Author Topic: Mad Dog and an Englishman Go Wild – Cape Wrath Trail  (Read 4278 times)

IanyZen

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Mad Dog and an Englishman Go Wild – Cape Wrath Trail
« Reply #30 on: 20:54:55, 26/07/20 »
Day Nine
 
When things start to go wrong – you’ve picked the wrong boots or raincoat, wandered off course a bit, chosen the wrong variant, eaten your last favourite chocolate chip flapjack, arrived at the estuary river crossing at high tide, burnt the bottom of your titanium pot, lost one of your new gloves, oh, so many niggly little things. Well instead of obsessing over these, remind yourself of the things that are going swimmingly – weather’s perfect, the scenery’s magnificent, the bothy has dry wood, no snorers in the hostel, the wildlife is out just to see me, you’ve captured some amazing camera shots… there’s more positives than negatives. Work out the ratios.
No one can expect everything to go to plan, just be adaptable & remain positive!  O0
 
Don’t worry, saying that was not a pre-warning of doom ahead…just me promoting good mental health on the trail.
It’s a great time to declutter your mind, clearing out all those negative thoughts, replacing them with healthy ones.
 
“Sleep okay, Zen, in our new casita?”
“dreamily”
The inner tent has a huge door which Ian let down giving me the whole vestibule to stretch out.  :)
 
I skipped across the river, whereas Ian, wary of a half-sleepy slip and soaking first thing, came gingerly over bare foot, risking cut feet on the rocks. After joining the 4x4 stony track we passed a few other tents sprinkled around. I sprinted ahead to greet a Scottish guy cycling over the brow. He was off to set up camp at the foot of a few Munros around for a bit of a climb & solace. We got a rare photo of Ian & me together.
 




 
The 4x4 track cut through a partially felled pine tree forest before hitting the road to Achnashellach. The weather was warming up to be the hottest day on the trail, as we passed the famous Gerry’s Hostel and headed North into Coire Earba, deciding against the shorter Coulin Pass.
 

 
Streams and brooks were dry, so Ian ventured off path to successfully find a little water, though not the best, but it did the trick – top man.

‘Be the person your dog thinks you are’, Mahamat Gandhi.
Some days, Ian is!  :angel:
 
This was a steep energy sapping, zig zagging climb with loose rocks and high steps. Difficult to build any rhythm and momentum. I was amazed to see guys hurtling themselves down on mountain bikes & trail runners – apparently the trail is quite famous for biking.
 

 
Ian was overly hesitant at a junction – never a good sign!
With a slight tinge of regret Ian opted against the well-marked path West (on the map, but not detailed in the guidebook) that eventually leads to the renowned spectacular (but longer) route circulating Beinn Eighe.
The view West (we didn't take)




Waiting

If I am being honest, Ian does have the ability to quickly turn difficult decisions into well measured action, balancing risk – Survivor’s Wisdom they call it, but he can be a bit risk adverse.

The path we took


Instead we headed East, swayed by time of day, the heat, lack of water high in the mountains preferring the safer lower trail along Easan Dorcha & River Coulin where quenching thirst was guaranteed.
Even better was the waterfall for a soothing cooling dip at the quaint bothy, snug enough for a couple.
I urged Ian to have a shower – all I got to laugh at was him with his head under the falls.  ;D
 





This is becoming the coolest walk -  :coolsmiley:

 
The valley opened out to reveal the majestic panorama of the massive solid rock-peaks of Liathach & Beinna Eighe.
Occasionally, the view of peaks from afar can be just as spectacular as being amongst them – debatable!




 
Ian packed himself some appropriate snacks  ;D

 
The trail followed some stony roads dotted with patches of felled harvested pine trees, before arriving on a paw-friendly, sun-warmed, straight deserted road to Kinlochewe. Even though Ian had booked to camp, we were given the last poorly positioned spot next to the car park, but, hey ho, we got our first mailed packages full of treats, so looking at the ratios, we’d had a glorious day full of positives, apparently in UK’s hottest place today!
 
