Day 15 -19 on the Scottish National Trail

Day 15

It’s been a rough night, the wind and rain kept me awake for quite a while.
And it’s not stopping in the morning.
But it’s very beautiful and the weather makes it look dramatic.

Our original plan was to stop at a bothy for lunch, then climb a munro and back to the bothy.
But it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen with this weather.
Gil says as a joke that it’s going to clear up and that we’ll be able to climb up.
Turns out he’s right and after lunch, Gil and I make the trip to our first munro while Peter watches his dog.
And it’s definitely worth the trip, it’s absolutely beautiful.
Munro bagging is a big thing in Scotland.
They are peaks over 3000 feet/914 m and there are 282 of them.
Traditionally if 2 munros are very close, you’ll have to go back down after summiting the first one, then climb back up for the second one.
Looks like a mission…

Peter bagged all the munros in a summer and it actually sounds pretty cool, though obviously it can be frustrating when you don’t get the views.
I was planning on climbing Ben Nevis, the highest peak in Britain, as it will be on my way at some point, but apparently it’s in the clouds 9 days out of 10, so not really counting on it.

Day 16

Today is a pretty short and easy day.
We arrive at the road going to Ullapool where Peter hitches to get his car.

We booked in a hostel 10 km from town but it’s beer o’clock so we get beer in town first.
The hostel is quite nice and it’s nice to get clean even though there’s no washing machine, which is a bit weird for a hiker hostel.
We head back to town where all the restaurants are full, which is strange because the town seems pretty quiet.
So fish’ n chips it is.

Day 17

Peter and Gil drive me back to the trail and it’s time to say goodbye.
Gil has flight back to Israel tomorrow morning and Peter goes back to work the day after tomorrow.
That’s the third country where we meet with Gil and I wonder what will be the next one.

It’s been really cool to hike with those guys and a good break from the solitude of the (mostly) solo hiking I’ve done the past few years.
Gil said that if I keep hiking like that, I could be the first person to “yo-yo the world”, meaning hiking twice the distance of the globe circumference.
I like the expression, but I assume it’s been done by others and I’m not quite there yet.

It’s a really nice walk in the morning, going through Glen Douchary and the river Douchary and its beautiful little gorge.
The rest of the day is on forestry roads, pretty easy, so I make good progress.
I pass 2 nice bothies in the day, but it’s early, so I don’t stop.
I find a little cabin later, which will be nice shelter from the wind/rain that might come.

Day 18

It is a hard day.
The terrain is very difficult all day, I’m either walking on ankle twisting tussock, or slippery rocks, or a never-ending trail of mud.
It’s been muddy since I’ve been in the Highlands, but this is some next level mud fest.

I didn’t count the times I fell on my butt, let’s just say it was a lot.
Including a scary one where my head almost hit a rock.
Luckily the weather wasn’t too bad and the afternoon got actually really spectacular scenery wise.
And I knew a nice little bothy was waiting for me at the end of this pretty long day.

Day 19

Another pretty hard day.
The terrain doesn’t get much better and it rains all day.
And of course there’s a cold wind to go with it.
It’s very exposed for a long time and I can’t even find a tree to sit under.
I have the quickest lunch ever and keep hiking with no break till I stop at 7pm.
Some sections are hard to navigate through as there’s no trail to follow and it’s very foggy.

If I don’t check my gps every 2 minutes, I end up losing the trail and it feels a lot like walking through a never-ending swamp.
Pity it’s so foggy because the area looks amazing.
My feet have been wet for pretty much 9 days now and it starts to get painful hiking like that…

It’s a good thing I’ve never been too picky with my camping spots because I just can’t find a decent one and end up pitching my tent on a pretty bad spot that looks like the best I can find.

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