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A call to the Mountains


These pictures are from a trip to Scotland I went on, a year and a half ago.  We packed our rucksacks with 2 weeks worth of food and walked into Knoydart, we then took a trip to Glen Nevis.
It's at about this time of year that I get an uncontrollable urge to get out into the mountains. 
 
The air is so fresh and after being in the house a lot over winter it can be just what I need to shake myself up a bit.

Waking up to this view, well, there really isn't much better.

It makes us all ridiculously happy when we're out and about in the mountains.  

Especially when we find the best wild camping spot in the world, ever, ever, ever.
When you have everything you need on your back or around you and you walk off into a valley like this, knowing you're going to be out of civilisation for a couple of weeks, the sense of freedom makes you forget how much weight your carrying.


We didn't camp here, but I will next time I go.  It's about as perfect a place as I've ever been in my life.


As I said, our packs were heavy, but we were free and we were happy.


This is Scotland.  All of these pictures are Scotland.  It is a breathtaking place and it is where I grew up.  Well, maybe not anywhere that looks like these photos!


As you can imagine Willow comes into her own in the mountains.  She never sits with us when we are at camp.  She always finds a spot a hundred metres or so above us, lies down and keeps look out.

This is our second best wild camp in the world ever, ever, ever.  When you're trying to find a wild camp there's a few things you need.  Somewhere relatively flat to put your tent or bivvy, a clean and fresh water source, ideally out of the wind and sensitively placed.  What I mean by sensitively placed is that you should be aware of others that might be nearby or who might see you sticking out like a sore thumb in the view.

This is a view from Ladhar Bheinn over to the Isle of Skye.

We stopped at this mountain stream to refill our bottles and have a good drink.  It was the best water I have ever had.  I could feel life pouring into me when I drank.  A special place.

There are not too many areas with native trees in Scotland.  I wont go deeply into the reasons why, suffice to say Scotland was invaded by England and Scotland lost.  Then the trees lost.


Knoydart is now largely owned by the natives and they are fencing off many areas of land from the deer population.  This is encouraging the regeneration of native habitat and ultimately trees.  Yippee!

I love walking with a big heavy pack on, up and down mountains.  With Willow at my heel (yeah right!) and the wind in my face, I could keep walking the hills of Scotland for the rest of my life.

Instead, I'm planning a trip to the Cairngorms later this year.  Wahoooooey!

hen
xx

14 comments:

  1. Ah, I'm all homesick now :(

    MrsL

    xx

    (I grew up in Galloway)

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  2. What an amazing place, those pics are breathtaking, I really want to go to Scotland now. xxx

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  3. I live in the US. I enjoyed looking at your pictures of Scotland. It was a portrayal of the country that was really genuine, and not what, we here across the pond, expect Scotland to be. Your photographs are beautiful.

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  4. Lovely pics Hen - and an inspirational post - you make me want to walking up a mountain right this minute! I did some archaeological survey work in the Cairngorms and loved it there - sure you'll have a wonderful time!

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  5. I love your blog because I can travel through your photographs. Thank you so much for sharing your travels hen! I am very grateful.

    a most humble and inspired,
    Clayrn Darrow
    M.IV

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  6. A wonderful trip - we holiday in Scotland most years and I couldn't agree more with everything you've said.

    I need to plan my holiday - NOW

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  7. So wonderful to see your pictures of this special trip. Beautiful scenery! It is wonderful being up in the mountains. I loved the feeling of being immersed in the mountains when Bernie and I did our long distance hikes, and it becomes your lifestyle for how ever many months it takes to hike the trail. Have you ever looked into lightweight backpacking? Bernie and I do it that way, and we lack nothing, we are comfortable in any situation. It can save your body a bit of wear and tear. So then you can fully focus on your surroundings, and not on the things you carry upon your back. I can send you a few links if you are interested at all..... Bernie and I might end up hiking the Arizona trail this spring (800 miles), it would be a fun adventure, although I do have to say I need to get my body back into hiking mode.