Ian, me, phone & battery power pack all recharged in the pub, whilst I kid you not, the live act sang ‘I could walk 500 miles!’  :D
I’d gladly walk 500miles of this!  O0
« Last Edit: 21:04:18, 26/07/20 by IanyZen »
Good luck on your next adventure
Ian & Zen

richardh1905

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Re: Mad Dog and an Englishman Go Wild – Cape Wrath Trail
« Reply #31 on: 21:22:40, 26/07/20 »
Another wonderful day - you are getting into country that I am somewhat more familiar with now.
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Dodgylegs

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Re: Mad Dog and an Englishman Go Wild – Cape Wrath Trail
« Reply #32 on: 22:17:11, 26/07/20 »
Looks fabulous, in the weather you're both having!

Jac

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Re: Mad Dog and an Englishman Go Wild – Cape Wrath Trail
« Reply #33 on: 08:38:06, 27/07/20 »
Following you on the map - having walked many of the paths as day walks when staying with family in Kishorn. What fantastic weather you had.
So many paths yet to walk, so little time left

IanyZen

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Mad Dog and an Englishman Go Wild – Cape Wrath Trail
« Reply #34 on: 15:49:54, 10/10/20 »
Day Ten
“Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt. Nothing truly wild is unclean”  John Muir
So true, but all the more annoying that ‘progress’ had led to the dirt road along Abhainn Bruachaig to be splattered with small sharp stones to gain easier access to Scottish Power’s mini hydro-electric dams, causing me considerable paw pain, to say the least.  :-[
This frustratingly slowed our progress, after we had set out a tad later than usual for Ian to stock up on an extra gas canister from the local shop when it opened.
Ian was concerned that yesterday’s heat had led me to exhaustion, but I was fine and relieved when we turned off North, upwards to Heights of Kinlochewe. Calmness always comes over me when we head North.  :)
 
Good to see the planting of indigenous trees, though their growth matched our meandering pace as the track narrowed to a path to Lochan Fada.
With a long dry day forecast & panoramic views, we rested more often than usual to soak it all in, or maybe it was Ian carrying the extra food packages.  ;D
Big smiles all round. He wasn’t grumbling, neither was I, well not until he took his shoes off!

















Here we met ‘Beef Jerky Man’ aka Mark, who shared his ever so tasty beef jerky snacks with me – definitely one for future treks & runs. 
Yummy  O0


 
‘Beef Jerky Man’ looked pretty tough and knowledgeable,
“Ian, we should hang with him?”
“Yeah, and your reason has nothing to do with his snacks?”   :D
 
Ian tried to compete & toughen up.  ;D


 
We passed Mark and headed up pathless towards Loch Meallan an Fhudair, guided by the map… a worrying plan. Sheltered by Beinn Bheng, the breeze died, revealing a pocket of indescribably profound silence, freezing us as if playing musical chairs, eagerly waiting for the music to move you forward, whilst soaking up the natural abundant surroundings.


 
After the climb, Ian nonchalantly descended the valley …. Until he noticed me hanging back, or rather, thankfully my reason for dropping behind, so Ian would see Mark heading 90 degree away from us …
Stubborn he maybe, but Ian knows not to plough on regardless. Swayed by Mark’s Northerly direction, we dipped down to cross the river, steeply coming up to meet a very faint path to Loch an Nid.
 

 
We caught up with Mark, and together easily crossed the river to follow the trail on the Loch’s East side, marvelling at the huge slabs of cascading rocks, conjuring up images of snaking waterfalls after a deluge, though we had no regrets of no rain, enjoying the pleasant warmth of the early May evening as we approached Shenavall bothy, spectacularly enclosed by 5 Monros.









 
Ian’s tent pitch was a bit of a ‘photo bomb’ for others but did give us the most glorious of views.  :)
“Am I bad, that I didn’t feel bad?”   :-\
 


A balmy warm evening encouraged bothy Munro baggers and Cape Trail tent trekkers outside to share tales of wo and wonder, washed down with whiskey, dwarfed by our surroundings.

