9th July 2010

Nat’s Big Walk – Malaig to the Isle Of Sky

Chris Parker

Loch

Loch

The most remote pub in Scotland, Knoydart’s The Old Forge across the water from Malaig, does not feel too remote when you’re sat with what appears to be the yachting population of England along with a fair few middle-aged men finding themselves. Beyond there, though, things do get rather remote.

Higland cattle

Higland cattle


I spent three days without any phone signal and very little signs of civilisation, but the mountains were spectacular and the scenery exceptional. The loneliness, though, can be quite debilitating and you can find yourself locked into your mind for long periods.

The maps have obviously been a constant saviour – they don’t do paths up here much so I am navigating by landmarks and OS maps most of the time. I never did orienteering in school so it has been a learning curve!

Skye

Skye

I crossed onto Skye with high hopes but it hasn’t really hit the heights I was expecting. The Cuillin Ridge is obviously stunning but, half way around as I write, it has been a bit of a slog in all honesty and not very walker-friendly. There is a real lack of places to buy food also, but this is something I have found to be universal.

Where has the village shop gone?! Or, even, the village pub! So often I have arrived in villages to discover no shop or pub, and therefore no real heart to these small communities. Aside from the fact that it makes long distance walking along the coast problematic, as there is no where to restock, it is also a real shame for these small bundles of people not to have a focus to their village.

Skye

Skye


 

Obviously, I am aware that there is a recession on, but I think traditions like the village pub and shop are essential parts of the British coastline and efforts should be made to keep them open – not just for my benefit!

Nathaniel Severs