Published: April 29th 2007April 29th 2007
I have finally started to do some hiking and only wish I had done some more in the other places that I have been to. It is just so good to get away from everything and be the only one on top of a mountain in the snow, walking along the edge off a cliff or in a massive valley with mountains on either side.
The first one I did was on the island Isle of Skye on the west coast of Scotland up a mountain called the Old Man of Storr. I had just hitched from the north and arrived in a town Portree on the island and couldn't be really bothered doing anything but the owner of the hostel told me to go and climb it this afternoon since for the first time in a month the sun was out and would have some great views. He was certainly right though when I finally crawled my way to the top, lost the track so made my own way up, the views of the Island were fantastic. I was the only one up there as well so had the mountain to myself to wonder about and check things
Mt Ben Nevis
On top of the highest mountain in Britain.
Also a few people have said 'if you were the only one there how did you take this photo?' Cameras have timers! Takes a couple of goes each time though somtimes the first one I'm not even in the photo.
out. I kinda went crazy again with the camera and I think there are 3 pages of photos to look at this time.
The next day I was up early to go and catch a bus to take me to the other side of the Island so I could walk back through a valley with the Cullin Mountains on either side of me. The bus driver made me real nervous as he was telling me how dangerous it can be in the valley and the water level of the river can rise meters in the matter of minutes. So I was a little worried as the weather was not too good this time and got caught in a storm half way through which made the path into a little stream and crossing the rivers become more difficult. Had to take shoes and socks off and go across up to my waist once as the rocks that were there to walk on were under the water and become very slippery but made for a good hard days walk. When I finally made it to a road I was soaked through and had another 10Km to go back to the town
Mt Ben Nevis
On top off Ben Nevis with fantastic views
so put the thumb out and managed to get a lift back in. The walk that day was 15Km the guide book said which was a fair bit longer than I thought it was it just went so quick. That night I went and treated myself for my birthday and had some haggis. For those who are not sure what it is well it’s the traditional Scottish meal and it is sheep’s guts pretty much. Wasn't too bad though when I mixed all the massed spuds in with it as well.
The next day I was planning to take it easy and hitch to Fort William where Mt Ben Nevis is but that was a lot harder than I was told by the hostel manager it would be. I took about 6 hours to get there in the end and I did a fair amount of walking that day as well this time I had the big backpack on my back as well so that was another very long day. The hostel was in a great spot though right at the base off the mountain so sitting out on the balcony for the afternoon having was really relaxing after
the day of hitching.
Got up at 6.30am to walk to the top and it was a sunny day so was lucky again there. The very start of the walk was right up a steep cliff and I though I was never going to make it up and only half an hour in my legs were really burning but after the first stage it got easier thankfully and plus I think I had lost all feeling in my legs anyway. It took exactly 2 hours to reach the top and I made it in very good time apparently. There was not a cloud in the sky and no wind at the top but was still freezing and again I was the only one on top of a mountain but this one is the highest in Britain so was lucky to have no one around at all. The cliff face has a 611 M drop so was not getting to close to the edge as it is snow hangling over! From where I started to the top it was 1.3Km (4,300 ft) but the distance walked was 8 Km of zigzag to get there. One the way back down I
Sligachan to Glen Brittle all along a massive gully
passed several people on there way up so getting up really early paid off.
I was back down by 11 so decided to go to hitch to Glasgow because the next bus was at 7pm that night and this time I got lucky. Waited 10 minutes and got picked up by a truck driver who was heading to Paris! He had Â£500,000 of salmon in the back of his truck and had two days to drive all the way to France to make the delivery. Today was one off the best days I have had since been away, just making it to the top of the mountain and having it all to myself was a brilliant feeling. The guy I'm staying with said that I was soo lucky to be there by myself on such a nice day. I can see myself doing a fair amount more of this hiking thing!
So I am in Glasgow now and right at the moment I'm nursing a massive hangover from watching the cricket last night. It was my mission for yesterday to find a place that was showing the game so walked around the city and came to a pub called
Walkabout thought that must be showing the game so went and checked it out and jackpot it was packed with Aussies in green and gold waiting for the game to start. So went and got a beer and sat with a bunch of guys and as it was raining and the game was delayed and somehow they came up with a drinking game that we would use during the match. Pretty much there were no real rules and if anything happened we had to drink but when a four was hit it was two mouthfuls and when a six was hit it was finish the rest of your pint. It got a really messy very early when Gilly was going crazy and in one over there was three fours and two sixes so it was good night after that. It was a fantastic day though, from what I remember, just carrying on having a great time singing the national anthem I have no idea how many times. Woke up this morning with a straw hat on that has the Fosters logo on the front and half a kebab on the floor so a real Aussie day was had!
I wont be doing a great deal and tomorrow my host and myself are going to Edinburgh to go and watch a fireworks festival with 17 other couchsurfers from around the place so that will be a good show. It is for the changing off the seasons and is a bid event over here, they are just properly glad that it is getting close to summer again where 18 Degrees is a hot day!
There are more photos below