I’ve just returned from hiking and wild camping with a friend of mine in the Yorkshire Dales. We hiked from Settle to Horton-in-Ribblesdale, setting out from Settle on the Monday night. We arrivied at Scaleber Foss in the early evening and set up camp putting our bivvies up and having a night round the fire. The next day we hiked onto the majestic Malham Cove, stopping briefly at the Buck inn, in Malham village. The next day after camping at Malham cove, we went across the limestone pavement and headed up the gorge up to Malham Tarn. After a night at Malham Tarn, where a thunder-storm with hail stones the size of walnuts coming down on us. The following day we walked over Fountains Fell to the base of Pen-y-ghent and there again pitched up. Early in the morning we set off to climb Pen-y-ghent and then after the summit down into Horton-in-Ribblesdale and the train home.
Last week myself and a friend set out for the Lakes. This was my first experience of wild camping with some else for a while and my first activity of the year. We arrived at Penrith, late into the afternoon and caught the bus to Keswick. Just short of Keswick, we got off the bus and headed for the hills, arriving at Castlerigg Stone Circle just before sunset to begin our adventure. Setting off from there we made our way across some incredibly muddy fields and after becoming bogged down several times we decided to camp at a proper camp site for the night. The next day we made our way on towards Derwent Water – our plan was to circle the lake. Our weeks hiking and camping wild in the hills around Derwent Water was accompanied by some great weather and some wonderful views of the lake and surrounding countryside. These are images I took with my Olympus Tough TG-810….
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.
- Isle of Mull and Isle of Iona – Isle of Mull, United Kingdom (travelpod.com)
- Download West Highland Way, 4th: British Walking Guide: planning, places to stay, places to eat includes 53 large-scale walking maps (West Highland Way Glasgow to Fort William: Planning, Places to Stay) (abxeyas.wordpress.com)
- Abundance and Community in Iona (livingcontemplatively.org)
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.
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….