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Two ticks off my bucket list…Chasing my dreams.

Two ticks off my bucket list…Chasing my dreams.


Postby mountainstar » Thu Oct 29, 2015 11:05 am

Date walked: 03/10/2015

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And so it came to pass that I found myself with 18 days to play with on a trip north starting on the 3rd October 2015.
But the best of plans during October in the Highlands can be shredded in an instant, so I had many options, but Bothy’s were featured in all of those plans, rain or shine I love a Bothy night.
All I could do was pray for the Gods to produce a weather miracle. :roll:
We travelled from Wales on the Saturday morning and headed for a posh hotel in Ballachuilish. (My wife Ele was with me for the 1st week, hence the luxury :roll: ) That night we met some friends in the Clachaig Inn, a Saturday in the boots bar is always a good start to a holiday. :D

ImageGlencoe by Alan, on Flickr
Glencoe

A scramble up Curved Ridge on Buichaille Etive Mor followed the next day with said friends.

ImageCurved Ridge (8) by Alan, on Flickr

ImageCurved Ridge (7) by Alan, on Flickr

ImageBuichaille Etive Mor view by Alan, on Flickr

We then headed to Fort William for more relative luxury on the Sunday and Monday nights.
With rain due Sunday afternoon, (It did) a walk to Glesulaig Bothy passed away a few hours before the rain set in. Glesulaig is a non-MBA Bothy west of Fassfern on the Mallaig road, a new hydro scheme road made the walking easy, once there I was pleasantly surprised to see it had been much improved since I was last there in May 2010.

ImageGlen Sulaig Bothy (6) by Alan, on Flickr

The forecast for the next few days was mixed, but in the main any rain was falling through the night.
Tuesday we left Fort William and headed for Skye, it remained cloudy with patchy rain for much of the journey.
I wanted to visit the new Camasunary Bothy; a day walk to visit this would fit nicely into our drive to Carbost bunkhouse where we would be stopping that night.
We drove down the Elgol road to Kilmary where Ele left me; she would drive around to Sligachan where I would meet her later. On cue just as she left me the rain stopped, and by the time I reached Camasunary the dark clouds were slipping north over the Cuillin’s and the sun shone on Camasunary Bay. It was still locked, the recent work-party had not yet finished the inside, so a peak through the windows was all I had of a smart looking interior, sadly no stove or fireplace will be installed for the cold winter night ahead. :(

ImageCamasunary (The new Bothy) (2) by Alan, on Flickr

I continued to Sligachan along the excellent path that passes through a dramatic Glen surrounded by high craggy peaks where I met my awaiting taxi.
Again the rain set in that evening, but it cleared during the night. We awoke to a wonderful sunrise from the bunkhouse which sits on the shore of Loch Harport. :D

ImageLoch Harport, Carbost. Sunrise (4) by Alan, on Flickr

We had pre-booked a single room for Ele in a hotel in Broadford for Wed night, while I would head for Ollisdale Bothy for the night.
It was a glorious day, warm and sunny. We did a couple of walks to some lovely places, Coral beaches, north of Dunvegan, and the lighthouse at Neist Point.

ImageCoral Beaches, (4) by Alan, on Flickr

ImageNeist Point (5) by Alan, on Flickr

Near to Neist Point a minor road runs south down the coast to the farm at Ramasaig, which is the easies route to the Bothy. Ele dropped me off here where I picked up a path that continues down the coast above some dramatic sea cliffs to Ollisdale, the last mile or so is pathless and rough going.
Ollisdale is a lovely little Bothy set high above the coast. That evening I watched another stunning sunset sink behind the Outer Hebrides. :D

ImageSunset from Ollisdale Bothy (3) by Alan, on Flickr

ImageSunset from Ollisdale Bothy (1) by Alan, on Flickr

I though I was in for a quiet night by myself but just as it was getting dark 3 Germans turned up, they were nice people but not the best of company, as they spoke in German to each other most of the evening. :?
I was up at 7am, and away before 8am, leaving the Germans fast asleep in their bags. My route out today took me over Healabhal Mhor (Macleod’s Table North) a pathless rough route to the 469 meter summit, from there a path makes for easier going down to Osdale Cottage where I had arranged to Ele.