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  8. No wonder you're heartsick for those places, you've got me yearning to go too! I especially like the photo from inside the yellow tent, and the heart on the tree. x

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  9. Oh Hen, fantasmagorical, Knoydart is lovely. It is an area I have frequented a few times now. Getting in there by public transport can be interesting. Fantastic photos, how on earth did you manage to wangle such lovely weather though? Dawn

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  10. I. WANT. TO. BE. THERE. TOO!

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  11. Wha's like us? ;)

    I love Glen Nevis, haven't been for a long time but we're hoping to head up for a few days in the Summer (haha) - I'm due to deliver at the end of May which rules out a furrin holiday this year really but I'm sure a teeny baby can cope with going camping!

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  12. Both my family and my wife's are from Scotland and Linda and I get back there as often as we can. But the last time was in 2002 and your beautiful photos have reawaken the desire to return.

    Your photos are very evocative.

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  13. Every photograph was extremely beautiful and brought me to a place of warmth. It looks like a wonderful place to take in and experience.

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  14. A rply to everybody's comments... I'm really happy that you all liked the photos! I wondered at how interesting my holiday snaps would be!!

    Leanne, Galloway! I was brought up in Paisley, at the foot of the Braes, until I was 10yrs old. Beautiful air there. xxx

    Pixiedust, Thank you bean and yes, you should go to Scotland! It's a wonder of Britain! xxx

    Kathy, :o) I'm intrigued to know how Scotland is perceived in the US. That sort of thing fascinates me! xxx

    Kittyboo, that sounds like an amazing experience! I should think it was pretty hardcore too???! xxx

    Clay, :o) thank you for being so lovely. I'm really enjoying your art over at your blog. x

    Dalesgirl, Plan it it! It's half the fun! I'd love to hear more about what you've done and where you go. xx

    Dowhatyoulove, I hear what your saying about lightweight backpacking. I do go as light as I can within the bounds of long-term camping in the British mountains. All my gear is designed to be as light as possible but with very good weather resistance, which limits it's ability to be too light. I've almost perfected my choice of hill food and so am able to carry 2 weeks worth of food for me and the dog and still fit everything else I need in my pack.

    The weather in British mountains is notorious and turns so quickly and can last for so long, that you have to be prepared for the worst, even in the midst of summer. It's a pain in the bum, but I've been caught out before and will not get caught out again. Knoydart is very remote and some of the areas we went exploring would have been ridiculously awkward to get to. With no communication networks you are potentially stuck in a bad situation for days before help can get to you. So you have to be prepared for the worst, without being silly about it. I think there are things I can improve on if I were to buy a lighter version (saving up my pennies!) but there is nothing I wouldn't take with me. Over the years I've refined my pack contents and I'm pretty happy with it now.

    What a long comment, I'll quit my gibber gabber! xxx

    Lizzie, The view from the tent (I'd taken of off the more subtle Green outer of the tent to let some air in!) is from Glen Nevis. If you get a chance, go there. It's spectacular! xxx

    Dawn, I thought you'd have been to Knoydart!! Awesome isn't it!? Did you get a boat to the village? I can't imagine a taxi taking you the back way on the road to Kinloch Hourn??? Don't be fooled by the pictures! The weather in our first few days was diabolical and the walk in was made quite dangerous by swollen rivers and streams that we had to cross. Took us nearly 5hrs to get to the bothy from Kinloch Hourn! After that I never expected Knoydart to turn into what felt like a Greek island though!


    Annie, GO. GO. GO! xx

    Vonnie, Hello there! I've always said that when I have a baby it'll be coming camping as soon as we're tough enough! Go for it! xxx

    Barry, I have family that emigrated to Canada (australia too) and we nearly emigrated to Canada when I was 2yrs old, the forms were filled and everything. Amazing to think I was so close to being a Canadian!

    Natural Moments, It definitely is a place of warmth, Scottish people are among the warmest people in the country. The weather however...


    Hope you have all managed to sift through this mammoth comment to find something interesting!!

    Thank you for your comments!

    hen
    xxxxxx

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