WB 29/30/31/32/33: When the walk got really tough!
A very late weekly blog that covers the last 5 weeks so it is a bit of a long one. Going to try and get back to doing them weekly.
Progress has been good these 5 weeks, and I am still on schedule. I have travelled from Mallaig, Scotland to Ullapool, Scotland covering 570 miles.
In weeks 29/30/31 the going was extremely tough and actually week 32 was not particularly easy either. In fact these were the 3 hardest weeks of the entire walk so far and they came one after the other. Lots of things made it hard from off piste sections, which were sometimes incredibly steep, sometimes boggy, sometimes overgrown, occasionally required some very careful bouldering and even a mad scree climb and descent. The weather was also not not overly kind with rain a lot of the days and a couple of big overnight downpours which made river crossings very hard often knee deep and on one occasion pretty much waist deep. All of this whilst still having a fairly high average mileage (20 miles per walking day over the 5 weeks) just completely knackered me. A few times my body really wanted to stop. Fortunately week 33 has been fairly gentle and has allowed my body to start recovering a bit.
Shops at times have been few and far between making it hard to just get food but also to try and get a balanced healthy diet that will keep my body going.
Phone signal and Wi-fi has been terrible, and just to keep vageuly on top of admin and diaries I have had to hitch on a couple of my rest days to Portree to get Wi-fi.
A brief mention of the Gairloch Sands SYHA cancelling my reservation without telling me, leaving me in limbo for awhile on my rest day. This alongside a couple of other issues I have had with SYHA will mean i will not be using them regardless even if they are the only option on a given rest day.
Knoydart & Cuillins
There have been so many scenic areas in the last 5 weeks but 2 parts stick out for me. Firstly Knoydart, which is a remote peninsula with no roads to it. I think my approach arriving via a completely off piste and dramatic route made it feel even more remote. What made Knoydart stand out for me was firstly the scenery which was beautiful, dramatic and very isolated, and secondly the people I met. By complete chance I ended up bothy hopping with a couple of other groups so even though I was walking alone and by my own route I would bump into the same people each evening for a couple of evenings which was really fun. In fact it took a bit of getting used to the solitude of the walk again after this. I would love to bring friends back here one day.
The Cuillins what can I say, you beasted me good and proper. The storm over night meant the rivers were in spate making for some interesting river crossings, the wind was strong as I did the bad step, and then the scree scrambling as I climbed up and over the Cuillin Ridge just shy of 900m before descending down the boulders on the other side. You may have actually got me to the point I was slightly scared but I will be back as you were simply magnificent, though next time without a heavy pack and with other people.
The weekly blog had got so far behind that I am rushing this out just to try and get them back on track as I know there are a few (even if a minority) that these weekly blogs are the only way they can keep track of the walk when they get emailed out. Therefore as it is rushed there are likely a few mistakes, and apologies if I missed anyone in the thank you section below. On top of this not put anything about mental health or more general stuff due to running out of time.
Please click links below to find out more detail about each specific day:
- Day 199: Mallaig to Sourlies Bothy
- Day 200: Sourlies Bothy to Barisdale Bothy
- Day 201: Barisdale Bothy to Arnisdale
- Day 202: Arnisdale to Ratagan
- Day 203: Ratagan to Kyleakin
- Day 205: Kyleakin to Leitir Fura
- Day 206: Leitir Fura to Drumfearn
- Day 207: Drumfearn to Torrin
- Day 208: Torrin to Camasunary Bothy
- Day 209: Camusunary Bothy to Culnamean
- Day 210: Culnamean to Carbost
- Day 212: Carbost to Ollisdal Bothy
- Day 213: Ollisdal Bothy to Milovaig
- Day 214: Milovaig to Waternish
- Day 215: Waternish to Uig
- Day 216: Uig to Flodigarry
- Day 218: Flodigarry to Portree
- Day 219: Portree to Broadford
- Day 220: Broadford to Plockton
- Day 221: Plockton to Lochcarron
- Day 222: Lochcarron to Uags Bothy
- Day 223: Uags Bothy to Shieldaig
- Day 224: Shieldaig to Craig Bothy
- Day 225: Craig Bothy to Gairloch
- Day 227: Gairloch to Poolewe
- Day 228: Poolewe to Laide
- Day 229: Laide to Badrallach
- Day 230: Badrallach to Ullapool
Specific thank yous:
Skye Hobbit House, Torrin – thank you for kindly offering Al and I the Hobbit House complimentary for the night as well as making me a lovely dinner.
The Old Inn, Carbost - thank you very kindly for offering me a complimentary room for my rest day.
Clach Ghlas B&B, Milovaig - thank you very kindly for offering me a complimentary room and making me both a lovely dinner and breakfast.
Uig Campsite - thank you for giving me a complimentary pitch.
Flodigarry Hostel -thank you very kindly for offering me your own caravan for my rest day, as well as providing me with a lovely shepherds pie amongst other things.
Plockton Inn - thank you for letting me pitch in your beer garden.
Americans in Shieldaig - thank you for paying for my dinner without me knowing.
Kings Canterbury School - thank you for the military ration packs.
Also thank you to everyone who donated last week, and all the kind messages that I received.