ImageWalk from Ollisdale out over MacCleods Table south (5) by Alan, on Flickr

Thurs night took us to Plockton station bunkhouse. Plockton is an absolute gem, set in a sheltered bay with palm trees lining the pretty harbour. A little known fact is that the late great W A Wainwight used to come here on his holidays, a fact that speaks volumes. My mate Martin met us there in the evening having travelled up from Wales that day.
The next day we said goodbye to Ele who was fulfilling one of her ambitions to take the train from Kyle of Lochalsh back home. (Via a stop-over in Pitlochry overnight) :clap:
It was Bothy bound for me and Martin, that night we drove around to Toscaig (Applecross) and set off down the coast for Uags Bothy.
Again a much improved Bothy since I was last there in March 2003. The views to Skye and Raasay from here are spectacular, but it remained cloudy with patchy rain for much of our stay, so we never saw it in its best light.

ImageUags Bothy (4) by Alan, on Flickr

ImageUags Bothy (7) by Alan, on Flickr

We decided that Torridon hostel would be a good place to stop on the Saturday night for a bit of luxury, as well as the added bonus of watching Wales v Australia (Rugby World Cup) and a beer festival in the Torridon Inn. Both great events, except that Wales lost :( (But still went through to the quarter finals :D )
Sunday night was Bothy time again, Craig Bothy fitted in well with our plans being just up the coast north of Torridon, with time to spare we climbed a mountain called Tom na Grugagaich (922m) from the high pass on our drive to Diabeg, where the walk to the Bothy starts. The day stayed mainly cloudy and again rain fell during the night. With our coal and the driftwood we collected from the beach we had a cracking night by the fire. 8)

ImageCraig Bothy (2) by Alan, on Flickr

Martin was up early at 6am for the walk out before heading home to Wales, he really enjoyed his short break vowing he would be back soon. With a more leisurely drive ahead for me I was up 30 minutes later, soon following him in the semi-darkness back along the coastal path to Diabeg, the overnight rain had stopped for the walk out, and improved dramatically as I drove north. The forecast for the coming week was fine settled weather as a big high settled over northern Scotland. :D
I had decided to wild-camp somewhere around Achiltibuie that night, after a supply stop in Ullapool I drove to Achnahaird Bay, on the north coast just off the road to Achiltibuie, a place I had remembered would be a good spot to camp when visiting some years ago.
It is a cracking place to camp, my tent right next to the car, a golden beach 5 minutes away, and great views to the nearby Assynt Mountains eastward. I was rewarded with blue skies, a rainbow (After one brief shower) and a stunning sunrise the next day. :D

ImageAchnahaird Bay (4) by Alan, on Flickr

ImageAchnahaird Bay (1) by Alan, on Flickr

ImageAchnahaird Bay, sunrise (3) by Alan, on Flickr

One of the summits in view to the north east from there is Suilven, a magnificent mountain, not particularly lofty, but as dramatic as any high Munro. A summit camp on Suilven had been on my bucket list for years, but the weather had never been quite right, so although I had climbed it several times and stopped in Suileag Bothy (which is in its shadow) the high camp had always eluded me…but not this time…that day had finally come. :D
I was not to be disappointed; the toil of carrying all the camping gear up high was well worth the effort, fantastic views finished off with a spectacular sunset and sunrise. An experience that I will never forget, I felt like I was the luckiest man in the World. :D

The full report with more pictures can be seen here...
http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=57605

And the video here...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gldj7BHZPzg
ImageSuileag Bothy (5) by Alan, on Flickr

ImageSuilven East peak by Alan, on Flickr

ImageSuilven West summit camp by Alan, on Flickr

ImageSuilven, view to Skye at sunset (2) by Alan, on Flickr

ImageSuilven, dusk. by Alan, on Flickr

ImageSuilven sunrise (7) by Alan, on Flickr

ImageSuilven sunrise (3) by Alan, on Flickr

ImageSuilven sunrise (2) by Alan, on Flickr

ImageSuilven sunrise (5) by Alan, on Flickr

ImageSuilven sunrise (6) by Alan, on Flickr

My road trip took me further north to Durness the next day. I camped at Sango Sands campsite that night, set in a pretty spectacular spot, perched above the cliffs with golden beaches and the sea below.
All week the forecast was for some rain coming in on Thursday, at the 11 hour they now said it was staying put in the Atlantic, instead I had another glorious sunrise on the Thursday morning, my luck was definitely in!

