Getting back on the trail (Sutherland cont.)
Sutherland, the far empty corner of the northwest, is Scotland at it’s most remote.
It’s wild, bare and beautiful but in mid summer it can also be catastrophically itchy because it’s home to the meanest, most prolific midges on the planet. And for the next few days we’re going to run the gauntlet.
It’s been 15 months since we had to pull out of the long-distance Sutherland Trail just half way through when the weather closed in with rain, snow and sleet – and the prospect of another three or four days in the hills with no shelter was just too grim.
We’ll be taking the train tomorrow from Inverness back to Lairg then transferring to a minibus to the tiny village of Achfary to pick up where we left off, wild camping on the isolated tracks through glens and hillsides that should be starting to turn purple with heather in full bloom. The only niggling worry is that it’s peak season for the notorious midges so, unless there’s a wind to keep them at bay, we’ll be in trouble.
This adventure has been a long time in the planning but my rucksack is packed (and ominously heavy) for four days of walking, my new boots are about to face their first serious test and the weather is looking good.
All we need now is a strong Sutherland breeze to keep the beasties at bay.