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.

Category: Lochaber

Starting independent touring of Scotland

24th March 2017

Prior to August 2001, my outings in Scotland were day trips or I set off with someone else. A conference in Aberdeen was attended with a university colleague and an annual trip to Highland Perthshire was with a university group. Then, there was a few days in August 1999 when I showed my brother some of the sights that I had seen on day trips and a few more with them.

A Family Outing

That last outing began from Edinburgh and took us to Fort William where we spent a night before exploring Glen Nevis the next day. Our late afternoon arrival meant that there was some time for a stroll along by Fort William’s shore after an evening meal at the Ben Nevis Bar. The town turns its back to the sea so it was up what lay across Loch Linnhe to assuage any lack of scenic glamour despite overcast skies lying overhead.

Next morning after breakfast, we parked in the Braveheart car park before setting off for a stroll along the road through Glen Nevis. The pace was to be a gentle one and I have no recollection of there being much road traffic as we went as far as the Water of Nevis car park. Though this was before I took up hill walking, my brother asked about how long it would take to walk up and down Ben Nevis. Seven of eight hours came the reply and I wonder at the naivety of our deciding against the proposition on the basis of the time we had. Nowadays, I would be thinking in terms of experience, conditions and equipment and that also would be the order on which I would base my decision.

The attentions of midges meant that we did not linger too long around the Water of Nevis. Also, we wisely did not proceed further along and the presence of a disturbing sign would have made sure of that. It was a few years later when I finally went a little beyond it and I maintained control of my ambitions even with the equipment and experience gained in the meantime. This is wild country that commands respect and is not something for a spur of the moment decision of a casual tourist.

We retraced our steps with a stop at a cafe so there was no rush in our movements. On returning to our car, we set off for Oban. Skies had been grey overhead all day but they now were to darken and bring rain. Scotland was to show its less favourable side that evening. Nevertheless, we still sought food that evening and pottered about Oban too. The rain must have passed sufficiently to allow this. We also figured out what to do the next day: a tour of Mull and Iona.

The weather next morning showed that we were not to see Scotland under sunny skies. Still, we crossed to Mull by ferry before catching a coach to Fionnphort with the driver providing commentary laden with dry wit. A mention of the once regular arrival of wet newspapers onto the island at Grass Point remains in my memory and does the description of the, at times single track, road as the island’s answer to England’s M6.

Once at Fionnphort, we crossed to Iona in dry conditions. Skies remained grey but were strolling Baile Mòr without any wetting. We also visit the restored abbey buildings so we would have been under cover for a time too. Still, it was good to have respite while we were there and we reversed our outbound travel to get back to Oban again.

From Oban, we headed to Balloch where we stayed the night. Sadly, we arrived too late to walk along the shore of Loch Lomond in daylight. In any case, we would have some of it while in the way there. Next morning, we continued to Stranraer where we crossed to Ireland and I got a short stay over there before returning to Edinburgh again.

Going Solo

Because of starting a new job in England and having to move home, there was no Scottish touring in 2000. Though it remains the wettest year on record across Britain, my recollections of the summer are not in agreement with the statistic. The autumn that year was another story and I soon learned not to cycle the five or six miles to work in Cheshire rain.

Being lonesome after life in Edinburgh, I resolved to return from time to time and it is something that I still do. There was a weekend visit in November 2000 when I stayed with a friend up there. That became a regular feature for a few years and it was to another friend that I came to stay in August 2001. That was to be a jumping off point for another tour of Scotland, travelling solo this time around.

After arriving in Edinburgh on Monday afternoon and spending the night there, I headed off to Skye on Monday afternoon after spending the morning sorting out my accommodation arrangements. After the sunshine of the previous evening, it was under grey skies that I set off on a Scottish Citylink coach to Fort William. On the way there, we were to pass through heavy rain but it was drier if still grey when I reached Fort William. Bright skies were to persist for the onward journey to Portree though there was a sense of stormy conditions whenever any showers came our way.

