Here we go again…

I’m off on another walk around Scotland. This time I’m going on my own… without a tent… with one week to prepare. The evidence suggests that I may still be crazy. I still have the slightly dodgy knee. I’m also still as optimistic as ever, so I’m looking to walk further and raise more than I have done during my previous shenanigans.

The initial plan is to walk the West Highland Way again, spending a bit of time in Glencoe, and doing the interesting bits around and about those parts – so Coire Gabhail, the Aonach Eagach, the Ring of Steall and Ben Nevis.

From there I have yet to decide whether I want to attempt some or all of the Cape Wrath Trail, which would take me from Fort William, up past Ullapool to, well, Cape Wrath. The other option is to do the East Highland Way, from Fort William across to Aviemore, then head from there down through the Cairngorms to Pitlochry before following the Rob Roy Way back down towards my starting point on the West Highland Way. The former sounds more exciting, but is logistically more difficult – in particular the fact I’ll be miles from anywhere and cutting it fine on getting back home in time for work after my holiday. The latter would have more civilisation along the way, which could be considered a good or a bad thing, and is my safe option. At the moment I’m trying to get routes and whatnot sorted for both, and may not actually decide what I’m doing until I reach Fort William.

Now, I think now is probably a good time to remind people that I’m not really some kind of expert outdoorsman. I might have wandered out into the hills before, but I tend to just tend to go with the flow. Over the years I’ve managed to set fire to my (wet) socks and to get lost walking in a straight line (While following a river). On both occasions I had company, so it remains to be seen whether I am more or less likely to court chaos when wandering through the wilderness. Therefore, anything resembling advice that can be found in this blog is merely the result of my own meandering experience and may possibly be not quite entirely correct.

Aside from not knowing where I’m going, I’ve not got all my camping gear together yet and still haven’t got around to learning all those skills that are meant to be critical to wilderness survival. I mean, I can’t tie my own shoelaces, let alone rig up a tarp using fancy efficient knots. My tarp generally stays up, although if you were to ask me what kind of knot I used the response would probably be “tangled”. My view on getting lost is that at least it presents an opportunity to find myself and my ability to get sunburnt is unparalleled (I recently managed to start to burn on a cloudy day in the lakes). On the plus side I do have a couple of handy skills for use when out in the wilds. I can usually set fire to something, it may not be what I intended to set fire to, but at least something is on fire. My other rare talent is being able to sniff out a chip shop within any 30 minute detour of a route. If you’re out in the hills and you need chips, I’m the person to be walking with. I may not be some dashing, seasoned adventurer but I can probably say that out in the wilderness I am no more of a danger to myself than I am usually.

So, here we go, I’m going to be spending three weeks hiking / wandering / limping around Scotland, trying to stay dry, find food and keep you all entertained with this blog. If you do find yourself reading regularly, then please do consider making a donation to UNICEF and wish me luck – I may need it.