ImageDurness Sunrise (2) by Alan, on Flickr

I’ve done a fair few Bothy’s, in fact I was one off bagging all of the Highland’s and Island Bothys, just Lochstrathy Bothy (Croft House) had eluded me, a very remote Bothy towards the north east of Scotland with a 12 mile walk thrown in for good measure. It was time to tick another box in my bucket list! :D
A lovely drive along the north coast got me to the village of Strathy, from there a good track leads southward past a new wind farm complex and through forest plantations. Just short of the Bothy I met a river with no bridge, it was too deep to cross with my trainers on, therefore a refreshing way of cooling down the feet was the order. I finally reaching my ultimate Highland Bothy in around 3.30hrs.

ImageLochstrathy Bothy sunset by Alan, on Flickr

A beer or two were raised by the fire that night to celebrate my completion. :clap:

ImageLochstrathy Bothy (9) by Alan, on Flickr

Up early again at 7am to a frost, so it was a very chilly paddle across the river. :shock: After the long walk out it was time to head southwards as I had a date with a group of vagabonds on the Saturday night…I had been invited to the 50th Anniversary MBA AGM in Newtonmore. With a night to play with before that I decided to stop in Red Bothy, up a Glen west of Carrbridge. The sun was still on my side as I travelled south, I stopped to re-supply in Inverness, back on the A9 and then up the Glen to park up, a further 90 minutes of walking got me at the Bothy just as the sun was setting.
Red Bothy is a non-MBA Bothy, it’s a large wooden structure with a stone wall around the fireplace gable end, Oh…and it has a red roof!

ImageRed Bothy, sunset by Alan, on Flickr

ImageRed Bothy, starry night (2) by Alan, on Flickr

That night was by far the coldest so far, only 2C degrees inside and around -5C outside, a white frost greeted me in the morning.

ImageRed Bothy, Frosty morning (3) by Alan, on Flickr

As the sun rose on my walk out it soon warmed up again.
I had plenty of time for a much needed shower and a beer in Aviemore, and then off to Newtonmore for the night.
It was good to meet Andy Meyhew (MBA Newsletter editor who had invited me) and many more MBA related people I had heard of. We had a great night with many beers sunk. Although “Great” is not a word I can use for the amount of sleep I had! :shock: :wtf:
So after a couple of hours sleep, I left the walking zombies :lol: and headed to North Berwick, east of Edinburgh for a night with my good friend Alan Ross. With a few hours to spare I had time to visit another non MBA Bothy near Dunkeld, one I had not visited before but thought I knew where it was…it turned out I didn’t! I was annoyed at missed out on this one having walked about 5 miles searching for it. I later found out where is actually was…just about 1 mile further on from where I thought it was. :(
Back on the road to North Berwick…I texted Alan Ross that my ETA would be about 4pm, but finally arrived at 5.30pm due to me stopping for a “power nap” which lasted 90 minutes …the lack of sleep the night before had caught up with me! :roll:
I had a great welcome from Alan and his wife Lesley…and a lovely bed for a change! :D
Sadly it was time to leave Scotland, but I still had one night before I was to head home. I still had 3 more MBA Bothys to visit in England, today would be an ideal time to visit one and stop-over in the other later.
I popped into Roughside Bothy on my way down south, it’s an easy 15 minute walk from the road end. I was pleasantly surprised on how good the Bothy was looking, having had bad reports of misuse and vandalism. I met a local man there who was regularly visiting to tidy up and do some odd jobs.

ImageRoughside Bothy (5) by Alan, on Flickr

Back to the car I drove to the Lake District, parked up by the shore of Buttermere and headed uphill for Warnscale head Bothy. This is a small rustic stone Bothy, one I must have passed without seeing many times on my wanderings fell walking around this area. It has a fantastic view down to Buttermere.

