Wild Camping West Highland Way, Mull & Iona 2013

The Highlands is an astonishing place which never ceases to amaze me. This summer I went wild camping again in the Highlands. Walking along the West Highland Way from Inversnaid  to Glen Coe starting from a place called Aberfoyle. A brief campout at a place called Stalker Castle and down the coast to Oban then across to Mull and eventually to Iona. Iona is a magical, it still is a christian community and has its roots deeply embedded in Christian mythology as this is where the book of Kells was written.

Fond Memories of Callanish 2011

Callanish Stone Circle
Callanish Stones
Callanish I

In the September of 2011, I headed up to the Highlands to wild camp and hike in the wilderness there. After a week on the mainland at the Cape wrath I caught the ferry and headed over to the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. I caught the bus out to Callanish, a small village on the west side of Lewis with the intention of viewing the stone circles situated there. Callanish is a very ancient site and is said to date back to nearly 3000 BC. There is one main stone monument which is actually in the shape of a cross – and is said to align with the cycles of the moon rather than those of the sun as in the case of Stonehenge. It is generally understood that this is because the community that lived there at the time it was constructed was a fishing community rather than arable. There are also two other smaller stone circles that lie just a short distance from the main megalithic structure.

I got out to the stones around two O’clock in the afternoon and had a good look around. My aim was to camp on the site but around sunset the site got busy with photographers. So instead I opted to camp a short distance away at an old ruined house on the side of a loch. This was a strange place full of pigeons that kept flying out from the rafters momentarily. I pitched my one man Bivvy tent and the next day in strong rain made my way back to Stornoway on the bus then catching the ferry to the mainland the following day.

A Desereted House
House on the hill

Wild Camping in the Highlands 2012

Hiking and wild camping are my thing. A couple of times a year I like to pack my rucksack and head off up to the Highlands to explore the remoter regions of Scotland. This year was no exception. Towards the end of July I caught the train to Glasgow and then a coach to the Bridge of Orchy which is just south of Fort William. The weather was pleasant, although not as nice as usual. I set out from the Bridge of Orchy, taking the West Highland Way to Fort William.

In Scotland there are no trespass laws and wild camping is permitted anywhere within reason. Mainly due to weight restrictions, I only take a bivouac sheet and a bivvy bag. I take rations but the emphasis is always on, if I can find wild food then this is a superior alternative. I started my hike towards Fort William taking a couple of days to cover the forty or so miles. I took a diversion from the West Highland Way to Glen Coe and camped there. I arrived at Fort William to torrential rain, and got a room in a back packing hostel. I decided the next day I was going to climb Ben Nevis, something I have never done. But the weather came down with no look of improvement. So the next day I caught the bus to Inverness, and from Inverness got a train to Lairg, which is in North east Scotland. Here the scenery of the Highlands is less dramatic than in the West, with low hills but I wanted to see Lairg. I had noticed on the map before I left there were a number of Stone Circles marked there. The weather had improved no end from the previous day; Fort William is known for its rain and this being the other side of the country, Lairg was less affected. The hill upon which the stone circles were mark was small and the stones themselves unimpressive. However I found a lovely place to camp and set up there for the next two days. Here sunsets were incredible, the second night’s sundown being the most impressive.

After Lairg, I headed north to Thurso on the train and caught the ferry to Stromness in Orkney; there were stone circles I wanted to see on Orkney also so my adventure continued….

Lairg S

Lairg Sky 2

Lairg Sky 3

 

Orkney 2012

Stone Circle at sunset
The Stone Circle in morning sun
Close up…
The Stones
Remains of a Round House…
Loch Stenness
Camping arrangements!
Round House at Skara Brae
Skara Brae
Skara Brae visitors centre
The Traveller
Stromness
Lifeboat
Orkney from the ferry..