The Quiraing from near Staffin, Trotternish, Isle of Skye, Scotland

Eilean Flodigarry, Trotternish, Isle of Skye, Scotland

The following day could not be more different for it came fabulously sunny. Having not been there before, I chose to head for the Trotternish by bus as far as Culnacnoc. From there I trotted along the road as far as Flodigarry and lots of little places like Staffin and Brogaig were passed on the way. Though the road walking left me footsore, there was next to no traffic so I could soak in my surroundings. The gorgeous weather and scenery also meant that my Canon EOS 300 got plenty of use and I made sure that I had enough film this time around. It made a good introduction to the place and I returned to Portree by bus.

After another night on Skye, I caught the bus to Armadale where I caught a ferry to Mallaig. Memories of any sights of Knoydart and the Small Isles are lost to me know but there was some sunshine. Skies were greyer around Mallaig and I travelled from there to Glenfinnan on the Jacobite steam train, a rather expensive endeavour to me at the time. Photography was limited by the sun but I still got a stroll to the shore of Loch Shiel, albeit pulling a heavy trolley bag after me. From Glenfinnan, I got to Fort William on a more ordinary train before catching a Scottish Citylink coach to Oban where I stayed the night.

My third visit to Mull took place next day and I left most of my luggage in safekeeping on the mainland while I made for Tobermory by ferry and bus. Sunshine was rather hazy but I still tried my luck with making some photos of Tobermory with somewhat pale skies. My long SLR photography lesson was only beginning so there was a lot left to learn. Returning to Oban by bus and ferry, I retrieved my luggage and caught the coach to Glasgow. Once there, I continued to Edinburgh on another.

This was the English and Welsh August bank holiday weekend so I stayed there until that Sunday. Saturday came grey so I went shopping for better walking footwear at Tiso and came away with a pair of Columbia trail shoes that I still have somewhere today. They complemented the pack of thick socks that I bought in Tobermory just the day before. It is amazing what sore feet cause you to do.

Sunday morning was spent around Edinburgh and it all felt autumnal. Any photos that I tried making then reflected that more than what I believed I was seeing at the time. It was later that I set to travelling south again and the bank holiday was to see me trying out my new footwear on a trail by Grindsbrook Clough near Edale in Derbyshire. An interest in countryside walking was beginning.

Glenfinnan revisited

4th May 2015

This is the last instalment in my report of walks around Glen Coe and Lochaber during a hot weekend in July 2013. My day spent around Beinn a’ Chrùlaiste has been recounted already and , on returning to Fort William that evening, I was pondering something easier for the next day. After all, it too was likely to be another hot one and some lower level walking was in order. What came to mind was reprising an out and back stroll along Loch Shiel that I had done under cloudy skies in January 2011. With blue skies and sun, more photos might be had and I headed over to Glenfinnan for some gentler Sunday afternoon strolling.

The train timetable allowed me a chance to attend to some needs in Fort William before I headed off for the afternoon. The train passed some alluring scenery on the way around Loch Eil and took its time going over the world famous Glenfinnan viaduct to give passengers a chance to have a look look around them. Some may have made photos though anything taken through a train window can be no substitute for being outside, especially with glare caused by bright sunshine.

Glenfinnan Monument, Loch Shiel, Lochaber, Scotland

On arriving at Glenfinnan train station, I did not hang about though its café was open and started on my way down the A830 towards my rendezvous with Loch Shiel. Folk were filing into the little Catholic church for 13:00 Sunday Mass as I passed so life for locals was going on as ever. In contrast, my initial destination was the monument at the head of the loch that commemorates the raising of the standard that heralded the start of the Jacobite campaign that ended in defeat at Culloden. This was my first time seeing this in sunshine after the aforementioned winter visit in 2011 and a summertime encounter in 2001 while en route from Portree on the Isle of Skye to Oban, via Fort William and preceding a flying visit to Tobermory on the Isle of Mull.

Lochan Port na Creige, Glenfinnan, Lochaber, Scotland

Leaving that lonesome memorial to an ill-fated act of rebellion that caused the momentary outlawing of Highland culture, I went as if to return to the A830 but took a path shadowing it in order to reach the track along the southern shore of Loch Shiel. This was something that I found on the previous visit in 2011 and signs were in place showing that it was the work of Forestry Commission, a then poignant note given the ongoing uncertainty about the future of publicly owned forestry land. Since that time, public protest materialised that made the U.K. government back down so all is looking brighter than it once did. Not only is there a good path but the handiwork also includes duckboarding over soft ground and a bridge over the Callop River too. All this usefully negates the need for a long schlep along the A830 to reach the track leading from Callop to Loch Shiel.

