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Knoydart - Familiar ground

We're off to Knoydart on Friday, weather permitting!! This place has had a magical pull on me since I first discovered it back in 2001. That first trip was a wilderness taster to get me ready for a tramping trip to New Zealand. I really was a novice back then and I had the huge backpack to prove it. Carrying it from Inverie over to Barrisdale Bothy was not the most enjoyable experience I had had in the hills.Neither were the ferocious midges or the 10hr beasting on Ladhar Bheinn. It didn't detract from the fact that the place had grabbed me and I knew it wouldn't be my only visit.

It was five years before I had the chance to go back, this time it was an "organised "affair staying at the Foundation Bunkhouse. There were 24 of us from the club all with varied plans of what we wanted to do but the weather wasn't playing ball at all. It was typical west of Scotland stair rod rain that kept coming for 3 whole days. It was a May Bank Holiday so we weren't the only tourists there. There was a stag party who had there tents washed away at Barrisdale and decided to retreat to the village. The Old Forge welcomed us all. We made the most of their great food and excellent beer soon getting to know the locals, well we were spending a lot of time in there.  We did offset our excesses by having the pleasure of participating in the first ceilidh of the season, oh how you have to be fit for a good ceilidh.  No hills on that visit but what I did get was to experience a fantastic community.  I promised not to leave it so long to the next visit.

December 2008, I was looking for something a wee bit different for Steve's birthday Accommodation on the peninsula is not always the easiest to get. People love the place and will book early to go back, partly the reason why we've tended to go off season. Knoydart Lodge  had a special offer on but it was the scallops wrapped in bacon for breakfast that sold it for me.  This time the weather gods had given us something special, we had snow down to sea level. It was the first time that I had walked on a snowy beach. The hills looked magnificent. Ladhar Bheinn was the target but with short winter days and long walk ins it wasn't to be. This was a hill I wanted to properly enjoy so it could wait for another visit. Again the community welcomed us in, spooky when someone remembers who you are from just a couple of visits years apart. What fun we had at the first "film night" in The Pottery Tearoom munching venison stew and deep fried Mars bar while watching Still Game and Restless Natives with a "carry out" from The Old Forge, magic.

Blue sky winter's day Coire nan Laogh heading towards Ladhar Bheinn
Sgorr Coire Choinnichean from An Diollaide
Sgorr Coire Choinnchean, Luinne Bheinn, Meall Buidhe, Beinn Bhuidhe

When we started discussing where to go for our spring/summer escape week I had a very short short list and we were lucky enough to find that we could get accommodation.It may have been late June but again west of Scotland weather meant limited hill time but what we did was magical as ever.

Lord Brockett's Monument
Looking onto Loch Nevis from the ridge of Sgurr Coire Chonnichean
Sitting outside The Old Forge

Heading down into Coire Odhair
It was during that trip that we got a sneak peak at the still being constructed Knoydart House. I had been following Jackie's blog of the build so knew what this luxury house was going to offer. I so wanted to stay there. OK February aint the best time to fully experience Knoydart but I wanted to go there for my birthday and some friends decided they'd like to join us. The still recovering knee means no hills for me but camera is ready for hopefully capturing some of the special wild life they have there. So praying for that weather window of opportunity to get over and who cares about the rest of it as I have made enough goodies to stop us starving, we have a pub that knows we are coming with scalllops at the ready and that hot tub has my name on it


  1. Knoydart eh? I truly magical place, had a 5 day solo up there in 1997 and have never forgotten it :-)


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