Sunday, April 27, 2014

A few trip photos (2/2)

Second set of photos ... This is near the top of Lairig Ghru, around 835m.  I also saw 3 Ptarmigans up there, in the process of changing plumage from white to brown.

Lairig Ghru

A tired walker, further down Lairig Ghru

Continuing further down Lairig Ghru on the south side.  Easy route finding:  After that big hill on the left, turn left :-) ... near the Corrour Bothy (Scottish mountain shelter/hut).

Last decent descent, from Cappel Road into Glen Clova.  Unfortunately, after that it was all ...

... road walking, Glen Clova. Not very interesting anymore. After Kirriemuir it was just boring road walking.  That part is not worth the time it takes, IMHO.

Final Destination reached:  The beach in Montrose!

After Montrose, I spent a couple of days in Edinburgh with blue skies and no rain, really nice.  This here is the Scottish parliament building, an interesting building.

Victoria Terrace in Edinburgh.

That's all!! :-)

A few trip photos (1/2)

Back in Switzerland and the trip already seems well in the past after a first week at work. Here are a few photos, finally.

Starting on the West Coast of Scotland, in Poolewe.  In the first half an hour of walking had already sunshine and rain :-)

Typical West Coast forest - very wet with plenty of moss.

Walking along Loch Maree, behind the mountain range directly along the lake though. All heather, all wet.

Crossing a little saddle to get back to Loch Maree, and view to the NW.

In the Balnafoich Forest.

Along the River Findhorn. While it looks rather pleasant, that day it was very windy.  On the hills I had just crossed, the wind was reported to be 50 mph with gusts of up to 80mph.

In the forests to the East of Aviemore

Coffee break just short of Aviemore

Entering the Lairig Ghru from Aviemore through the Cairngorms to Braemar.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Arrived in Montrose!

I arrived in Montrose today, again lucky with the weather, but suffering a bit from a cold. Update and route report to follow. I'll stay in Montrose for 2 nights and in the meantime will figure out what to do with the remaining time and hopefully get rid of that cold.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Continuing from Aviemore tomorrow

The walk from Inverness to Aviemore went fine. Although it was mostly dry, it was extremely windy and I was glad to have my hiking poles when on the hills. Saturday and Sunday, the forecast wind was about 50mph with gusts up to 80... Leaving Inverness was a couple of hours of road walking, followed by a bit of logged forest (sad sight), followed by exposed hills before descending into Strathdearn, the valley of the River Findhorn. As it was so very windy, I decided to push on eastwards in the hope of finding some accommodation. A nice lady walking her dog knew the local bunkhouse and even called ahead to ensure there was room. Very nice of her and so I slept at the Slochd Mhor Lodge, Southwest of Tomatin. From there it was almost all through Forest Estates next morning to Aviemore, a fairly short walk compared to most days so far. Much more pleasant than the previous day though.  Again, quite a number of fences and always the same puzzle as to whether the fence is to keep you in, or out, and whether you're actually in something or outside of something, and if the direction is along the fence, on which side of the fence should I follow the fence.... In short to many fences, luckily a fair number of gates too.
I arrived in Aviemore yesterday early morning. I went first to the local information center to get information on snow in the Cairngorms, as the next part takes me through some of Scotland's highest mountains. Unfortunately, they weren't able to provide much information, but suggested that I'd talk to the rangers at the base station of the funicular to Cairngorm mountain.  That's what I did this morning, and also took the funicular to see for myself. Well, at the top it was -2 with a stiff breeze and still some snow. Lower down it was very patchy though. After also talking to the ranger, I will try to cross via the Lairig Ghru pass tomorrow. Which I was told is mostly snow free and less boggy than Strath Nethy.  Just a pity that I won't get to see Loch Avon that way. Anyway, this will take me past some serious mountains like Ben Macdui which towers over the valley at 1309m. The forecast is for fairly low winds from the south and dry weather tomorrow, so good conditions. 2-3 days to Braemar, leaving tomorrow.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Today leaving Inverness... Again

My blister is on the mend and it's time to continue. I'll walk towards Aviemore, hope to be there after about 2 days walk. The weather isn't grand but not terrible either. You can follow progress on my older entry ("I'm off... ") which will again be updated about twice a day.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Temporary Hickup - break again in Inverness

Back in Inverness to mend my foot (huge popped blister, one nail almost off)! First day was rather nice, all kinds of weather, as you might expect. Wet paths, where paths were even visible. Routing was behind the mountains along Loch Maree, then crossing a pass to a place (beautiful!)  called Letterewe. From there along the lake, camping in the woods to the north of the southern end of Lach Maree. Tired but a good day, fortunately with dry spells. Saw lots of wildlife, plenty of deer, wild goats, the odd rabbit. Wednesday, it rained from the start, never let up. The path to Leckie went ok, but it became increasingly clear that absent a bridge, there would be no way to cross the river, so I started to mentally prepare to walk back. But, there was a small unmarked bridge, unmarked on the road! Hallelujah, or so I thought... From there it was through no man's land heading southwest to Achnasheen, passing through the valley SW of Fionn Bhein. Turned out to be a really stupid choice of route: this was massive bog/moor! Not a flat square meter, everything wet, creeks across ground so soft it was impossible to cross in many places. Once I stepped in down to my knees. The whole acvompanied with driving rain, not letting up a minute. While beautiful, I really couldn't enjoy it, I was just really glad to know that at Achnasheen there would be a rail station and thus likely people. After 5 hours, I was in Achnasheen, soaked through. Worse, a massive blister had developed and popped, a nail had almost come off, and my backpack was ripped in one place, probably from a fall. Anyway, I could stay in a bunk room at a hotel in Achnasheen and decided to head to Inverness for "repairs:"  neither pharmacy nor seamstress in Achnasheen. So, I'm back in Inverness, looking after my foot and getting my backpack repaired. Then I'll continue, but I'm unsure from where, as I need to reroute a bit. I'm going to stick to marked footpaths for now unless I'm positive it's not bog!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Saturday April 5 to Monday - Edinburgh to Inverness

I made it to Inverness. Uneventful flight, but a beautiful drive up from Edinburgh to Inverness. I'm really excited to hike the area from tomorrow! Tonight, I'm off to Poolewe by bus, starting tomorrow.
Unfortunately, it seems that the blogger mobile app can't upload pictures...

Friday, April 4, 2014

I'm off! Here you can follow the trip!

So, I'm just about off to Scotland. After a lot more to do than I thought today, I'm finally off. Packed loads of food for the first week and get everything else ready. There will still be some time to tie up lose ends in Inverness before transferring to Poolewe on Monday! Here, or on this link, you will find position updates once or twice a day. The actual walk will start on Tuesday April 8 in Poolewe, on the west coast, but I'm flying today, April 5, to Edinburgh.

A more complete Interface can be found here to play with. If I can, I'll be updating this blog when I have electricity and a mobile data connection. That'll likely be once I get to Aviemore. Now I get some 3 hours of sleep before I have to make my way to the airport!

Please consider donating something to Kinder Spitex!

Firstly, thanks to those that have donated something -Thanks a lot!

For all the others, I would like to appeal again to you and hope that you'd consider donating just a few francs, dollars, or euros to Kinder Spitex, a great charity that really helps out Families a lot if you like the blog or just the idea of the walk.  Thanks, Chris