walkhighlands

Very Quite East Highland Way

Date walked: 11/03/2018

Time taken: 4 days

Distance: 139km

Hi everyone, I had planned to walk the EHW the week of the 5th of March 2018 but due to the 'beast from the east' my train from London to Glasgow was only going as far as Carlisle. After a bit of planning I re-scheduled for the following weekend.

Heading up this week later proved to be a great idea as there was a fair bit of snow around still which was beautiful and no one else seemed to be on the trail.

Day 0 - London to Fort William
I arrived in Fort William just after 17:00 and checked into the Fort William Backpackers where I would be spending a few hours before departing early the next morning. If anyone is looking for accommodation in Fort William I can highly recommend the fort William Backpackers, super friendly staff, lots of hikers and climbers make it a great sport for meeting likeminded people and swapping stories.

Day 1 - Fort William to Corrour Forest (outside Fersit) - 42 km
I set off at around 5:40 as I wanted to take the day a little slower than usual and easy myself into the trail. It was a very cold and drizzling but despite this the sunrise and lack of people around me made it all worth the effort. The days walking is nothing spectacular by Scottish standards but is nevertheless very enjoyable. The 'no path section' along the Spean River is very easily navigated, just keep following the river until you reach a burn crossing. Immediately after the burn crossing you will see a way marker and a swing gate which is rather re-assuring.

Once I reached Fersit I started to look for a place to camp for the night, due to the snow as well as water logged ground this task proved rather difficult. I eventually found a spot of semi-dry grass just into the Corrour Forest where I pitched for the evening.

Day 2 - Corrour Forest to Strathmashie (Just after) - 35 km
The start of the second day through the Corrour Forest could be absolutely spectacular if not for the large scale deforestation, I'm aware that this is monitored and as environmentally friendly as possibly but it does feel like your trudging along wanting to get through it. Once I reached Loch Laggan things started to open up, looking over the loch at a snow capped Creag Meagaidh made the previous few miles seem like a thing of the distant past. I stopped at Pattack Falls for a cuppa and then got back on the trail. Pattack Falls is a really nice spot to stop for lunch, a quick coffee or just a little break, I can imagine it would be lovely in the summer months.

Deciding to stop for the evening I realised I was not in an idea area for wild camping and eventually had to pitch just off what seemed to be a quite forestry track. There were much more suitable places before and after this spot but it came down to poor planning on my part.

Day 3 - Strathmashie to Kingussie - 32 km
An early morning start along the Spey River was a great way to start the day. The road section between Laggan and Balgowan can be rather busy but drivers seem to be rather considerate of hikers. Whilst heading out of Balgowan towards Glen Banchor across the moorlands I bumped into a local Crofter whose name now escapes me. I'm not sure of the validity of his store but he mentioned that he met Kevin Langan whilst he was planning the EHW and recommended the section through Glen Banchor as an alternative to the A86. Glen Banchor was absolutely stunning, made even more magnificent by the rather dense snow cover. I highly recommend doing the section as a day hike or part of the EHW. Dalnashallag Bothy is also well worth stopping off at, it seems very well kept and has amazing views.

I landed up staying at the Star Hotel in Kingussie that evening. I would have preferred to have wild camped but the area was not very conducive and hiking further that day was out of the question. That said it gave me a great opportunity to dry off my gear.

Day 4 - Kingussie to Aviemore - 30 km
Leaving Kingussie early I headed towards the Inish Marshes along the Badenoch Way, if you’re a bird watcher the whole area is an absolute treat and is well worth a day visit if in the area. I stopped on the shores of Loch Inish for a coffee as well as take in the stunning views. The Loch side Trail is very well maintained and again is well worth visiting if in the area. The rest of the days walking into Aviemore is very relaxed as very scenic, a lovely way to end the trail.

I spent the final evening at the Aviemore Youth Hostel. The hostel is very well located, clean and well suited to outdoor enthusiasts. The next morning I started the long trip back down to the south of England.

Conclusion
Total Distance: 139 Km (according to my Garmin 630)
The EHW is definitely a trail worth doing in my opinion, It seems to still be a relatively crowd free. Some sections along roads and through forestry areas area not very scenic but this is overshadowed by the sections of absolute beauty.

Happy hiking!

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mylesmcs


User avatar
Location: Sussex, United Kingdom
Occupation: Data Centre Support Team Leader -
Activity: Backpacker
Gear: Osprey Exos 48
Ambition: Hiking the AT/PCT/CDT/E1

Sub 2000: 1
Long Distance routes: West Highland Way    East Highland Way   



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2018

Trips: 1
Distance: 139 km


Joined: Dec 08, 2017
Last visited: May 20, 2018
Total posts: 7 | Search posts