Outdoor Discoveries

It's amazing how things develop. After all, this blog started out as a news section for the rest of the website. With encouragement from readers, it has become a place for relating my countryside wanderings and musings about the world of outdoor activity. Walking, cycling and photography all are part of what I do out-of-doors and, hopefully, they will continue to inspire me to keep adding entries on here. Of course, there needs to be something of interest to you, dear reader, too and I hope that's the case. Thanks for coming.

A plan is coming into place

7th August 2008

Now that the accommodation side of things has been organised, I think that I can be brave enough to share the scheme for a planned trip to Scotland that now seems to be very much in the offing. The destination this time is the Western Isles and it would be my first visit to these parts. The journey that is coming into place takes me from Skye onto Harris and then to Lochboisdale before I return to the mainland at Oban.

The weather looks as if it could be a mixed bag when I’m up there but it’s hard both to discern the future and to get a sense of the Scottish weather patterns from England anyway. As it happens, I seem to get the sense that those Scottish weather trends sometimes pass by those of us who live south of the border and that might explain how I got surprised by the perfect conditions that I enjoyed when I visited Argyll in May. Nevertheless, so long as ferry crossings are unaffected, there are some dry sunny spells and it isn’t a case of constantly getting soaked, I should be kept happy.

Sketching out some walking ideas is next on the planning to do list. I won’t be spending so much time on Skye but the prospects for some ambling cannot be ruled out. Getting to know a little of Harris, South Uist and what lies in between is the main point of the outing and some promising hill country exists on Harris and South Uist looks promising so I should not be short of ideas. In fact, perusal of the maps and guidebooks that are in my possession is already paying dividends. If rain intrudes on play, having a few “foul” weather alternatives in mind is no load since any wandering that helps me to get know these islands a little will be worthwhile.

Of course, the matter of deciding what to take and what rucksack to use to carry it is ahead of me too. My weighty Karrimor is not in the running so a recently acquired Osprey Aether 60 or my well travelled Atmos 50 could be making the journey with me. The former has on offer its 60 litre capacity but the Tardis-like Atmos cannot be discounted either. Not only did it work very well for me on weekend visits to Lochaber and Argyll earlier this year but other examples have served well on a LEJOG and a two week crossing of Scotland on the Southern Upland Way. Whatever rucksack I take, the weight being carried will need watching since I’ll be travelling about; it’s not as if I will be fanning out from a single base. That weight watching will be balanced against what is needed to cope with whatever weather I meet and any terrain that I’ll be crossing. However, having sorted out a roof over my head for every night, that will help on keeping down the weight that I’ll be carrying too.

Getting ready for that trip up north has followed all the usual patterns for my trips away: arranging transport and accommodation, thinking out ideas for walks, sorting out what to take and doing the packing. Because I am heading for somewhere new and making a number of sea crossings, the planning might be a bit more deliberate than usual but common elements still are shared with a day hike or a weekend away. My preparations are still not complete and may not be so until just before I finally go out that door and set off. Even then, there can remain a certain amount of unfinished business with walking ideas or needing to pick up some needed item on the way. I certainly hope that there isn’t too much of that this time so I need to get cracking on making sure that everything is sorted out before I go.

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