Home » Hiking » No complaints about winter in the NW Highlands

No complaints about winter in the NW Highlands

“What??? Another blog post so soon?” I hear you gasp. Yes, but don’t get used to it! Yesterday was an absolutely glorious day here and I took advantage of it, and have some stunning photographic evidence to prove it.

Glorious, to me, is sunshine, bright blue skies, snow on the hills, 2 degrees, a slight breeze and enough ice to be crunchy underfoot but not too slippery. Proper snow underfoot would’ve been even better, but I would’ve had to go a lot further afield to get that.

I didn’t feel like a hard walk, nor like going a long way to get one, so I decided to explore a little way up the Rhiconich River. The Cape Wrath trail recommends coming north along the north-eastern side of this river, despite warning that there is quite a deep wade, impossible in spate, across the Garbh Allt (rough river). I’ve always been curious about what this “deep wade” was like, and why they don’t suggest walking along the other side of the river, so I thought I’d have a look.

My walks quite often go like this:
1. First 20 minutes: enthusiasm, enjoyment and optimism
2. Next 30 – 40 minutes: really just wanting to go home
3. From here it either becomes a fairly determined drive to get where I’m going, or settles into a relaxed but steady rhythm.

Quite often it becomes a determined drive because I’ve been over-ambitious with my planning (or simply a little careless with my distance and terrain estimates, like one memorable occasion recently that I’ve told some of you about already!). It’s not that I want to walk really far and fast and work really hard. It’s just that quite often the places I want to go to are a long way away!! And I’m stubborn. And lazy in a crazy kind of way that means if I’m half way to somewhere, I’d rather push on and get there this time, than come back again another day over all the same ground.

Luckily today had no grand goals other than the Garbh Allt and the longest plan (walk to the end of the second loch, Loch a’ Garbh-bhaid Mor, and back up the other side) was easily achievable in the amount of time I wanted to be out walking. Well, it turns out I only just achieved it, . . . but that was with lots of stopping to look at things and generally taking it easy.

I even drove to the start of the walk! This is a big step for me, especially as this is only 2.5km from my house! Normally I would’ve just walked all the way from home. That would’ve turned this into another of those “fun in a really painful, exhausting way” walks.

Thanks to all of that, and a conscious effort to rein myself in and just enjoy the walk rather than having to go further or faster, this was a really enjoyable outing. After 2 hours I was thoroughly relaxed, at peace and incredibly happy. One of the nicest walks I’ve had in a long time.

Oh, and just so you know, the Garbh Allt was a knee high wade for me at normal water levels. I actually had to go upstream a bit so I could cross without getting water in my wellington boots. There is also no reason why you can’t walk up the south western side of the river and lochs so I have no idea why they recommend wading the Garbh Allt instead. The only difficult bit was right at the end near the Rhiconich Hotel where there is a section of forest on the south-west side. This was terrible to walk through. We need more deer to eat the trees down!! (in-joke: there is a big push from some organisations up here to cull more deer to allow more forests to grow back)

And now, on to the photos!

The photos are in chronological order so you can feel like you’re on the walk with me. (This started in slideshow format but I decided I didn’t like it so switched to tiled mosaic display. However, there was resounding positive feedback about the slideshow so I’m putting it back in. Just shows that my viewing habits and requirements are different to yours. Feel free to let me know what you think of slideshow format if you haven’t already. The first photo should be the moss, so wait for that one to come around if you want to watch them in order.)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

20160213_WalkRoute

12km, 4 hrs.

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4 Comments

  1. Bridget says:

    Gorgeous! What a perfect day for a walk! And I love all the photos and the slideshow worked well for me.

    • Helen says:

      I’ve actually taken the slideshow out now because I decided I didn’t like it! I thought it took too long to watch them go through and preferred being able to see them all on the page. Which do you think is better? Oh, and the frozen bog photo was for you, since we were talking about it a while back.

  2. Valeta Pethrick says:

    Absolutely fabulous photos. Gosh, you are going to have muscles in your legs & thighs to die for!!!! Keep your travels coming, I so enjoy reading them. Merlin BTW is looking fabulous. Loved the slideshow too. Much prefer it.

  3. anna says:

    I haven’t even got to your other post and now you done this one! It definitely looked like the perfect day for a hike! So beautiful! X

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