WB 27/28: Highs & Lochs
Progress has been good for these two week, and I am still on schedule. I have travelled from Fort William, Scotland to Mallaig, Scotland covering 227 miles.
The lack/quality of shops as expected is still making for a few issues, in fact week 27 was the worst but week 28 not far behind. These weeks I have had a few long long stretches one 72 hours and a couple of 48 hours without shops which requires planning and increases the weight of my bag. On top of no shops the difference around these parts has been the lack of cafes or pubs as well which means I do not even have an alternative. For the first time on the walk, water has also become a slight issue, as I have had to carry significantly more due to the remoteness, twice having to carry 3.5 liters which might not sound much but 3.5kg adds 25% more weight to my backpack. I know when I am high I can drink straight out of the streams or lochs, but I prefer to boil it first which I have done a few times.
Other than that no specific issues, but some of the off piste areas as expected have been quite difficult.
I did one of these before the walk but if anyone has any questions about the walk and how it's going, put them in a comment below and I will respond to them in the next weekly blog.
I am at times getting very remote now. This has several effects on the walk essentially everything gets a little harder; the walking, food, water, electricity, and finally signal/Wi-fi. Due to the last one do not be surprised if diaries and Instagram posts become a bit less regular over the next couple of weeks though i will try and keep them as up to date as possible. In fact over the next 3 days I will be incredibly remote so may not get signal.
The planning for the next few weeks was some of the hardest of the whole walk. I want to stay as coastal as possible without being stupid. There are some peninsulas in the next few weeks I think are not walkable but most of them with a little bit of off piste walking I have managed to include in my plots. It will be interesting to see if my plotted routes are all manageable, and how many en route alterations I have to make..
My brief comment of Mental Health for the weekly blog. It is amazing how many people have come up to me on the walk and discussed there own issues and often ends up with them having a go at the NHS services or lack of service. Often complaining about the errors and seeming stupidity of the whole system and how it actually makes them worse. I have had similar experiences. It is my believe that the NHS mental health services will not improve unless they listen to patients complaints and also the complaints of staff within the service. It is not just a political or financial thing, as the NHS managers will state, but in my opinion a complete lack of professionalism and a completely flawed system.
On a personal level I raised a very comprehensive complaint against the Richmond Borough services which they did not answer any of my issues including some quite serious ones (that is not saying I did not get a response but unbelievably it answered questions I hadn't asked but not ones I actually had asked). On top of this my GP raised a fairly serious complaint including statements below
‘I have serious concerns about the provision of secondary care mental health services in Richmond, as demonstrated in the following synopsis of events regarding my patient Charles Compton. Dr Wright, Consultant Psychiatrist at Richmond Wellbeing advised I write to you.’
‘His case highlights some serious concerns about the management of mental health referrals in Richmond including inappropriate triaging, inefficiency in throughput and poor responsiveness to clinician and patient concerns. I think it is worth going over the timeline of events so lessons can be learned.’
‘I appreciate there are significant funding pressures on mental health services but the extent of delays in Charles’ case is not acceptable. There also appear to be significant potential cost savings if unnecessary duplication of assessments and higher quality triaging were looked at.’
As well as my GP my local MP also raised a complaint, I do not think the service responded to either of these.
Please click links below to find out more detail about each specific day:
- Day 184: Ben Nevis Climb
- Day 185: Fort William to Stronchreggan
- Day 186: Stroncreggan to Kingairloch
- Day 187: Kingairloch to Leacraithnaich Bothy
- Day 188: Leacraithnaich Bothy to Lochaline
- Day 189: Lochaline to Kinloch
- Day 190: Kinloch to Strontian
- Day 192: Strontian to Glenmore
- Day 193: Glenmore to Plocaig
- Day 194: Plocaig to Acharacle
- Day 195: Acharacle to Glenuig
- Day 196: Glenuig to Peanmeanach Bothy
- Day 197: Peanmeanach Bothy to Mallaig
Specific thank yous:
Ed & Becky – thank you for visiting me on the walk, and treating me to dinner.
Susan, Kingairloch House - thank you for providing me and my dad with a complimentary room and breakfast and for giving me a meal in the Boathouse Bistro.
Dad - thank you for joining the walk, and hope you've recovered.
Sunart Camping - thank you for letting me pitch for free for the night.
Glenmore Farm - thank you for letting me pitch and providing me with some yummy food.
Loch Shiel Hotel & Bar - Thank you for giving me a complimentary dinner.
Glenuig in General - Thank you for allowing me to sleep in the village hall, the lady who let me into shop and the lovely public showers.
Also thank you to everyone who donated last week, and all the kind messages that I received.