Day 5 - A Journey home
The next moring was grey but we had enough time for a short stroll down to Loch Morlich.
Loch Morlich panorama
Thereafter we drove back to Glasgow with 2 stops. First stop was Perth at the Tiso and the second at a Tesco marked to stock-up with crisps, haggis, porridge, Irn-Bru, tea, whisky and other stuff that is hard to get in Germany. Dense traffic, too much lingering and the search for a petrol station near the airport however meant we’d arrive quite late at the check-in with only 1h50m left until departure. We did not sense the problems we had to face, when we tried to drop off our luggage at the Ryanair queue. A nice lady told us we first had to check in. Mhhh, ok. Where can we check in? At the Ryanair desk at the back or online. Alright. So I grabbed my phone, turned on mobile data and tried to check in online (apparently I had only checked in for the outward flight but not for the return flight a week ago because check-in is only possibly 4 days in advance). Much to our surprise we could not check in online because the time till departure was less than 2 hours. Arghhhh! So we headed for the Ryanair desk where we were told by a friendly employee that he can check us in but has to charge 50quid for each passenger. That was actually more than the original price for the flight. Pretty annoyed we paid the 200 quid, went back to luggage drop-off and were sent to oversize luggage. The nice lady took our rucksacks and labelled them but had a problem with mine because this was packed into a protection bag which was too full for being closed. So she made a very tight knot and labelled that bag as well. We then walked through security and spent the last minutes shopping before we flew back home.
On the plane
Kind of a Brocken spectre
Berlin in the background.
After having landed in SXF we collected our rucksack from the belt and had to wait ages until the three rucksacks emerged. Yes, three rucksacks. The fourth which was mine was nowhere to be seen. After all other luggage was finally collected I headed for the lost luggage desk where a friendly chap looked into his computer and told me, that my rucksack was still in Glasgow. Well a rucksack that fitted the description I gave him. So we drove home and after 5 days of waiting my rucksack arrived as well. The delicious bacon I had bought along with the BLT sandwich had to go to the bin but the whisky bottles were still ok.
So this story ends and this year's Scotland walking tour was finally over. We are already looking forward to next year and we will use the cold winter months to find a route to mountains far and remote.
Thanks for reading.