Eilean Ghlean Fhionainn, Glenfinnan, Lochaber, Scotland

The covering of forestry over the path from the monument to the track may have been sketchy in places but what was there offered some relief from the heat of the day. Increasingly from then on, the tree cover decreased and, soon enough, the oppressive heat was inescapable. Unlike my day around Beinn a’ Chrùlaiste, there was to be no puff of breeze to offer respite and the surrounding greenery along with any body of water looked a little delicate in the strong sunshine. Nevertheless, I made steady progress while relishing what lay about me.

Meall na h-Airigh & Loch Shiel, Glenfinnan, Lochaber, Scotland

The track down the side of Loch Shiel never is heaving with folk but I got the sense that it was less attractive to active folk than otherwise might have been for I had it to myself for most of the time. On that January visit, parties of cyclists had been out and about but there were none to be seen this time around. In fact, the only person I remember seeing was a lone jogger and I marvelling at how she coped with the heat. Given that my spirit needed healing after the loss of my mother, solace from solitude was what I needed so I was not complaining at all in the still atmosphere.

Meall a' Bhainne & Meall na h-Airigh, Glenfinnan, Lochaber, Scotland

Meall a' Bhainne & Sgorr nan Cearc, Glenfinnan, Lochaber, Scotland

Sgorr nan Cearc & Sgorr Craobh a' Chaorainn, Glenfinnan, Lochaber, Scotland

For much of the way, I found that rocky topped hills ascended steeply from just beside the track but things spread out a little around Guesachan where Allt Coire Ghiùbhsachain flowed into Loch Shiel after a short journey or two to three kilometres taking it on a steep descent from just under nearby Sgùrr Ghiùbhsachain and Sgorr Craobh a’ Chaorainn. It was the latter that took up more photography time and others doing the same included Meall a’ Bhainne, Sgorr nan Cearc and Meall na h-Airigh, all of which faced the right way away from the sun so lens flare could be avoided. The sight of each of these felt worth recording before I continued further along the loch.

Looking towards Glen Finnan & Sgurr nan Coireachan, Glenfinnan, Lochaber, Scotland

Two factors might have me turning around prematurely to head back to Glenfinnan. One was how hot the day felt because the lack of any cooling breeze certainly made walking a little less pleasurable that it otherwise might have been. Then, covering steep untracked ground the preceding day had me wondering what my legs could manage. Even without either of these, I have a tendency for possible overcaution anyway because the return leg can be quicker than the outbound one. Sometimes, it is because height is being lost rather than gained and this was not one of those so it probably was down to seeing the same sights again and being able to leave the camera aside to continue onward.

In retrospect, this would make a good track for off-road cycling and the slightly faster pace would do it no disservice either. Then, I could travel further along before turning around and still enjoy the peaceful ambience. Interestingly, I saw some folk do something like that on my previous January visit so it remains a possibility for the folding bike that I have acquired since then.

Glenfinnan Viaduct from Torr a' Choit, Glenfinnan, Lochaber, Scotland

After coming back from my stroll by the shore of Loch Shiel, I escaped out of the heat into the National Trust for Scotland visitor centre. Mainly, this was a café visit but a few souvenirs were acquired in the shop too. After being indoors for a while, I pottered out again and found my way to the top of a hillock behind the visitor centre called Torr a’ Choit. From this spot, I suspect that many a photo over Loch Shiel has been taken but such an errand needs to be a morning one and the sun was obstructing any such designs for my afternoon visit so I satisfied myself with photos of scenes around Glen Finnan with its world famous railway viaduct. Up close, this concrete structure is not such a thing of beauty but the setting is gorgeous and, when viewed from a distance, it does nothing to diminish its location.

Beinn an Tuim and Glenfinnan Viaduct, Glenfinnan, Lochaber, Scotland

Looking towards Ben Nevis, Glenfinnan, Lochaber, Scotland

After lingering a good while around Torr a’ Choit, I made my way towards the railway station. Now that I recall this, I wonder why I did such a thing as early in the day as I did for there was quite while to go before the train was due to arrive. Maybe I thought that my speed of travel was not so speedy after strenuous exertions the day before. While at the train station, I noticed signs for waymarked walks and, with an increased sense of distance, I now chanced following one of these. It took me a little higher but nothing like the sort of heights that I had scaled on the preceding day. Nevertheless, some of the views took the eye over greater distances with even the distinctive profile Ben Nevis making an appearance. Mostly, the scenic delights were local to Glen Finnan as I dropped down towards the railway viaduct and made my way back towards the road again to retrace my steps. Temperatures were a little cooler than earlier so there were others strolling about at lower levels and the sun worked its magic on the surrounding hills and glens.

