Archive for March 15th, 2009

March 15, 2009

Planning a Northern Highland coast to coast

by backpackingbongos

This time in 5 weeks and I will be embarking on a coast to coast backpacking trip across the Northern Highlands.  This trip has been in the pipeline for months now and I have finally settled on my route.  I wanted to backpack through the wildest scenery that the highlands have to offer yet cross from coast to coast within a week.  This limited my route to the area north of Inverness where Scotland narrows dramatically and sea lochs cut inland.  I also had to bear in mind that I will be backpacking in mid April and the weather may not be kind to me!  There is a high chance that the high tops will still be plastered in snow and I want to travel as light as possible.  This means taking a lightweight tent, wearing lightweight mid cut boots and not taking an ice axe or crampons with me.  This meant planning a route that sticks to the lower glens with the option of climbing higher if conditions allow.

I have decided to start at the village of Evanton on the Cromarty Firth and finish at Ullapool on the west coast.  I will start by following Glen Glass to Loch Glass via the Black Rock Gorge.  A track alongside Loch Glass will lead to the Abhainn Beinn nan Eun where I plan to wild camp.  The following day will involve crossing rough moorland to get to Loch Vaich where I hope to wild camp by the old cottages of Lubachlaggan.  I will then aim for Glenbeg bothy where I have always fancied spending a night, the area being really remote.  The next part is the crux of the trip where I will cross the remote Corbett of Carn Ban.  I am hoping that the conditions will be right to visit the summit of Seana Bhraigh before dropping down to Coiremor bothy.  An easy day next to Knockdamph bothy before heading to Ullapool via Rhidorroch lodge.

A total of 60 miles split over 6 days.  2 nights wild camping and 3 nights spent in bothies.  I could do bigger mileages each day and knock a couple of days off of the crossing but am savouring just being in the wilds for that amount of time.  The only drawback is the amount of food that I will have to carry – I will have to start dehydrating my own soon!  Lets hope for a mild and sunny April in the Highlands!

Map of route (click for full size)