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The day was dry, so we thought we’d stretch our legs. We didn’t fancy driving far so we looked at the local Cambridge OS map and plotted a circular walk starting from the village of Hadstock about 20 mins South of Cambridge.

The countryside around Cambridge is really nothing at all special. And the walk had plenty of nothing special too but it stayed dry and it was nice to walk around somewhere different. We stopped for a pint in Little Walden which had a fairly decent Adnams pub (The Crown). However we didn’t come across a pub in any of the other villages, so just the one pint stop had to do us.

The paths were particularly muddy, especially the bridleways – here’s a pic of Carmel trying to clean her boots mid-walk.

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We saw some very nice houses including quaint ones and enormous ones. One in particular was some sort of mansion and had a few horses for Carmel to stroke.

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As you can see from the map below, there were many sharp angles in the walk which indicates us following fields and roads a fair bit. Towards the end of the day we had to walk through a few private tracks, due to there not being quite enough public footpaths in the right places to join the walk up the way we wanted.

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One final thing. Looking closely at the map, shows the outline of the old Little Walden airfield in the centre of the map. It appears we walked completely around it without knowing it was there.

Duration 5:22 hours
Distance 15.9 miles
Path (Google Earth)

Knoydart

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Carmel and I decided to join a few of the folks we met on our Kilimanjaro trek in Knoydart, Scotland for 4 days of winter walking.

The weather wasn’t great – with us getting progressively wetter seemed to be the theme of most days – but that wasn’t so much of a problem as it was just nice to be outside in the Scottish Highlands and walking up some of the peaks there.

We got a small private ferry from Mallaig across the loch to Inverie. The very small village of Inverie is inaccessible by road from the British road network, being only accesible by a 16 mile trek through the mountains or by ferry. This meant that its solitary pub is considered the most remote pub on the British mainland.

Our accomodation was in Glaschoille House, a guest house at the end of one of the roads on the peninsula about 2km from Inverie (and therefore 2km from the pub – just a bit too far on a cold winter night).

The trip was specifically a winter walking trip, so we spent time learning how to walk with crampons fitted and how to make best use of an ice axe. However the incessant drizzling meant that we didn’t make full use of this equipment due to the snow being slushly rather than packed and icy.

Our guides were Lorraine and Gordon who both seemed to know quite a lot about the mountains of Scotland. Gordon in particular knew quite a lot about animal droppings.

A typical snowy landscape from one of the plateaus:

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Each evening the group had dinner together – from the left, Stuart, Barry, Carmel, Neil, Tim, Lorraine, Nik, Rob and Andy (and Gordon was the photographer):

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Apparently you need to dig a snow hole if you want to survive overnight on a snowy mountain. Obviously I underestimated my dimensions when digging out my snow hole here (hint – you are not meant to stick out of it):

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Glaschoille House, where we stayed:

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A full set of photos are available here:

Knoydart photos on Picasa Web

Knoydart Day 1 to 4
Day 1 – Beinn na Caillich
Duration 7:22 hours
Distance 7.9 miles
Path (Google Earth)

Day 2 – Sgurr Coire Choinnichean
Duration 7:11 hours
Distance 6.8 miles
Path (Google Earth)

Day 3 – Meall Bhuidhe
Duration 7:55 hours
Distance 9.7 miles
Path (Google Earth)

Day 4 – Doune to Inverie
Duration 2:01 hours
Distance 5.1 miles
Path (Google Earth)