Up until a couple of weeks ago I was going to send off my application for the TGO challenge, something that I really want to do. Then I started to think, hang on that will be two and a half weeks of my precious annual leave gone in one trip. Then I thought that I really cannot wait until next May to go to Scotland again. A plan was hatched. I have now booked the last week off in October (after they have finished shooting deer with antlers) and I am going to spend it in the Highlands. I was there at the end of October a couple of years ago and it was magical. That means that I can then go back at the end of April for another week, maybe to do the Sutherland Trail or another week long coast to coast in the far north.
Excitedly I have just over three weeks and I will be in the Highlands again with the roaring of stags and everything a golden colour. I just can’t seem to make up my mind where to go. I have the campervan but I also fancy backpacking, I also really want to be somewhere stupidly remote. When backpacking late in the year in Scotland I like to have the security of a bothy nearby just in case the weather goes tits up. You just can’t tell what late Autumn may bring. Two years ago I spent a day backpacking in a t-shirt and my underpants as it was so warm – I was in a very remote area of the North west Highlands (I will have to do a trip report at some point) so don’t go thinking that I usually walk in my undies. On the other hand it could be gales and heavy rain, it’s a bit of a lottery.
I came up with a cracking plan of backpacking the Rannoch area from Kinlochleven, stopping off in bothies with a night at the B&B at the remote roadless Corrour stationhouse. They are fully booked all that week, so out of the window with that plan. I now have another idea hatching in my head which involves spending the week on Jura and Islay. I could do a 2 to 3 day backpack on each Island, there are some cracking bothies on some stupidly remote coastline. To get to Jura you have to cross Islay anyway so makes sense to have a look at both Islands. Two short backpacks also means a lighter pack as I can go back to the van and restock food, fuel and clean clothes. Apart from the Paps of Jura there are no real mountains so I can chill and explore the coast instead of feeling the need to get high (in the altitude sense).
I better get the maps out.
Fingers crossed that this current weather holds as another trip to Snowdonia is on the cards this weekend. Anyone else out there suddenly find themselves trying to overcompensate on trips at this time of year knowing that there are many months of darkness ahead?