Friday, 3 June 2016

Highlands, May 2016 part 2

Well, I finally give up trying to post to my blog on the move. None of the available apps allow easy posting of pics from my new, shiny, android phone and I keep getting the fuppin' text centreing on the page; aaargh! So, eventually, after much cussing, I decide to leave it until I get home.

It's Friday. Me an' little choccy paws are off up the track from the western end of Loch Rannoch to meet Chrissie and Pebbles on their return from the haunted cottage. After around 3 miles we see them approaching. Spot Islay in the first pic.

The walk back's pleasant but we both have slightly sore feet from lots of hard track pounding (it was hard for most of Schiehallion too). See here for the tale of Chrissie and Pebbles' little trip.

We return to Kilvrecht campsite for another peaceful night and showers in our van. The shower in our camper is brill!

Now, Saturday,  we're in sleazy Fort William. We restock from Lidl and have lunch in the McDonald's with surely the best view in the UK (from a McDonald's, that is).

Checking the forecast I stick with my plan to backpack on Monday, through to Wednesday. My route's Spean Bridge to Kinlochleven. I'm taking 3 days, mainly out of consideration for the youth of my little lab, who's had only one night in the tent prior to this.

Back to tonight, and we park up, above the Caledonian Canal, with a fab view of Aonach Mor, Carn Mor Dearg and Ben Nevis.

Now Sunday, we take a wander alongside the Caledonian Canal. Returning, I set to sorting my rucsac for our trip tomorrow. What with all my pup's food, bed and coat the load's massive. Good training for Arctic Sweden, where we'll carry 8 days' provisions.

It's Monday. Islay and I are off. We follow a track over the pass to the Leacach bothy.

The weather is just unbelievable. I perform a textbook river crossing, swapping my boots for mesh running shoes. Islay follows me through the knee deep water. Stopping a little way up the track to replace my boots I look down ... to see the bridge ... hidden from view at the bothy. I do manage a smile.

We carry on. Islay now riding point, out front, now behind, at my heels.

The track eventually leads us down into the valley of the Abhaihn Rath and the location of Meanach bothy. We pitch our shelter on flat, dry ground not far from the building and relax. I lounge on my Thermarest chair, drink continuous coffee and graze on snacks. Islay lies on her new Noble Camper bed and guzzles Bonios. In the sun, the afternoon is glorious.

In the morning, after the laziest of breakfasts, we're off again. Down the valley we go, towards Loch Treig, passing by Staoineag bothy, on the far bank of the river.

We follow the track east, along the shore of the loch. Then it's south-west up Gleann Iolairean, the valley of the eagles. We arrive at Loch Chiarain in afternoon sun ... again. Here, once more outside a bothy, we pitch our shelter and befriend a fellow backpacker; a Scot, well into his 70s. He's a plucky chap, travelling with no clear route. Turning this way and that as the whim takes him. I admire his carefree attitude.

For the last day of our backpack we rise ... to sun. We are blessed. Our route takes us to Blackwater reservoir then down the steep sided valley of the River Leven to Kinlochleven. Chrissie and Pebbles meet us along the way.

We're off now, on the road to the Camping & Caravanning Club's Glencoe site where we spend a couple of nights ... just chillin'.

Next stop, north for a backpack into Knoydart.


  1. Poptabulous... The dog seemed to enjoy the trip..

    1. She did indeed Mike. Becoming a proper little adventure dog.

  2. A fantastic area that. Have wandered around there both summer and winter. What a blessing to have such glorious weather too. Another hill going dog in the making. Brilliant photos too.

    1. Thanks Dawn. It was so beautiful, especially in the sunshine. I'm very pleased with Islay's spirit and performance.

  3. Great trip, Geoff. Love the pics of little Islay where she has her nose in the camera lense :-)

    1. Cheers David. She really did enjoy herself.


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