Scottish National Trail (part 2): canal walking from Edinburgh to Glasgow

All hiking posts, Hiking, Scotland, Scottish National Trail

Last Autumn I hiked the length of Scotland on the Scottish National Trail. See part 1 here.

I take a week off of hiking to go and help shut down an opencast coal mine in the north of England.  By the time I’m back in Scotland, my feet are finally no longer sore!

Day 7: Edinburgh -> near Philipstoun (12km)

I take a train out of the centre of Edinburgh and join the trail at Edinburgh Park station. This is because I want to go to Decathlon to pick up some gear. The irony isn’t lost on me, buying cheap petro-chemical gear to go and hike in nature.

Today marks the first of a few long days of canal walking, following the Union canal and then the Forth and Clyde canal. I’m a bit wary about walking along canals for days. “Where will I camp?” is my main concern, followed by, “it’s going to be so boring!”

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The Scottish National Trail (part 1): the Lowlands

All hiking posts, Hiking, Scotland, Scottish National Trail

I hiked the length of Scotland last Autumn. These Scotland blog posts are dedicated to Old Alan, a Scottish family friend who died after my trip.

“I’m going to hike all of Scotland!” I say suddenly to Chris. “Do you want to come?”

“No…I’ve got lots of work to do…”

“Me too! But I’m going to do it anyway!”

Once I decide to do a hike, there’s no talking me out of it. Chris decides that he will join me “when it gets more exciting in the Highlands”.

Birdwatching in Breizh

Breizh, France

I’m sitting in my friend Corentin’s kitchen, flicking through my guide to Birds of Britain and Europe.

“Puffins! I want to see puffins!” I say.

Experiences in Palestine

Anarchism & Activism, Palestine

It’s night in the city of Hebron. Tear gas lingers in the air and my eyes sting. Hidden behind a curtain, I peer down at the group of soldiers. One looks up, scanning the windows. I quickly hide. Did he see me? He turns away.

The soldiers move a few steps, and then crouch down at a street corner. They wait, with their rifles ready to fire at people.

Hiking in the Annapurna range, Nepal

All hiking posts, Annapurna Base Camp/Annapurna Sanctuary, Hiking, Khopra Danda, Nepal, Mahare Danda, Nepal, Nepal

I hiked in Nepal’s Annapurna range, combining three routes – Mohare Danda, Khopra Danda, and the Annapurna Base Camp – to make one two-week trek. Below I talk about my experiences & include information about costs and time taken for other hikers to make use of. I include information about whether there is phone signal/electricity so that hikers have peace of mind. I hiked in February/March 2018 (ooops – it took me a long while to publish this!!).

Hiking the Cape to Cape Trail, Australia

All hiking posts, Australia, Cape to Cape, Australia, Hiking

The Cape to Cape is a week-long 135km hike on the south-west coast of Australia.

The trail is really stunning. We hike over cliff tops (take sun cream!) with spectacular views of the turquoise sea. We walk through native forest, up and down sand dunes and along beaches. We pass stunning rock formations and hop over terrifying blowholes. We walk past a memorial for dead surfers, and then watch surfers tackling massive waves.

The Cape to Cape is an exhausting slog. Although not a technically difficult trail in any way, every step is through sand. Even when you’re not walking on the beach, you’re walking on sand. A week of hiking on this terrain is difficult! I think, “this is more exhausting than the Larapinta Trail!” a number of times.

Hitchhiking Australia: some tips

Australia, Hitchhiking

Hitchhiking Australia is pretty easy and is a really memorable experience. Our waiting times ranged from a couple of minutes to 24 hours!

Many Australians are some of the open, friendliest people we’ve met in the world, so if you’re hitchhiking, expect to be invited in and welcomed wherever you go. And it’s not just drivers who host you. We met people in supermarkets, on local transport, and on the street, who invited us into their homes. And these people contacted their friends in other towns, telling them to host us, so we experienced hospitality everywhere.

It’s about the people you meet: Hitchhiking Western Australia (part 2)

Australia, Hitchhiking

The best rides are worth waiting for. After my longest wait in ten years of hitchhiking, we meet Joel, Bekk and Tillie the dog at a roadhouse in the north west of Australia.

They’re from the east coast, and they’ve quit their jobs and bought a van. They’ve taken a similar route to us, all the way from the east.

Gone are debates about racism, politics and animal rights. We’ve met our kindred travelling spirits!

The longest wait: hitchhiking Western Australia (part 1)

Australia, Hitchhiking

“WHY WON’T YOU LET ME SPEAK???” I scream at Gus – our driver – as we hitchhike through the far north of Western Australia. Gus has been yelling at me for the last five minutes.

Gus, like a number of people who give us lifts in Australia, turns out to be a massive racist. He’s a doctor in an Aboriginal town, and he is one angry man. “I thought I could help Aboriginal people because I’m black, because I’m from Zimbabwe,” he says. “But they don’t want to help themselves.”

He goes on a racist rant, not letting us speak. The final straw comes when he spouts government propaganda: “they’re abusing their kids. Sexual abuse is everywhere.”

I start screaming at him that the best thing he can do is to leave the community that he says he’s “helping”. He yells abuse back at me.

Reflections on hiking the Larapinta Trail

All hiking posts, Australia, Hiking, Larapinta Trail, Australia

Having completed the Larapinta Trail, I thought I would write about my opinion of it, and add something about the logistics of organising the hike. Read my day-by-day account of the trail here.

Wow! What a hike! The Larapinta Trail can’t be faulted in any way and is one of my favourite ever hikes. Everything about the trail is well organised, from the website, trail notes and really amazing maps (you buy the maps and trail notes as a package), to the campsites and water tanks. The trail is well waymarked, so it’s very difficult to get lost.