Saturday, 29 June 2013
Sunday, 23 June 2013
The pitch looked good, just below the lip of the col, sheltered, I thought, from the wind. Dinner over I settled down to sleep listening to the light patter of drizzle on the nylon just above my head. Then the wind started, roaring down on me, shaking my shelter. The rain was now hard and loud, bouncing off the fabric. As the wind grew I realized I wouldn't sleep so midnight saw me out in the storm moving camp. Just 50 metres further downhill and I was out of the worst of it. A bumpier site but at least I could sleep. I woke to thick mist and continuing rain. A slog up a greasy path and I was on Ben Lui, shared with four others who loomed up out of the cloud, the only other walkers I saw in three days. The Watershed ran down the north side of the mountain. Steep and craggy, this is not a good way to descend in mist and rain. Picking a safe route down ledges, shelves and gullies wasn't easy but it was an intense experience, requiring concentration. Easier, grassier hills followed and then another wet and windy camp. The winds are supposed to ease tomorrow.
The picture shows my first camp on the col below Ben Lui.
Thursday, 20 June 2013
Saturday, 15 June 2013
Following the Watershed across Central Scotland has proved to be more hilly, wild and remote than I expected. Of course there have been roads, railways, farms,industry, and even one town but overall developments are usually some distance away. Wild camping wasn't a problem and I was always hidden from roads and houses. The Watershed twists and turns, touching the south-east corner of the Pentland Hills and doubling back on itself twice in the Campsie Fells. Only around Cumbernauld, the only town on the Watershed, did it feel like I was really in the Lowlands. My main memories though are of the wildlife and the flowers and trees - a roe deer grazing in a forest glade, a badger foraging in an overgrown field, a wonderful dawn chorus, the wild whistle of curlews over rough pastures, fields of yellow buttercups, hills white with cotton grass, lanes lined with hawthorn blossom, the young trees of the new Central Scotland Forest. Nature is thriving in the Central Lowlands. But now it's into the Highlands with Ben Lomond the first Munro on the walk.
Friday, 7 June 2013
Monday, 3 June 2013
After five days I feel this walk has really begun. Already I've had dense mist, heavy rain, knock-you-over winds, hot sunshine, incredibly arduous walking in boggy forest rides, splendid walking on rolling grassy hills, camps in the mist, sunshine, rain and thick forest. Ahead lies the Moffatdale Horseshoe, which should be a fine walk.
The picture of Pikehaw Fell was taken on day three, not long before plunging back into the forest.