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Affric Kintail: my first hiking experience

Affric Kintail: my first hiking experience

Postby ThijsWa » Sun Jun 18, 2017 6:19 pm

Route description: Affric Kintail Way

Date walked: 08/06/2017

Time taken: 3 days

Distance: 50 km

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So, as the title implies, this was my first hiking experience in Scotland. Or better said, it was my first real hiking experience in my life. As a Dutchman, I'm not really used to 'rough terrain' or mountains. The past couple of years I did climb a few mountains in France and Austria (max. 1,1 km ascent) and I really enjoyed that. This time I wanted a bit more than day trips. A good friend of mine walked the West Highland way three times, and told me good stories about that. We decided to plan a trip to Scotland and soon I found this route on this nice website.

Day 1 - my first steps :):
We left our homes early in the morning to get KLM flight KL923 at 9:40 (local time), from Amsterdam to Inverness. We landed perfectly on time (10:20 local time) in Inverness Airport and took bus 11 to the bus station, downtown Inverness. After we bought some Smidge up (really needed that!), bread and water we took bus 304 (D&E Coaches) to Cannich/Tomich. Yes, thats right: Cannich. We decided to skip the first part of the route from Drumnadrochit to Cannich after we read the not-so-positive stories on this website.

The road from Cannich and the path (going to the right) leading down to Dogg Falls

We started walking around 13:30 and pitched our tents around 19:00 at a perfect location near the path/road. It was just past the peninsula in Loch Beinn 'a Mheadhoin (near NH 249 258, learned a bit about the UK grid system as well!). Apparently, this site was used before because there was a nice fire place made with some stones (also, there aren't many non-boggy places to camp anyway).

Our camp for the first night (just past the peninsula in Loch Beinn 'a Mheadhoin)
Nothing better than having a meal next to a campfire.

Day 2 - midges and hostel:
After we had a good night rest with some rain, we broke up our little camp and tried to enjoy our breakfast. However, the midges enjoyed us as breakfast too. The day before they didn't bother us at all, but that was all different after day one. The rest of the trip they would bother us from time to time. Fortunately, the Smidge up worked fine. However, I forgot a part of my arm and became to regret that deeply :crazy:.

Beautiful meandering river Affric in the sunshine.

The route that followed that day made everything good. It was a lovely, half sunny day that ended up at the Alltbeithe hostel. We pitched our tents near some ruins across the river next to the hostel and we decided to use the facilities of the hostel (12 pounds a day). This was the best decision we made! We had a shower (I’m not so adventurous after all :)) and talked to really nice people from all around the world that evening. Our host Steve was very kind and helpful as well.

The Glen Affric Youth Hostel - SYHA

Our camp next to the hostel (on the other side of the river, next to some ruins)

Day 3 - climb a munro (not a part of the Affric Kintail Way):
One of the things we also wanted to was to climb a munro near the glenn Affric. A path that starts directly behind the hostel leads to one of the higher munro’s in Scotland: Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan. 1151 meter high and according to Wikipedia / Handbook of the Scottish Hills “the fourth most difficult Scottish Munro to climb”. Unfortunately, the weather happened to be no so good, but we decided to give it a go anyway. We discussed our plan to Steve from the hostel and estimated our return time. We started around 11:30 and we would be back before 18:00. This turned out to be a good estimation. However, it wasn’t exactly a walk in the park. Lots of wind and rain when we came above 800 meters. Although I would rather walk in the sun with nice views, it was an interesting experience. The fog made it very mysterious and every new peak came as a surprise (not want to sound naïve by the way. Not sure it was sensible to do it in these weather conditions).
Climbing a munro in fog and rain: quite an experience.

Of course, when we came down from the munro the sun started to shine...

Day 4 – final part to Morvich

After spending 2 nights near the hostel it was time to walk the last part of the Affric Kintail way: from Alltbeithe to Morvich. Our motivation was really good because the weather forecast was good and at the end we would treat ourselves with a cold pint of lager. Indeed, the day started partly sunny. When we started walking it only stayed sunny for half an hour or so. After that it rained all the way to Morvich. The path seemed endless, especially because the rocks were slippery and we needed to walk carefully. Fortunately, the surroundings were stunning. It is definitely the best part of the route with beautiful views, green and rocky mountains, meandering rivers and waterfalls. After we pitched our tents at Morvich Caravan and motorhome Club Site we walked to a restaurant called Jac-o-bite to enjoy a proper meal and some beers.

Beautiful scenery from Alltbeithe to Morvich.

Last few miles through stunning landscapes.

Our tents at the Morvich Caravan and motorhome Club Site

The next day we took the bus to Skye to spend a few days there. All in all I really enjoyed my first hiking experience and I will definitely come back to beautiful Scotland for more!
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Joined: Jun 5, 2017

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