Back at the train station for the last time of the day, I awaited that train back to Fort William. An easier day had not meant one with less mountain scenery to enjoy and being able to take things more slowly was something to relish too. Life in preceding months had been a roller coaster ride and there was more to follow. Getting any respite immersed in glorious hill country only was going to help and my visit has remained in my memory as much to coax a return as to bring a reminder of calm when life goes through one of its rough moments.

Travel arrangements:

Return train journey from Fort William to Glenfinnan.

A day spent around Beinn a’ Chrùlaiste

19th April 2015

My first memory of passing through Glen Coe dates from May 1998. It was Scottish Cup Final day and Heart of Midlothian won the match. My mind was on other things and I was making my first ever trip to Fort William. It was not the sight of Rannoch Moor that stays with but that of seeing mountains emerge from the surrounding near level ground. At the time, it both gobsmacked and mesmerised me with the splendid sunshine falling on these marvels. In all my years in Ireland, I had not come across anything like this sight and I likened up to an upside egg carton. The analogy still remains with me now and my experience was a powerful next step from occasional incursions into Highland Perthshire that exposed me to what lies around Loch Tay. The way that the Tarmachan ridge extends and the shape of Ben Lawers were nothing like their western counterparts. In fact, they were more like Macgillycuddy’s Reeks in profile and I had glimpsed those a good few times thanks to my parents’ escapades.

For all the wonder of Glen Coe, it is striking that my visits to this part of Scotland have not been as frequent as those to other places. That now seems a travesty when I come to think just how many times that I passed along the A82 that goes right along the glen. Maybe it has been a payback that I did not have so much look whenever walking trips did take me there on foot. The first of these was a trot south from Kinlochleven along the West Highland Way on a day in August 2002 when clouds gradually hijacked the sky. The evening before had been spent in Glen Nevis so I was not offering any complaint.

It amazes me now to think that I played with the idea of going from Kingshouse Hotel to Kinlochleven via Beinn a’ Chrùlaiste on a day that was as warm as the one on which I was planning a walk from the head of Glen Coe; this was during July 2013 when a heatwave came our way. However, there was another person who alighted near Kingshouse Hotel who had it in mind to walk from there to Glencoe village. It certainly would make for a lovely walk if it existed, apart perhaps from any hubbub of road traffic along the A82. As things stand, the National Trust for Scotland have been improving things near the aforementioned village so it might be a thought for the future.

Buachaille Etive Mor, Glen Coe, Lochaber, Scotland

It did not take long for the few of us who got off the coach to disperse and go our separate ways. My choice of route was to ensure that there was plenty of undisturbed peace coming my way for the rest of the day. Some may find the expanse of Scotland’s Highlands intimidating but they do offer plenty of spaces where life’s hustle and bustle can feel very far away indeed and that is what makes them so special for me. Even on the walk in from the A82 to Kingshouse Hotel did not feel so crowded and this was along a snippet of the West Highland Way too. That left me with plenty of opportunities to stop and take in the views that surrounded me and Buachaille Etiive Mor especially drew my photographic attention even though I had seen it loads of times in other people’s photos.  Sometimes, there is never any harm in having a memento of your own to have afterwards and everyone gets different weather and lighting too.

Later, I left the West Highland Way after me beyond the hotel and made my day even quieter than it had been up to then. In fact, it was to be a good few hours spent with hardly a soul going my way and a bit of peace and quiet immersed in glorious scenery was just the tonic for me. First, I went a little along the track towards the Black Corries Lodge before leaving it to follow Allt a’ Bhalaich uphill towards Coire Blalaich. Though the steep south-western slopes of Beinn a’ Chrùlaiste would have offered a way up to its summit, I chose to continue towards the bealach between it and nearby Meall Bhalach. Though the day was growing even hotter, there was a cooling breeze that counteracted the growing heat so my slow steady progress over trackless ground was pleasant enough. Of course, the surrounding views helped too.