ImageWarnscale Head Bothy (4) by Alan, on Flickr

With about an hour of daylight left I had time to walk to see the recently revamped Dub’s Hut Bothy which is a short walk away. Recently taken over by the MBA it’s undergone an excellent transformation from the grim shelter that it used to be.

ImageDubs Hut Bothy (4) by Alan, on Flickr

Again this one does not boast a fireplace so I was glad to get back to Warnscale Head in the semi-darkness to light my fire for the evening. :D

ImageWarnscale Head Bothy (6) by Alan, on Flickr

My luck was finally out with the weather in England, cloud and patchy rain had set in for the night, it remained cloudy as I left early the next morning back down to my car.
That was it then, time to head home. I’d had the time of my life, 2 ticks off the Bucket list, and some great adventures in some of the best autumn weather imaginable. :D
The weather Gods were definitely on my side. :thumbup:
Hallelujah! & Amen! :angel:

Some facts and figures on my Bothy adventures to date (as of Oct 2015):
There are 100 MBA Bothy’s in Great Britain (Including the upcoming new Cae Amos Bothy in Wales, which I am counting as I have stopped here on a work party)
I have stopped over in 85 of them and visited a further 12 on day walks.
Many of them I have stopped in several times: Top of the list is Sourlies (9) then Dulyn (8) then Peanmeanach and Arenig Fawr (Both 7) plus varying amounts in the others.
There are numerous non-MBA Bothys. I have stopped in 15 and visited another 4.
Barrisdale is my most visited and slept in non MBA Bothy: 5 visits, 5stopovers. It was also the first non MBA Bothy I stayed at in March 1996, when I recall seeing the Comet Hale–Bopp in the night sky on that trip from Barrisdale to Inverie via the Knoydart Munro’s.
My first MBA Bothy stop-over was Culra in August 1993, then used as a night’s base to bag the 6 Munro’s nearby over 2 days.
I’ve spent a total of 184 nights in Bothy’s.
I still have 3 to visit: Greg’s Hut in England, Clennoch & Tunskeen in Southern Scotland, this WILL be put right in the near future.
I am often asked which is my favourite Bothy: I always say Peammeanach, it has a lovely scenic walk in, set in a wonderful bay with a pebble and sand beach, and it brings back great memories of nights with good friends (and a few by myself)

ImagePeanmaenmach by Alan, on Flickr

ImagePeanmeanach Bothy (20) by Alan, on Flickr

ImagePeanmeanach Bothy Bay Sunset by Alan, on Flickr

On the flip side my least favourite one to stop in was Carnmore Stable, a rough shelter with an uneven stone and earth floor, but in one of my favourite backpacking area’s surrounded by an amphitheatre of dramatic mountains and Lochs. I spent an unplanned night here due to my tent being battered by gale force wind whilst wild-camping by Fionn Loch. Wind whistled through the gaps in the walls and door, and the tin sheeting roof sounded as if a freight train was passing over in the gusts, I didn’t get much sleep that night! But in retrospect a good experience all the same. :crazy:

ImageCarnmore Stable Bothy by Alan, on Flickr

ImageCarnmore Stable Bothy (2) by Alan, on Flickr

Here’s to many more Bothy adventures in the future...Death Gods willing! :twisted: :shock: :D
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mountainstar
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Re: Two ticks off my bucket list…Chasing my dreams.

Postby dogplodder » Thu Oct 29, 2015 11:30 am

What fabulous photos and well done on visiting all those bothies which makes an interesting variation on ticking off hills climbed! :D
Last edited by dogplodder on Thu Oct 29, 2015 11:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Two ticks off my bucket list…Chasing my dreams.

Postby mountainstar » Thu Oct 29, 2015 11:35 am

dogplodder wrote:What fabulous photos and well done on visiting all the bothies which makes an interesting variation on ticking off hills climbed! :D

Got the Tshirt on ticking mountains, want one for Bothy's now!
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Re: Two ticks off my bucket list…Chasing my dreams.

Postby Mountainlove » Thu Oct 29, 2015 4:35 pm

Oh wow the photos are amazing!!! And a great report on top of it!! Its a lovely idea to visit all the bothys. What a fabulous holiday you had!!
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Re: Two ticks off my bucket list…Chasing my dreams.

