Back-door-step backpacking (almost)

Loch Neaty - Loch Bruicheach walk

This is the first in what may be a series of backpacking trips starting from home. Living as we do on the edge of the forest and moorland above the Beauly Frth I’d thought I’d like to attempt a few mini backpacking trips walking from, and returning to, our home with no transport except Shank’s pony. Although I’ll admit that I’ve already cheated on this first outing as we got a lift 5 miles to the starting point by a son who was passing that way.
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Three days in the Cairngorms

Tomintoul to Glenmore: Linn of Avon to Fords of Avon

The weather forecast was not looking good for my planned mid-week trip in the Cairngorms. Rain, wind, and the summits hidden in cloud all 3 days. But I was psyched up to get out there into the hills, so a change of plan was called for. I browsed the maps and decided that I’d tackle a walk in the glens instead of the tops. Neil dropped me off at Tomintoul and I was to spend 3 or 4 days walking back to Glenmore – to be back for the weekend for work.
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Glorious wild Sandwood Bay

When we woke at Sandwood Bay we were delighted to feel the sun warming us in our tent in the sand dunes and see blue skies stretching over the ocean and the inland hills.

Sandwood: Breakfast cuppa

I ran out on to the sand and immediately wanted to do cartwheels on the sand, but I’ve never been able to do cartwheels even when a wee girl(!), so started my morning with some yoga on the beach. This was much needed to stretch stiff muscles from carrying my full rucksack the previous day and sleeping on the Thermarests.
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Backpacking to Sandwood Bay

Sandwood Bay is said to be the best beach in the UK …or is it Europe? Either way, despite this accolade it will always remain fairly quiet because it is in a very remote location. To get there involves a long drive to the end of the road in north-west Scotland (along miles of single-track road with passing places) and a five mile trek across rough, boggy, windswept moorland.

Sandwood Bay

The track starts off deceptively easy – even with all the rain we’d had on Monday


but we were soon crossing the edge of lochs,
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The Rough Bounds of Knoydart

A change of plan means we are free to organise a 4 or 5 day trip away in two weeks time. I had thought of returning to Knoydart, as I’ve still got hills there I wish to climb, but I found out that the weekend of 17th – 19th April they are holding a music festival to celebrate 10 years of the community buyout. I like music festivals, but I’d prefer to see Knoydart when it is not crowded.

Never mind, plenty more wonderful places to choose from over in the west.

I thought I share with you a few notes from my last trip to Knoydart when we had a couple of day of sunshine in June a couple of years ago.

Knoydart is a remote peninsular of wild land (or at least about as wild as it gets in the UK) . The only way to the area is a 13km hike along a narrow path to the north of the peninsular or a ferry to the south side. Even the road to the start of the path is pretty spectacular.

Approaching Kinloch Hourn
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