Thursday 8 August 2013

Camping on the Scottish Watershed Walk

One of the joys of backpacking is camping out in wild places and spending nights close to nature. On the Scottish Watershed I had forty such nights in a wide variety of habitats and a wide variety of weather. Only once did it look as though anyone else had ever camped where I did before so these really were wild sites. Here's a selection:

May 28. First camp. With Peter Wright in mist and rain on Deadwater Moor close to Peel Fell and the start of the Watershed

May 31. On the col between Comb Hill and Wisp Hill in the Southern Uplands

June 5. Morning. Camp with Tony Hobbs below Lochraig Head in the Southern Uplands.

June 5. Evening. Camp with Tony Hobbs in the Risingclaw Burn glen in the Southern Uplands

June 9. Camp in dense forest in the Gladsmuir Hills in the Central Lowlands

June 12. In the Kilsyth Hills looking towards Tomtain, Central Lowlands

June 18.Camp in the rain near Loch Katrine in Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park

June 19. Camp between Parlan Hill and Creag Bhreac Mor in Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park

June 22. My second camp in very stormy weather on the bealach between Ben Oss and Ben Lui. I moved my first camp at midnight as the wind threatened to rip the Trailstar off the mountain. This camp was 50 metres lower. Still very windy but sheltered enough for me to get some sleep.

June 25. Evening. On the Bealach Breabag below Ben Alder

July 5. Stormy weather above Loch a'Bhealaich, West Affric

July 8. On the bealach between An Cabar and  Creag Dhubh, west of the Fannichs

July 10. Just out of the cloud in the Fannichs. Sgurr Mor in the background.

July 14. In Rhidorroch, above the Clar Lochans.

July 16. Above Gorm Loch Mor in Assynt.

July 21. Last camp. In the vast expanse of the Flow Country.


  1. Nicholas Brooks9 August 2013 at 00:07

    Lovely set of photos Chris, very inspirational and makes one tempted to try out the Trailstar! Your Fannich pic reminds me of a camp I had at the west end of the ridge, by the lochan on the col north of Sgurr nan Clach Geala ... perfect views over a cloud inversion to An Teallach.

  2. Wow!! How did I miss these! Great pitches. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Beautiful photos! Thanks for sharing! :)

  4. Pitching porn! Some lovely sites. I always take at least one photo of every camping spot I use.

  5. Lovely pitches indeed! That rucksack looks like the Lightwave Ultrahike! How did you get one with it?? Also, what's your secret re ticks? Some special repellent? And do you have a bivy with a mesh? I'm not sure I'd be happy to camp so low in a TS in the summer with all the ticks around. Other than that, feeling quite envious of all those great pitches (I know, you got lots of wind and rain too!).

  6. It is the Ultrahike and it was very good. I didn't do anything about ticks and didn't pick any up as far as I know. I had an Oookworks mesh inner tent to keep out midges. This isn't a bivi but a proper inner with good headroom.

  7. Thanks for the info re the Ultrahike. I've got one myself but still haven't used it in anger (I bought it for a week-long trip around Loch Monar that I haven't yet got round to doing!), good to know it did its job well.
    Aha! I hadn't spotted the mesh inner in the pictures. You were all right then, like being in a tent. Looking forward to reading your full report!

  8. Did you have your Kestrel weather reader with you on the walk? What was the wind speed when you had to move the Trailstar at Ben OSS?

  9. John, I did have my Kestrel with me but I didn't use it that night. Just moving camp in heavy rain and those winds at midnight was quite enough! I estimate the wind speed to have been in the 50-60mph range. The problem was that it was arriving in big gusts, following by calm, then another big gust.

  10. Hi Chris, I love your blog but do you anywhere have a detailed description of the watershed walk? I've got the Ribbon of Wilderness but am curious particularly about any problems you had with navigation. Has anyone yet produced a GPS trail of the walk?

  11. Hi Roger, Ribbon of Wildness is the most complete description of the Watershed as far as I know. No-one has produced a GPS trail. There are some places where navigation is difficult because the Watershed isn't well-defined. The terrain is more of a problem though, at least in some places. Did you see this blog post about the navgation and terrain?