Colin Wilson has already provided a couple of entertaining stories covering his route up the Inaccessible Pinacle in Skye, and a trail across Rannoch Moor. Now he turns his attention to a key aspect of serious hiking in the Scottish Highlands - the mountain bothy. It's a place where walkers can stay overnight, in simple accommodation, in some of Scotland's remoter areas.
This is how Colin wrote about his visit, in an e-mail to two of his friends with whom he had stayed overnight. He waxes lyrically about the experience of walking into the evening darkness. The photos give an idea of the atmosphere inside, and the terrain outside, in Glenfinnan.
Paul and Steve
I was up at 5:30am the next day for a 7am start. I don't think I got any sleep in the bothy so on Monday I was a total zombie. Still, one arrow, one bow eh? (life is not a rehearsal etc etc).
Top trip. I have decided to start Bothy Baggin' (have I mentioned this before?). I'm going to be the first person to do all the bothies and have my name carved in Scottish hill walking folklore along with Hugh Munro. Somebody may have done it before but that doesn't count 'cause I invented the term Bothy Bagger (patent pending).
You must have made good progress up Sgurr nan Coireachan. I heard Paul's call from the summit shortly after our departure, I was keen to wait and catch up on the gossip but Dave and Ian were on a military style mission fuelled by an irrational fear of descending in darkness. I didn't think that was an issue because the long shoulder of Sgurr Thuilm pointed straight back to the bothy (no tricky navigation required).
As it turned out I fell back on the descent to enjoy the fading light and emerging stars. A lazy descent in moonlight was the perfect tonic to the forced march between the summits. We counted shooting stars, listened to stags rutting (the sound of their antlers colliding was new to me) and watched the moon set and rise again as we progressed our way along Glen Finnan on our way back to the car.
The lasting image of the trip though was of the railway bridge illuminated by a car's headlights against the soft hues of a twilight provided by the waxing moon and the milky way. A priceless mountain moment.
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Contributed by: Colin Wilson