‘Space immeasurable, size an illusion, distance irrelevant’
« Last Edit: 15:56:08, 10/10/20 by IanyZen »
Good luck on your next adventure
Ian & Zen

Jac

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Re: Mad Dog and an Englishman Go Wild – Cape Wrath Trail
« Reply #35 on: 16:17:38, 10/10/20 »
Aah! good to see you again ZenyIan O0

Day 11 please :)
So many paths yet to walk, so little time left

richardh1905

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Re: Mad Dog and an Englishman Go Wild – Cape Wrath Trail
« Reply #36 on: 16:47:54, 10/10/20 »
Wonderful stuff, Zen. Those quartzite (?) slabs on the eastern flank of Sgurr Ban really are remarkable.
« Last Edit: 19:34:00, 10/10/20 by richardh1905 »
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IanyZen

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Mad Dog and an Englishman Go Wild – Cape Wrath Trail
« Reply #37 on: 18:09:17, 10/10/20 »
Day Eleven
‘Beef Jerky Man’ joined us for the hike up to Corrie Hallie, treats and directional knowhow – I was a very happy pup!  :smitten:
The path surprisingly often described as bleak and featureless was anything but with a rough snaking trail over moorland peppered with oddly shaped peaks.



Mark, searching for more snacks ... please



We descend to a road - not seen one of those for a while



Cheeky sign - I wasn't going fast ..

Then a slow 5km climb, rewarded with a dip,



Before descending we paused to gaze wondrously at our way ahead

 



At Iverlael, we said our goodbye for now to Mark as he took the road option to Ullapool where he was meeting a friend to finish the trail with.
Hope his friend brings more beef jerky.   :angel: 

Just the two of us, we rested & ate by a river. It was 4pm, but still had a way to go . .

“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness” John Muir



Ian got frustrated at the annoying, zig-zagging logging road through the pine forest planation, until he’d enough and spotted an overgrown trail between the trees and we happily plodded upwards until above the tree line to rest once more, when the trail ended & marvel at barrenness of it alll . .



 ‘Yomping’ – defined as walking through pathless long grassed moorland in Scottish Highlands – This was yomping at its best.
 Ian was revelling in the challenge to pick the best line contouring the hill – Meall Dubh, down into majestic Glen Douchary – uniquely stunning. Possibly my favourite.







Campsite of your dreams


Just marking my spot for later, hopefully.



Splendid evening light seemed to last an eternity as we sat, legs dangling over the riverbank edge, enjoying our dinners, with the whole glen to ourselves. Stupendous!
 
Time stretches out enjoyment. It prolongs all that’s great in life.
Big skies, big hills, big views, big moments, creating big memories.
« Last Edit: 18:16:36, 10/10/20 by IanyZen »
Good luck on your next adventure
Ian & Zen

pleb

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Re: Mad Dog and an Englishman Go Wild – Cape Wrath Trail
« Reply #38 on: 19:15:16, 10/10/20 »
Woof! Brilliant!  :)

richardh1905

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Re: Mad Dog and an Englishman Go Wild – Cape Wrath Trail
« Reply #39 on: 19:36:54, 10/10/20 »
Glen Douchary looks wonderful.
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IanyZen

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Mad Dog and an Englishman Go Wild – Cape Wrath Trail
« Reply #40 on: 20:16:36, 10/10/20 »
Day Twelve
Slept like a dream!    :smitten: 
Gauging the direction of River Douchary, with it splitting and fanning out, confused Ian somewhat, and we did a fair bit of river hopping back and forth. I wasn’t in much of a rush to leave the Glen, anyway.
Eventually, we followed the river as it carved out a delightful waterfall laden ravine, Glen Duchary just got more amazing  :) 
















Loch an Daimh soon appeared, and we edge round the southern tip to join a track passing Knochdamph bothy, surprisingly furnished with beds upstairs, but no signs that anyone had stayed for a while.







“Zen, about time you went back to school”
“What? You cannot teach an old dog new tricks!”   :knuppel2:
Didn’t stop Ian taking me back to the classroom, or rather the schoolhouse bothy, which was very clean & hospitable, but without a fireplace.



