Outdoor Discoveries

What originally was a news section for the rest of the website soon became a place for me to write about human-powered wanderings in the countryside. Photography inspires me to get out there, mostly on foot these days, though cycling got me started. Musings on the wider context of outdoor activity complete the picture, so I hope that there is something of interest in all that you find here. Thank you for coming!

Work in progress

15th March 2009

After walking it in a piecemeal fashion over the course of a few years, I finally completed the West Highland Way in August 2007. Following that and a number of entries on this blog, I set up a West Highland Way section on my photo gallery with a view to completing it with more new photos in the fullness of time. In fact, it has taken until now for me to add photos for the piece between Inverarnan and Bridge of Orchy and there could be more when I get to look at some of the photos that I captured on film about the same time (I was capturing more vistas on film than digitally in those days, a trend that was reversed in the intervening period).

Beinn Dorain & Beinn Odhar, Bridge of Orchy, Argyll & Bute, Scotland

Looking back over photos can set the mind to wandering, and various ideas began to bubble up in mine. For one thing, I am considering re-walking the WHW between Glen Coe and Kinlochleven on a sunnier day than the one on which I actually walked that part of the trail. That would let me acquire more pleasing photos than what I have for it already. It wouldn’t be the first time that I walked a section of the way, since I trekked the section between Kinlochleven and Fort William twice. A cloudy day attenuated photographic exploits the first time around, and the weather that I enjoyed on the second occasion couldn’t have been better. Another part that saw me revisiting was a short stretch east of Tyndrum, and that wasn’t done for any other reason than to make good use of a wait for the next train or bus to come and allow me to continue my southbound journey after a weekend spent in Argyll.

Other thoughts followed, with explorations of the hill country at either side of the way lining up for consideration. One such option was a trek from Inverarnan to Dalmally that I undertook last May, but there remain many others. The hills at either side of Strath Fillan attract attention for one thing and those near Tyndrum, such as Ben Lui and Ben Dubhcraig enticing the mind, if only to confirm what hills are in photos that I already made. Looking towards Bridge of Orchy yields a number of options, with making an ascent of the rounded humps of Beinn Udlaidh and Beinn Bhreac-liath as just one of these. My head for heights is far from being of climbing calibre, so I prefer my hills not to have frightening gradients when it comes to reaching their summits and, more importantly, getting back down again. The location of the twosome in question must mean that appealing views towards the Black Mount and Rannoch Moor are on offer. Then, there’s the prospect of longer walks either through Glen Lyon to Killin or through Glen Kinglass to the shores of Loch Etive, with options from the foot of that glen to continue to Glen Coe or Taynuilt. These options might make for two-day backpacking hikes for when I finally get to add wild camping to my repertoire of outdoors skills, but one also could be seen as a long day walk.

All in all, casting my mind over older outings has yielded ideas for the future and in an area that hasn’t seen my footfall for a while. They might come in handy for an occasion that surprises me with good weather, and it’s never any harm to see a new side of an area that you already visited.


  • Martin Rye says:

    Exploring the hills of the WHW would make for amazing days on the hills. It is a good walk on its own. Add a day to the side exploring hills as you go and wow.

  • John says:

    The WHW can only ever be an introduction to these hills. Once you know where to start, ideas beget ideas and, before you know it, you can never say that you’re anywhere near finished. On one hand, that keeps you coming back for more and, on the other, you quickly get to realise that you’ll never manage to savour it all so you’ll value whatever you get to experience.

  • Mike Franklin says:


    Living down south I finished the North Downs Way last June and promptly started the South Downs Way. For reasons unknown and forgotten, I didn’t get the second stage Exton to Buriton done until last week and it won’t be 9 months until the next stretch after that.

    Anyway, that is a great photo above of Beinn Dorain and Beinn Odhar.


    • John says:

      Yes, piecemeal progress with long gaps seems to be part and parcel of my progress along long distance trails too. For instance, my Pennine Way walking project doesn’t seem to have continued too far in the last year…

      Thanks for the complements on the photo.

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