Sunday, 3 November 2013

North West Roaring


Torridon & Fisherfield - October 2013 from david hine on Vimeo.


David drove us up north on a Friday after work. The forecast was gale force and I had a cold. Not a promising start. The worst of the weather didn't arrive until our second day out. The first day was wet, but not too windy. But we were shown the full force of the wind soon enough. Our plans changed and we headed for a bothy (Shenavall, one of Scotland's finest). This involved a breach of the trip's continuity, as we made for the car and transferred to the North side of the Fisherfield mountains. 


With the short hours of daylight, every evening we finished our activities in the dark. But the walk into Shenavall from the road was a truly pitch black affair, lit only by head torches in the complete absence of moon or stars. We arrived at the bothy by 9:30 PM and were relieved to shed our packs (heavy because of the 10 kilos of coal and an excessive quantity of cheese we had shared between us in addition the regular backpacking and packrafting gear).

There was some rough backpacking (the best kind of rough), paddling amongst wooded islands on the massive Loch Maree, and a great, great run down a small river called Allt Strath na Sealga. My video camera battery ran out just as we were hitting the river.

One of my favourite things about backpacking in the Scottish Highlands during Autumn is the sound of stags roaring in corries and the glens. The sound was ever present in the hills on this trip. One morning we were awoken at the bothy by a stag making his presence known vocally (just a dozen or so meters from where we slept). And on the only really starry evening we enjoyed, we could hear a large number of them competing in the darkness.

Roaring coal fires in the bothy, roaring stags in the hills, and roaring weather all around. This was my 4th trip to the Torridon and Fisherfield area, and plans are already afoot to return. It really is one of Scotland's  wildest places. 

Slioch looks down on Loch Maree


Landing on Eilean Mor



Taking a break for a brew on one of the islands.




That's the serrated ridge of Liathach in the distance.





Landing on Isle Maree



Camp beneath Corrie Mhic Fhearcher (only space for one Trailstar, between boulders to hide from the roaring wind).




Taking a break on Allt Strath na Sealga


The sun was shining as we were leaving (to be expected!)

13 comments:

  1. That is so good, so, so good. Envies as heck and thanks David. Great vid and trip report.

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  2. it wasn't at all rubbish, that trip, despite the weather and the change of plans. loving the vid as always, apart from the dorky bloke in the blue jacket o course. thanks for the company and showing me the ropes, lets do it again in december...

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  3. Looks great. I've been out on Loch Maree on a SOT kayak and always reckoned it would be worth a trip with the packraft one day. I really must catch up with you guys next year (when the weather is a bit kinder).

    Oh - a wee gear question: are you using drysuits?

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    Replies
    1. On this trip neither of us used drysuits. I have one which I have always used on winter trips, probably I will be wearing it on trips until Spring now.

      Yes, would be great to catch up sometime. Don't be a stranger

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  4. Another great video. Do you have an inflatable buoyancy aid and if so what make? Been looking but not really found anything that I like the look of

    Caroline

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    1. Hi Caroline, I recently acquired a vest (hand made by a friend) which can accommodate Platypus water carriers or other forms of buoyancy. On this trip I used it with Platys in the back and my thermarest prolite (part inflated) folded up in the front. I have a closed cell foam sleeping mat which is made out of the same stuff that trad foam pfds use, and I'm adapting that to use in the vest rather than having to rely on inflatable buoyancy such as platys and thermarest. Until getting this I've always used basic foam pfds (heavy and bulky) and this looks like it will be a real benefit.

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  5. That sounds like a great idea. I know what you mean about the foam pfds. I might need to try some of your DIY ideas. Thanks for the info
    Caroline

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  6. Nice vid David. Looks like you got yourself a better still camera too ;-) Amazing colours. I've also been eyeing up that area, but who knows what the weather permits this time of year.
    Looking forward to more of your adventures.
    Ch

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    Replies
    1. Cheers Chris! If you've got some time to hang around in that vicinity there would be lots of possibilities. But with the water levels being up and down so quickly the trick has gotta be catching the right times.

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  7. ".............we headed for a bothy (Shenavall, one of Scotland's finest)."

    Thanks for the compliment
    Peter Aikman ( Joint M.O. Shenavall )

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    1. Thanks to you and the MBA for keeping the place up! Bothies (especially ones like Shenavall) are important parts of Scotland's mountain heritage.

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