“Okay then Zen, what can you teach me?”
“Er, that ‘Man is only as cool as his dog!’, and I’m super cool, so keep bringing me along – I make you look real good!”   :coolsmiley:
“I’ll remind you of that next time you squat on someone’s lawn!”                               
I signed the chalkboard while Ian had a nosy around.  8) 



We diverted off the 4x4 track up a lovely forest path alongside the River Einig to Oykel Bridge, to end a gentle day, rewarded with new packages & a stay in their ‘Bothy/Lodge’ attached to the Oykel Bridge Hotel – a quiet private room.



Ian dined in the pub & chatted to anglers, moaning about the low river levels - music to our ears = easy river crossings.  :)

« Last Edit: 20:20:48, 10/10/20 by IanyZen »
Good luck on your next adventure
Ian & Zen

IanyZen

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Mad Dog and an Englishman Go Wild – Cape Wrath Trail
« Reply #41 on: 21:43:10, 10/10/20 »
Thanks Richardh1905, Pleb, Dodgylegs & Jac  O0
Good to be back sharing an old trip, now the days are getting shorter ..
Zen  :)
Good luck on your next adventure
Ian & Zen

IanyZen

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Mad Dog and an Englishman Go Wild – Cape Wrath Trail
« Reply #42 on: 22:09:28, 10/10/20 »
Day Thirteen
Top man, Ian!  O0  … Saved me some sausages & bacon from our first cooked breakfast of the ‘return’ trip.
A leisurely morning stroll along a well-defined path along the banks of the River Oykel, passing quaint fishing huts, picnic tables and ample opportunities for me to have a paddle. Delightful.




Best photo of many attempts




“Hey, Zen how about this for a new home for you?”


I was not amused!  :tickedoff: [

After 5 or 6 km, for some unknown reason the Estate didn’t want us to continue along the river, and diverted us off with a rudimentary sign,

 

 . . . onto a less pleasing route, with all the land stripped bare from felled trees for as far as the eye to see and then onto a thankfully deserted logging truck road
 

 


Back on track, through the estate, towards Benmore Lodge, [/color]the spectacular peaks of Conival and Ben More loomed into view.

 
Some flowers, which was quite rare on the trail





“Hey, Zen this Cape Wrath Trail is becoming relatively comfortable” 
The moment the words left his lips, Ian regretted them. There was no way the Cape Wrath Gods would allow us to complete the Trail thinking it was ‘comfortable’ . . and sure enough the beautiful weather we had been enjoying started to turn …  ::)   



At river crossing, Allt Sail an Ruathair, Ian chatted and grabbed an elderly couple, the only people we met all day, to take a rare photo of us together.






The main track headed towards Inchnadamph … civilisation, we were not seeking, so we headed off adventurously, on a remote path round the back of Ben More.

‘We must take adventures in order to know where we truly belong’

Looking back at the faint path, back passed Loch & peak - Sail an Ruathair -



The trail ahead -


“Ian, I spy a fab wild camping spot by the loch ”  (Loch Carn nan Conbhairean)   O0
The truth be known, I was knackered, and I could sense rain.  ;)
 




 
Another one on my wish list aspirations ticked off – wild-camp by a loch, with the bonus of swirling rain & moody clouds with Eagle Rock Ben More Assyst behind – Ian ‘poled-out’ the tent door for maximum view whilst keeping the rain out as we cooked & ate.
I love the day after a new package – Ian’s keen to reduce the food load, so I get an enormous meal!  :2funny:
– I’ll sleep well, dreaming of more . . . more wild-camps, more views & more food  :smitten: 


ZZZZZZ   :smitten:
« Last Edit: 22:18:23, 10/10/20 by IanyZen »
Good luck on your next adventure
Ian & Zen

Bigfoot_Mike

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Re: Mad Dog and an Englishman Go Wild – Cape Wrath Trail
« Reply #43 on: 06:39:19, 11/10/20 »
Great reports Zen! I was wondering how you managed to cope with spending so much time alone with your human. The sausages, bacon and sleeping bag explain everything. 🥓🥓🥩🥩🦴🦴🏕⛰🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿🌧☀️❄️

Ridge

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Re: Mad Dog and an Englishman Go Wild – Cape Wrath Trail
« Reply #44 on: 09:03:30, 11/10/20 »
Just catching up with the most recent instalments.
Great stuff Zen  O0