Day 10 – 14 on the Scottish National Trail

Day 10

I get a ride to our meeting point at a pub quickly, so I arrive there pretty early.
Gil just arrived a minute before me and he’s completely soaked after hiking 2 days in the rain.
We get some lunch and have plenty of time to catch up.

Peter and his dog Hugo arrive a few hours later and Gil isn’t too keen on going back out in a miserable weather.
After a few beers we decide that there’s no point hiking in a cold wind with rain when it’s supposed to be much nicer tomorrow, so we’ll be sharing a room for the night.

Day 11

We’re taking it easy today, leaving around 10am, walking through some beautiful valleys.
We’re now on the Cape Wrath Trail, that has the reputation of being one of the most beautiful and rugged in Scotland.

We have lunch at a bothy, the first one I see, but apparently there are quite a few on the hiking trails of Scotland.
They’re basic free huts for hikers and it’s definitely great to know they’re here if the weather gets really bad.

We find a beautiful camping spot where we stop early to enjoy the early evening with some whisky.

? Gil Efrat

Day 12

It’s supposed to be a “beautiful ” day and it’s actually pretty nice in the morning. It even gets warm for a bit and I take my jacket off for the first time since I arrived in Scotland.

We walk pass the beautiful fall of Glomach and altogether it’s a very beautiful section.
Though, like yesterday the trail is pretty wet underfoot.

? Gil Efrat

The afternoon gets pretty cloudy but nothing too bad.
We finish the day at a bothy that’s perfectly located with a great view on a loch and stay there for the night.
Unfortunately that’s the end of our whisky, but we’ll survive.

Day 13

It’s very windy when we wake up, so definitely glad we were in the bothy.
It’s a really beautiful section, passing beautiful lochs and valleys.

But it’s also crazy windy all day long and it gets pretty rough as we approach a saddle, our high point of the day.
I haven’t often seen such a strong wind, maybe only in Iceland and in Dunkirk on my big thru-hike in France last year.
It’s hard, but somehow also kind of fun.
It’s hard to explain but sometimes it just feels great to feel the elements, it definitely makes you feel alive.
Though obviously, if it lasts really long, being in a freezing wind with rain can also get old very fast…

But it got a bit quieter once we got down and tomorrow we should have decent weather.

Day 14

We wake up to have our first encounter with the infamous midges as we’re packing.
They are annoying, but nothing compared to the ones in New Zealand. Their bite leaves a red mark, but it’s not that itchy.
Though I’m glad I didn’t forget my head net as it became one of my favourite piece of gear over the years.
After walking in the Negev desert in Israel, where I had flies flying around my head all day, I swore that I’d never go hiking without a head net again.
That drove me crazy to the point that it was the only time I ever considered quitting a thru-hike.

It is a sunny and easy (apart from the boggy terrain, but it looks like there’s no way around it in the Highlands…) morning until we get to Kinlochewe, where we get lunch and ressuply.
As we’re not in a rush, we spend a few hours here before heading towards Lochan Fada, an absolutely stunning lake that makes for a great camping spot.

? And all below : Gil Efrat

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