Hiking the Scottish National Trail (part 6): the hardcore Cape Wrath trail

All hiking posts, Cape Wrath Trail, Hiking, Scottish National Trail

Last Autumn I hiked the length of Scotland on the Scottish National Trail. Read part 1, part 2 part 3 , part 4 and part 5.

Day 29: Morvich → Maol-Bhuidhe bothy (23km)

The trail takes us up over a pass to the Falls of Glomach, a mighty 113m high waterfall. We follow a boggy, remote Landrover track to Maol-Bhuidhe bothy (section 30). We’re lucky today: there’s not much rain, so the river separating us from the bothy is an easy paddle. We’d been worried that this bothy would be closed for hunting season, but it’s thankfully open.

A weather warning tells us that 80km p/h winds are forecast the next day, so we have a day off in the recently refurbished bothy. The winds pick up to insane speeds and the river becomes uncrossable. We venture outside only to piss and to collect water from the raging river.

Hiking the Scottish National Trail (part 5): slogging through bogs on the Cape Wrath trail

All hiking posts, Cape Wrath Trail, Hiking, Scotland, Scottish National Trail

Last Autumn I hiked the length of Scotland on the Scottish National Trail. Read part 1, part 2 part 3 and part 4.

Day 24: Fort Augustus -> Mandally (18km)

It is, of course, pouring down when we begin the trail again. The SNT joins the Great Glen Way at section 26, following the Caledonian canal, before turning up into pine forestry at Loch Oich.

We find a lovely camping spot on a mossy track in some forestry, right by the tiny hamlet of Mandally. Here, section 27 of the SNT joins the infamous Cape Wrath Trail. We will now be following the CWT all the way to the top of Scotland. There is no indication that we’re now on the UK’s most difficult hike: the CWT is an unmarked trail, and is only for  experienced hikers.

Hiking the Scottish National Trail (part 4): bothy-hopping in the Cairngorms

All hiking posts, Hiking, Scotland, Scottish National Trail

Last Autumn I hiked the length of Scotland on the Scottish National Trail. Read part 1, part 2 and part 3.

Day 16: Pitlochry → Glen Tilt (15.5km)

Chris has joined me on the SNT, and I will no longer be hiking alone. He has picked the most beautiful area yet to begin his hike (section 20 of the official trail notes), a really lovely walk in the woods along the water’s edge, stopping for rest at the beautiful river bank.

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!”

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.