Scotland trip report
10 April 2011

On Friday I stuffed all the gear into my backpack. My first thought was: “Wow, that’s really few stuff. Ok it’s just a 5 day trip.” While packing I ripped the stuff-sack of my sleeping bag. That was not so bad as the stuff sack was always a bit too small for my quilt. So I spend the rest of the evening with bonding a new cuben stuff sack.

On Saturday I did another myog product at my parents home: Rain mitts. I took the pattern from Andersj.se. However it was too small for my hands. Therefore I made it 2,5cm more wide. On Sunday I drove to Weeze airport by car. There I parked my car, checked in and flew to Edinburgh. At Edinburgh airport I changed Euro into British Pound and took the bus to Waverly Station. I was lucky as the ticket office was open on Sunday. So I could buy my tickets to Achnasheen including the return. I finished the day with an excellent meal in the hostel consisting of mushrooms, onions, lamb-liver and cream. While sitting in my bed I realized that I will arrive in Achnasheen at 19:00 and cursed: “Now I have to walk the road to Kinlochewe in the dark.” On Monday I took a walk in the parks of Edinburgh, as my train departed at 13:15 to Inverness and Achnasheen.

When I arrived in Achnasheen it was dark and I was greeted with the worst Scottish weather…​ The storm and rain were so hard, that my backpack was soaking wet from the inside. Fortunately my gear was packed in cuben bags and stayed dry. The funny thing was that my rain trousers leak at a very delicate position. I should have put my shoes off every time I put them on. At the railway station I fetched some drinking water from the public toilet and began walking. Half ways a friendly family picked me up to the Beinn Eighe visitor center. They came from skiing in the French Alps and drove home to Gairloch. For hours I searched the public campsite at Taagan but didn’t find it. Finally my headlamp failed and I stood in the dark without a spare battery. So I went back to the Kinlochewe Bunkhose, the family told me of it, and dried me and my clothes.

I met another hiker, who made a trip to Cape Wrath. It was his second week on trail and he said that this was the worst weather he had during his hike

On Tuesday I bought spare batteries for my headlamp. Usually the batteries hold up very long, but I didn’t want to be in the dark again. In future I’ll switch to lithium batteries and take a spare one…​ At first my next target was the bothy Shenavall, but half ways my cold destroyed that route. I could hardly breath deeply and coughed every minute. Therefore I changed my plan: At the next campsite available(it was a nice river) I’ll pitch up my tent and slow down for the next days. At 16:30 I found a beautiful campsite between two arms of a river, pitched my tent and washed my socks. I spend the rest of the day with listening to music(Vibrasphere, Carbon based Lifeforms) and eating Spekulatius(winter cookies).

On Wednesday I didn’t get up before 10:00. While the morning brought some rain and wind, it cleared up when I started hiking. I walked towards Lochan Fada crossing a bad swamp. I had to concentrate so much, that I didn’t find occasion to brush my teeth, which I usually do while walking, until the ascend of a 600m hill right in front of Lochan Fada. After a river crossing I walked downhill, which was not that easy as the ground was so muddy that it slipped away. I was happy to have my poles and cursed my spikes as they didn’t provide any grip. On the other side of Lochan Fada I had to cross the river Abhainn an Fhasaigh(no, it’s not a terrorist), which was almost waist-deep and damn cold! After the crossing I could continue beneath the Slioch to my campsite at Loch Maree. At Loch Maree there was luckily a bridge and I didn’t have to cross the river again. A t the shore of Loch Maree I pitched my tarptent in an open style, so I could look at the Beinn Eighe mountain while falling asleep, wonderful!

On Thursday I didn’t get up before 10:00 again. This day I walked up to Cairn in the Beinn Eighe mountain. But first I had to buy 2 apples and 1l of milk. In the grocery I found a flyer for a so called “Dial-A-Bus” which could take me back to Achnasheen on Saturday. That was great news as I would not have to walk the road for 16km. At the descend from Cairn I met my first hiker for the day: “Oh only 200m left? That’s easy.”. I spend the night at the campsite Taagan.

On Friday my usual late sleep was interrupted by two dogs. The disadvantage of a tarptent is that it’s open. On a campsite everyone can get into your tent. So I had to service my duty with hurling trunks. The owner of the two dogs told me that this night was “very cold”, around 2 °C. But I slept warm in my down quilt. I didn’t even need the insulated clothing. After packing up I headed to the Beinn Eighe visitor center and ordered the bus for the next day. Then I got up the Beinn Eighe again in order to climb up a Munro. After crossing some boulders and knee deep snow fields I head to climb using my hands. But at about 780m I stopped. I could see that the final ascend to the summit lead over those damn snow fields again and was very steep. Therefore I descended to the Kinlochewe Hotel again to wash myself and my clothes. I finished the day with drinking all the different ales they had in the bar. But I have to admit that the Scottish beer is not tasty(stale and without any taste, brown water). I’ll have to drink Whisky the next time!

On Saturday another hiker arrived, brought in by the mountain rescue. He didn’t find his way back in the snow and was only 1km away from me, at the other side of the Munro I tried. At 11:55 the Dial-A-Bus picked my up to Achnasheen and I finished my hike.