Blackwater Reservoir from Beinn a' Chrùlaiste, Glencoe, Glen Coe, Scotland

There was no let up on the gradient for the last stretch onto the bealach and I ended up a little higher than the 629 metre high saddle point too. In the clear conditions, this more freestyle approach to navigation was no trouble and it further opened up views over Blackwater Reservoir too. Poring over maps afterwards, I came to the conclusion that I was being granted views of all sorts of hills to the north me. Even the Grey Corries were within sight and I reckon that both Stob Coire Easain and Stob a’ Choire Mheadoin appear above too and these are found beyond Loch Treig! One Mayday bank holiday weekend saw me traipse from Corrour train station to Spean Bridge underneath these and that gives me at least a little sense of how this crumpled landscape fits together.

Mamores, Grey Corries and Blackwater Reservoir, Kinlochleven, Lochaber, Scotland

The distance from the bealach to the top of Beinn a’ Chrùlaiste felt longer than I had expected and I now reckon that my less direct approach had added at least a kilometre to my walking distance. As I picked my towards the trig point at the summit, there were plenty of northward views to keep me busy, even if photographic efforts were bedevilled by heat haze though lens flare could have been a factor too. To see if I could make the results appear more like what I thought I was seeing in reality, I resorted to a Photoshop plugin and the above photo looking over the dam of Blackwater Reservoir has been produced using this. The main bulk of the Grey Corries are to be seen in far distance with members of the Mamores such as Sgór Eilde Beag and Sgùrr Eilde Mòr to their left.

Mamores and BenNevis from Ben a' Chrùlaiste, Glencoe, Glen Coe, Scotland

The additional height around the top of Beinn a’ Chrùlaiste allowed me to do better with working out what I had been seeing on previous trots along the West Highland Way between Kinlochleven and Glen Coe. For one thing, the looming rocky dome of Ben Nevis could be picked out as well as the nearby pinnacle of Carn Mòr Dearg to its right in the above photo. With the position of Britain’s highest mountain established you can start picking members of the Mamores like Na Gruaigaichean, An Garbanach, An Gearanach, Stob Coire a’ Chàirn, Am Bodach, Sgùrr an Iubhar and others. Even some of these may be tentative but that, and the prospect of getting images unblemished by blue heat haze, can be another excuse to return to a fabulous part of the world.

Stob Beinn a' Chrùlaiste, Glencoe, Glen Coe, Scotland

Getting to the top of anywhere is one thing but getting back down again proves that any ascent is only part of the job. This so proved to be the case with Beinn a’ Chrùlaiste even though the initial descent was down gentler gradients with additional views of what lay on the other side of Glen Coe. It was now that Buachaille Etive Mor and the Black Mount began to come back into view as I made my way to Stob Beinn a’ Chrùlaiste with some boggy stretches still not dessicated by the summer heatwave. Things really got steep, with rough sections underfoot, on the way off Stob Beinn a’ Chrùlaiste and I lost any cooling breeze too. Taking things slow and steady was the order of the moment with progress being frustratingly slow at times; nevertheless, it always is better not to become a mountain rescue statistic. As it happens, I have seen one route description for Beinn a’ Chrùlaiste that started up the slopes that I was descended and the author may have had a point in getting these out of the way early for even the descent took a lot out of me and I was glad to be by the side of the A82 again afterwards.

Looking East Along Glen Coe, Lochaber, Scotland

If my designs on getting to Kinlochleven were firm, they could have been behind time after yomping over Beinn a’ Chrùlaiste. There still was a long summer evening ahead and I decided to have a go before letting discretion taking the greater part of valour and returned to the roadside to catch a coach back to Fort William. The blue heat haze may not have dissipated anyway and I have got a lot from the day so extending the walk might have been greedy of me. Nevertheless, staying with the route of the West Highland Way on a day as bright as the one that I got would be a delight and cooler temperatures would enhance the experience; it can await another opportunity. Other stunning sections of the trail such as that between Kinlochleven and Fort William or from Bridge of Orchy to the head of Glen Coe remaining tempting reprises too. There may be more hill wandering around here yet.

Transport arrangements:

Return Scottish Citylink coach journey between Fort William and Glen Coe.