Postby mountainstar » Thu Oct 29, 2015 5:33 pm

Mountainlove wrote:Oh wow the photos are amazing!!! And a great report on top of it!! Its a lovely idea to visit all the bothys. What a fabulous holiday you had!!

Thanks, I was very lucky.
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Re: Two ticks off my bucket list…Chasing my dreams.

Postby jamesb63 » Thu Oct 29, 2015 6:30 pm

Looks like you really hit it lucky with the weather 8) !and the pics are brilliant
all in all a great report :clap: :clap:
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Re: Two ticks off my bucket list…Chasing my dreams.

Postby Scotjamie » Thu Oct 29, 2015 7:41 pm

Brilliant Mr B!
Great pics and report.
Lesley and I were delighted to host you that night.
Just wish I could have joined you for more...... see you in November
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Re: Two ticks off my bucket list…Chasing my dreams.

Postby mountainstar » Thu Oct 29, 2015 11:33 pm

jamesb63 wrote:Looks like you really hit it lucky with the weather 8) !and the pics are brilliant
all in all a great report :clap: :clap:

Thank you, very lucky. :D
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Re: Two ticks off my bucket list…Chasing my dreams.

Postby mountainstar » Thu Oct 29, 2015 11:39 pm

Scotjamie wrote:Brilliant Mr B!
Great pics and report.
Lesley and I were delighted to host you that night.
Just wish I could have joined you for more...... see you in November

Thanks Alan (and Lesley) It was great to see you and meet you're lovely wife.
Aye roll on November and Gorton :D
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Re: Two ticks off my bucket list…Chasing my dreams.

Postby dooterbang » Thu Oct 29, 2015 11:40 pm

Wonderful stuff. Thats defo my kind of long trip away. A bit of everything thrown in, even some luxury :) . I just love that photo on the summit of Suilven with your arms in the air. I think many of us have been in that position and can relate to the emotions going on. Big happy grin, at one with nature, enjoying the challenges , and in awe of the surroundings. Magical :D
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Re: Two ticks off my bucket list…Chasing my dreams.

Postby mountainstar » Fri Oct 30, 2015 10:02 am

dooterbang wrote:Wonderful stuff. Thats defo my kind of long trip away. A bit of everything thrown in, even some luxury :) . I just love that photo on the summit of Suilven with your arms in the air. I think many of us have been in that position and can relate to the emotions going on. Big happy grin, at one with nature, enjoying the challenges , and in awe of the surroundings. Magical :D

When you do it, you understand it! :D
Thanks Paul...one who undertands. 8)
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Re: Two ticks off my bucket list…Chasing my dreams.

Postby The Rodmiester » Fri Oct 30, 2015 10:16 am

Wonderful wonderful stuff, stunning pictures and those sunrise photographs what can I say :D :D What a lifetime experience never to be forgotten, absolutely superb :clap: :clap: :D
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Re: Two ticks off my bucket list…Chasing my dreams.

Postby mountainstar » Fri Oct 30, 2015 10:19 am

The Rodmiester wrote:Wonderful wonderful stuff, stunning pictures and those sunrise photographs what can I say :D :D What a lifetime experience never to be forgotten, absolutely superb :clap: :clap: :D

I love a sunrise (and set) picture, the magic time of day. 8)
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Re: Two ticks off my bucket list…Chasing my dreams.

Postby Mal Grey » Fri Oct 30, 2015 2:32 pm

What a trip! Bothytastic!

Really enjoyed reading that, many thanks for sharing, and including much useful information, but not TOO much, if you know what I mean (so I get to enjoy hunting over the OS maps looking for the exact locations, which I've just been doing).
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Re: Two ticks off my bucket list…Chasing my dreams.

Postby mountainstar » Fri Oct 30, 2015 4:44 pm

Mal Grey wrote:What a trip! Bothytastic!

Really enjoyed reading that, many thanks for sharing, and including much useful information, but not TOO much, if you know what I mean (so I get to enjoy hunting over the OS maps looking for the exact locations, which I've just been doing).

Thanks, and yes always a difficult one on info.
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