Tuesday 27 December 2022

Big Walk Dreaming

Winter may seem a fallow season for outdoor adventures, but it is the season when seeds are planted, when dreams of future expeditions take shape. Reading Alex Roddie's The Farthest Shore recently rekindled my own plans and awoke a hunger I forgot I possessed.

Ardnamurchan Point:

Alex's book is the story of the Cape Wrath Trail (CWT), except he starts at Ardnamurchan Point instead of Fort William. Wait a minute, that's where I started when I did a similar route! Mine was in 1996, before the CWT existed as a concept, and I wanted a grand walk linking the westernmost point of the mainland, Ardnamurchan, with the north-westernmost: Cape Wrath. I wouldn't stick strictly to the coast but would take the most sensible line between the two points. 

Some parts were a revelation. Ardnamurchan itself, which I had never visited, is beautiful. Cape Wrath was a suitably awe-inspiring climax to the walk. And in between, the spacious backcountry around Maol Buidhe bothy proved a highlight.

Leaving Ardnamurchan, 1996:

It would be good to return and do a couple of bits I missed out back in 1996. I missed out the whole section from Inchnadamph to Kinlochbervie, having given up and gone home in terrible weather, to return only for the last couple of days of the walk to Cape Wrath. It would be good too to walk through Knoydart, which I skirted by going from Corryhully to Kinbreck bothy then out to the Cluanie Inn, then cheating a bit by taking a lift down the A87 to Invershiel before continuing. 

But that's not all! There's so many walks I'd like to do. The MacPhies of Colonsay, planned for 2022 but postponed through illness. My idea of the Grampian coast to coast, following a fault line from Knapdale to the Findhorn via the Buachaille. Large sections of the British coast. Once you start dreaming there is no end! 

But perhaps it is enough to achieve something more modest. Such as a weekend away, which I've just realised I haven't managed all year! My own hillwalking book, after all, is called The Weekend Fix. Hopefully in 2023 I will get a few more of them.


blueskyscotland said...

That's the only problem with a long multi day hike in Scotland is the weather. Beautiful one day, utterly grim and miserable the next. It's why i always liked backpacking in European mountain areas as the weather was warmer, less rain, and more reliable. It's fairly rare to get all day cloudless blue skies in the Scottish Highlands so even a week without any rain or mist over the hills is a bonus.

Robert Craig said...

It's why your blog on following the sun around Scotland is such a great idea!