Hot weather escapades with views of Ben Nevis

23rd March 2015

Some may adore sunshine holidays in destinations where scorching temperatures are commonplace but that is not my preference. Childhood memories of the summers of 1983 and 1984 feature sweaty journeys across fields on afternoons with sweltering temperatures and this was Ireland’s south-western corner. Strangely, the higher temperatures of around 30° C experienced around Saint Malo on a school trip in 1989 have no such associations in my memory and I am left to wonder if the coastal location with its sea breezes had anything to do with it. Nevertheless, it is those sultry inland days that have  convinced me earlier that cooler days were more to be my liking.

In spite of that thinking, there are times when the desire to go for a walk with summer sunshine gets the better of me; there was a time when a heatwave was a time when I scotched the idea of embarking on a walking excursion. Much of the time, this has me out in temperatures hovering around 20° C but there are times when those in excess of this are overlooked. The trouble with physical activity on warm days is that staying well hydrated becomes more of a concern. It is all too easy to let yourself go to the point that headaches and other symptoms start to strike so you never can be too careful.

The summers of 2013 and 2014 brought a good share of warm sunny weather to Britain after winters that were either long and cold (2013) or wet and stormy (2014). In some ways, they were not so unlike those from thirty years earlier. Even so, I so needed a getaway after the events of springtime 2013 that I booked in an extended weekend during July that I used to head to Fort William. It was one of those “come what may” bookings and it was hot sunny weather that I got.

Sgùrr a' Mhàim, Glen Nevis, Fort William, Lochaber, Scotland

Travel days were Friday and Monday so Saturday and Sunday were available for spots of exploration. Friday was so hot that train and coach air conditioning could not be but relished. The stifling heat around Glasgow was all the more unmissable as I trotted from Glasgow Central train station to Glasgow Buchanan bus station and Fort William felt similar. Things must have a cooled a little for I wandered out on an after dinner stroll before retiring to bed for the night.

Glenfinnan from Loch Shiel, Lochaber, Scotland

With that in mind, I am not surprised that I went for light strolling around Glenfinnan on the Sunday. Then, I walked a little of the shore of Loch Shiel to reprise a walk that I had done of a Saturday in January 2011. Skies were clearer the second time around and enjoyed the views before taking a break from the sun in the cafe at the National Trust for Scotland visitor centre. After that, I went up the small hill behind it and lingered so as to take in what I could see from the vantage point. That was not all for I stumbled on a walk that dropped from Glenfinnan’s train station down under the scenic railway viaduct that features in many photos and in the Harry Potter films too. Temperatures must have cooled because I only have pleasant memories of these and others were out savouring the surroundings too.

Beinn a' Chrùlaiste and Buachaille Etive Mor, Glen Coe, Scotland

Stob Coire Easain and Stob a' Choire Mheadhoin, Spean Bridge, Lochaber, Scotland

It was the preceding Saturday that saw me being more adventurous. It is something that I ponder with amazement now but the idea of walking from Kingshouse Hotel to Kinlochleven with a diversion to the top of Beinn a’ Chrùlaiste somehow trumped what now looks like my better reason. Thankfully, there was a cooling breeze assisting the ascent and views opened up all around me. What also became apparent was the amount of heat haze that abounded on more distant hills. The Mamores and the White Corries were most affected and I have been experimenting with the Neutralhazer plugin in Photoshop to see what it can do for me. Of course, a day with less challenging lighting would be better and Beinn a’ Chrùlaiste is such a place that a return is worthwhile.

Stob Dearg, Stob a' Ghlais Choire and Meall a' Bhùiridh, Glen Coe, Scotland

On the day, the hill forestalled my plans to go all the way to Kinlochleven. That is not to say that I did not try myself out before going the way of reason. Now that I think of it, the lost golden evening may not have got me much more than I had anyway. The day have been a good one and looking over things now opens up more possible escapades like walking from Rannoch train station to Kingshouse Hotel or even an out and back hike from Glencoe village to the top of Meall Ligiche. The more modest height of the latter could afford some stirring views of higher eminences too so the TGO route idea could be a goer. Repeating sections of the West Highland Way north of Bridge of Orchy also tempts me so Glen Coe may not be see me deserting the place just yet when there is so much more to see.

