So its been a productive week, delivering another wedding with one more to go by the end of next week. As my attention starts to wander towards October and the adventures/camping I have planned before my birthday! My wife says this is just my way of dealing with turning 30! She's (always) right. Of course planning such escapades requires a fair deal of online delinquency or as I prefer to call it, research! I have decided to drop the idea of making this an Amazon adventure (already) after realising quite quickly that I was essentially turning an adventure into a dreary shopping exercise and what ever way you cut it, that's no fun. As I have always been someone that thrives on working with what you've got, I am now focussing more on where I am going, as really all I needed to purchase was a sleeping bag, decent sized rucksack and perhaps a lightweight cheap tent so thats what I have just gone and done. After a fluke of googling I got a nice Berghaus freeflow 40 Litre back with attachments for £66 (normally £115), a -5C rated sleeping bag for £50 on eBay and the bargain of the week was a used North Face Stormbreak 1 tent weighing in at a svelte 1.5Kg for £60. So that challenge is done and well under budget of the £200 I had set.
Now the distractions are out the way Lets get looking into places to travel to!
1. Isle of Scarp
Top of the list, the uninhabited isle off the west coast of Harris, just behind Huisinis. A friend of mine took a boat out there a few summers ago and waxed lyrical upon it. From what I gather you can hear dolphins and whales come in to shore at night and make themselves at home. I have always had a great interest in abandoned spaces as invariably they carry with them troves of stories and secrets. However the issue I have is transport to the island, as desperately as I want to spend the night here, my former kayak instructors words echo in my mind 'never go out with less than a party of 3' and that just wont do as I want to experience the absolute isolation that only Scarp can offer. This one might need to sit on the back burner for a while till I can source a decent safe boat to take me across.
2. Old Man of Storr (Isle of Skye)
Visited once before fleetingly but was somewhat spoiled by the endless trail of litter bug tourists, hopefully the less than desirable Autumnal weather of Skye will drive most of them away enough for me to get a decent photo this time! I have a fondness for Skye as for me it was like the gateway to the Outer Hebrides before I moved to Lewis and it bothered me I never had the time to mooch around there. I had taken a good solid day in May this year to explore Talisker's Distillery and the famous, now infamous, fairy pools. Infamous for the tourists being more numerous than the midges!
3. The Bonnie Bonnie Banks (Loch Lomond)
My home district, believe it or not, I have never really camped out here, mainly because, well, I lived there! I always went camping away to places like Loch Earnhead or Loch Awe. Camping for me is about getting away from everyone and everything, as obvious that seems, many campers often just cant bare to be too far away from creature comforts and civilisation. I plan on leaving civilisation and filling every inch of my shiny new rucksack with creature comforts, such as whisky! (perhaps I may bestow some of my limited knowledge of whisky on the way?) I placed this last as it's almost as though the time has passed for me to go camping at home given the local authority have essentially all but imposed a camping ban by introducing new by-laws prohibiting wild camping in most of the national park, which is a bit disappointing for me as a local boy. On the other hand from a few videos I have seen on youtube, it almost borders on irrelevant because it doesn't appear anyone is enforcing it and if anything the very behaviour it was intended to deter has only continued. A video by Youtuber Andy Park shows other campers acting somewhat irresponsibly. It has to be done though, I can't turn 30 having never woken up to my Loch!
(I have but not in a tent, FYI)