by backpackingbongos

Five days in the sun has left my face as dry as the West Highlands.  After a long period without rain the ground that is not frozen solid has a crispy texture to it.  The rivers have slowed to a trickle and the side streams are dry.  By day the sun beat down under the bluest of skies, feeling warm when sheltered from the biting easterly.  Nights however were brutal, ice silencing the rivers and sending me shivering into my sleeping bag  Whilst the rest of Scotland has been groaning under the weight of snow, this remote land on the other side of the Corran ferry is largely snow free.  My plans to do a long glen backpack quickly changed as I decided it was essential to get high.  I am glad that I did.


Looking towards Ben Nevis from the summit of Sgorr Craobh a Chaorainn.


The splendidly long, remote and beautiful Cona Glen.


Looking north from the summit of Bealach an Sgriodain at dusk.

It was the Easter weekend and I passed one other hiker in five days.  Just how I like it.

32 Comments to “Dessicated”

  1. If there was a choice between *like* (lame) *love* (smooth) and *awesome* (american) my vote would be *bloody brilliant* (welsh) ^_^

  2. Jackpot was truly hit there James!!!!!!

    • Could not believe my luck with the weather Martin, it was pretty much perfect. Great to get high up in conditions like those.

  3. Beautiful! I can feel the cold from your photos. Do these hills ever turn green?

    • Hi Alison, it was very penetrating at night. Brrrrrr. Come June and the Scottish hills are almost tropical in their greenery, can make the walking a bit tougher through the lush vegetation in the glens. And the dreaded midge comes out………………..

  4. Only one hiker in five days! Good job you did not go to the Lakes – it was heaving in some places. A lot more pics to come I hope.

    • Plenty more photos to come David. I almost cursed that hiker for spoiling my solitude! I think that the Lakes at Easter would have driven me insane. Then there would have been the traffic………………..

  5. Looks a touch wonderful, that!

    All is dessicated and sunny here on Lewis too – it’s a hard life…

    • I have to admit that I am rather jealous of your long trip to the Hebs Chrissie, you have picked a great weather window in which to go.

  6. Magnificent – winter clarity and superb views. I knew the western highlands had received much less snow than farther east but I’m surprised by those photos.

    • I was surprised as well Geoff. Driving down through Glencoe the hills were plastered in the white stuff, yet a few miles away there was almost none. Glad though as it made the going so much easier.

  7. Great photos. The Cona Glen one in particular.

    • Thanks Mark. Standing at its head it re-enforced just how long it is, it continues much further than can be seen in the photo. Great place.

  8. One hiker, one more than we saw in the next glen over 4 days. It was an amazing weekend. Shame we didn’t meet up but totally understand your desire for solitude and a high camp. Look forward to the full write up to compare and contrast 🙂

    • I did mean to ask the guy I saw if he was your mate as he did not have a pack with him. Assumed he must have been wildcamping nearby as I was in a very remote spot. I was on the way to meet you but suddenly found a great area to camp where the sun had softened the ground, water nearby. I then spent a splendid afternoon climbing a nearby Corbett. Look forward to your trip report. We will have to plan an overnight trip this summer Andy.

  9. Great photos, we nearly did a walk in that area but ran out of time during our trip to Scotland. We saw only a handful of people during ten days hiking. Would love to return to the area mentioned above. Know what you mean about the dryness, we all ended up with sore throats from the cold dry air, all the bogs were dried up, the tussocks tinder dry and rivers so low they could be crossed in most points. The hill I intended to climb for my birthday had been burnt down in a fire.

    • Hi Ruth. It was certainly unusual to have such dry air, my nose was constantly running with the inside being irritated. It’s great being in an area with so few people, love it. The wild fires had me worried whilst there, could see a few flumes of smoke.

  10. Getting high was certainly the right choice and three pictures are worth a thousand words. What a genuinely fantastic set of images – true Scottish mountain atmosphere. Lovely stuff James. Another great backpack.

    • Cheers Maz. The light and scenery took care of those images, they came out of the camera like that. Unfortunately I will still inflict on my readers the usual few thousand words as I just can’t help myself!

  11. Wild fires can be scary, we had one get very close to the path in Snowdonia once, arrived back at the car in time to meet the fire service heading back up the hill. The smoke was incredibly acrid & viability limited in the smoke. Glad we didn’t get too close to the fires this time round. Glad they haven’t hit any homes and have been caught in time. Just finished doing my blog of our first week, no idea how you find the time to do yours, taken me nearly all day. I already want to go straight back to Scotland 😦 This was our best snowy walk

    • Something that I never want to come across Ruth, I can imagine how fast they can spread when it is windy. I’m actually a bit behind in my blogging now, takes a long old time to write a post eh? I’ll check out yours…………….

  12. Excellent report as usual. Even with the cold, still can’t believe how lucky you were with the weather. So jealous…we are now trying to find a space in our calendar for this route. It just shows that the high tops aren’t always the best. Waiting in anticipation for the rest of the report!

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