What I have not done either is say all that I can do about those walks for what was intended to be a single entry has turned into a three part series. Next up is the piece on Beinn a’ Chrùlaiste with that on Glenfinnan set to follow that. Hopefully, those should not be the last you hear of my exploring these areas. After all, there is much left to savour since I barely have scratched the surface and that is after numerous visits over the years.

Travel arrangements:

Return train journey from Macclesfield to Glasgow and return Scottish Citylink coach journey between there and Fort William. Return Scottish Citylink coach journey between Fort William and Glen Coe. Return train journey between Fort William and Glenfinnan.

News of Walking World Ireland

10th November 2014

Everyone can have a hiatus and there has been a long one on here for entries like this one. In my case, it is not as if I have been away from hillwalking. As it happens, I have had more trouble motivating myself to write stuff on here than getting out among hills and there is a growing list of Trip Reports to Come too. What has happened is that procrastination has got in the way of my getting those additional outings shared and it gets worse as the list grows longer. In addition, an old bike of mine has found its way onto rollers in an effort to increase fitness and reduce flab. The former has been a success so far and the latter needs more in the way of effort so the bike trainer will not be left to gather dust like another road bike that I acquired in April but that was taken out on a short cycle between Macclesfield and Buxton yesterday.

Walking World Ireland to Mountain World Ireland

The inspiration for this post though is an email that I unexpectedly received from the publisher and editor of a walking magazine that I thought was defunct: Walking World Ireland. My impressions led me to join Mountaineering Ireland to received its journal, Irish Mountain Log, as a substitute. However plans are afoot to get Walking World Ireland back on newsagent shelves again, albeit under a new guise of Mountain World Ireland. Here is the text of that email:

An apology and announcement to readers of Walking World Ireland

From November 28th:

Walking World Ireland will become Mountain World Ireland

As a subscriber to Walking World Ireland, you’ll have noticed that the magazine has not been published for almost a year now – since the 2014 Annual.

As editor and publisher I want to apologise sincerely for this. We value every reader very highly, and it was only after a prolonged period of business difficulties that the decision to suspend publication was made. Since that moment it has been my clear hope and intention to return WWI to the shelves as soon as possible.

The reason I’m contacting you today is to let you know that the magazine is indeed making a comeback. I’m delighted to be able to say that, and I hope it will also come as good news to you.

From next month, Walking World Ireland will resume publication as Mountain World Ireland. It’s a small change, reflecting a slight but exciting change in emphasis – largely the result of the countless conversations I’ve had with readers over recent months.

Mountain World Ireland will remain at its core a hillwalking magazine, celebrating, as ever, the beauty of Ireland’s mountain landscapes and the pleasures and challenges they offer. But more, it will celebrate the wider world of mountain sports – the people and activities that inspire us as lovers of high places.

I hope and trust that this rebirth will meet with your approval, and will continue to inform, entertain and inspire you as WWI did. I want to thank all of you for the patience you have shown, and for the many, many expressions of support we have received from readers and subscribers. I hope to hear from you again with any comments you may have on our future direction. Anything, in fact, that you have to say.

Finally, I want to assure all of you with unfulfilled subscriptions that we will honour all our outstanding commitments, and if you’re unsure where your subscription stands, do contact me at [email protected] or on +353 (0)86 805 4590.


Conor O’Hagan

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Our mailing address is:
Mountain World Ireland
10 Kickham Road

Some of the sentiments sound familiar so I will wait and see what becomes of these plans. An improving economic situation may help the new venture so I wish it well while intending to savour what is on offer. If anything, the WWI offer had gone a little repetitive so a refresh was needed anyway and a break often can make for a good reboot as has been seen with many a movie franchise. My Irish travel horizons may have been narrowed by life events over there in recent years but there may be a chance to do some explorations of my own yet.

As for the future of this outpost, I hope to get more trip reports shared and the summers of 2013 and 2014 came good enough to lure me out and about on welcome and much needed escapades. Usual haunts like the Scottish Highlands, the Lake District and the Peak District saw incursions along the Gower, Monmouthshire, Yorkshire and Northumberland. The perceived need for better photos drove quite a lot of these and the Lake District photo album is being rebuilt at the moment too. Also, there may have been visits to other places too and there are musings that I wish to mull over on here too once procrastination has been banished.