Scottish National Trail: Loch Freuchie two day trek – Let’s get wet baby (day 7 & 8)

Today: 53km | Total: 236km

Before we left Comrie on day 6, we did a little planning and figured the next 50km or so are a two-day hike without option to resupply (unless begging farmers). So we did some late night shopping and downloaded relevant offline maps (I use the ViewRanger app, stages for the trail are here) before hitting the sleeping bags somewhere outside the town.

Laura’s comments

Día 6: Un día para recordar. Sólo lee el blog Scottish National Trail: Novia Perdida (day 6). 😔😂

Día 7 y 8: El día 7 fue un gran día, mucho sol, muy caliente y paisaje increíble, perfecto, similar a mi ciudad, una noche increíble y con mucho tiempo para descansar.

Para el día 8 hubo mucha lluvia, mi chaqueta no es a prueba de agua, por lo cual caminé todo el tiempo con la ropa muy húmeda, afortunadamente Ronny tenía (hand warmers) y obtuve un poco de calor, el frío en Escocia es muy fuerte para mí. Afortunadamente unos kilómetros después encontramos una pareja qué muy amablemente se ofrecieron a darnos un chance hasta nuestro destino, el pueblo de Aberfeldy. 😁

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THROUGH THE 200KM MARK (1/3rd DONE) 😀 🏕

Day 7 started a bit slow. We either missed a path for it was overgrown and invisible or for lack of map reading skills on my side. Time went by, but the mileage didn’t budge much. It also involved fighting our way (literally) through spaces with loads of plants… Just like in the jungle. Hello Jane & Tarzan!

Well, we got ourselves sorted eventually and enjoyed a beautiful day out. A lot of uphill again (700m ascent) crossing over from one valley into another on our way to Loch Freuchie.

With so much delay we called it a day much earlier than usual after only 19km, took our time to wash in the cold but clean river water, had egg & cheese omelette as well as soup and just a little more time with sunlight than usual. A little luxury.

Scottish readers of the blog might have missed comments on midges. Well, they were not worth mentioning so far. They are now. Nasty little things. Thankfully the repellent (40% deet) works and the tent has a good insect cover.

Our second day was the exact opposite of the previous day. We woke up with rain banging on our tent. I just managed to rescue Laura’s shirt, which she washed the night before. We were tempted to stay in the tent all day. But then, we only had food for a day and don’t have much time to spare.

So we packed up in rain and got going by 10am. It was not too bad and to our surprise busier than usual. First up a group of scouts, then a group of mainly german tourists. So far, so good.

The rain was non-stop. It didn’t take long for the gloves to get wet, our pants, then Laura’s Decathlon jacket. Just not made for Scottish summer. By lunchtime we reached Loch Freuchie… In hope of a warm meal. Laura was soaked and now the gas canister empty. Shit!

So back to emergency supplies like HUEL (meal in powder form… Today with pineapple & coconut flavour), crackers and a bit of leftover red wine. We had a few spare clothes too and handwarmers to get going in good spirits again.

And so we trodded on. After some 24km we were on the final stretch into the town of Aberfeldy when we met two other hikers. They spent the weekend in a bothy with their dogs and offered a lift into town. How could we say no? ☺️🙄

Fun ride with these two – a Scot and his Slovakian partner. Turns out he has been extensively in South America including Colombia. What a coincidence!

Anyway, we enjoyed a great pub dinner at ‘The Fountain’, booked a room for the night and were happy ever after 😴😴😴

Tomorrow a bit of shopping to get done before hitting a three-day trek across the Cairngorms. Can’t wait!

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Scottish National Trail: Edinburgh all the way North to Cape Wrath (day 1)

So, the recovery time past the Elbe paddle is up and two big parties are digested. Now it’s time to get back outdoors to hike the Scottish National Trail from Edinburgh all the way North to Cape Wrath, the northernmost point on the british mainland. In total 750km of fascinating countryside, villages and people lie ahead (as well as rain, wind, sore feet…).

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Slateford – Ratho – Broxburn

Today: 20km | Total: 20km

The first day started only about 3pm. First we had to travel back to Edinburgh from Dunkeld, had a publunch before we finally got going in Edinburgh suburb of Slateford. We had no specific destination in mind for today – one of the positives of carrying camping gear.

 

The Scottish National Trail is an 864 kilometre-long long distance walking route running the length of Scotland from Kirk Yetholm to Cape Wrath. Devised by outdoors writer and broadcaster Cameron McNeish in 2012, the Trail offers very varied walking, following long-established footpaths for much of the distance but becoming progressively more difficult as it heads north, finishing with a tough stretch of backpacking – with some pathless and demanding terrain – on the final stretch of the Cape Wrath Trail.

All in, we managed 20km along the Union canal who will be literally on our side for at least two days. Our first major stop was at the pretty village of Ratho with its iconic The Bridge pub and nice residential developments around a small marina. From there further to Broxburn.

 

Obviously, it had to rain on the first day. Welcome to Scotland! Laura’s jacket was not quite up to the job. The rest of the gear was ok though (well, the new boots still need a little more breaking in).

Laura’s comment (day 1)

Otra aventura con Rocket ha comenzado. Las espectativas del viaje son muchas, aún conociendo las condiciones de los diferentes lugares y el común clima de Escocia, tengo la certeza que será un GRAN tiempo en este maravilloso país. 👧🏻

 

One highlight for me came late in the day, as we fixed our empty stomachs with dinner at a Broxburn burger place (one of the traditional ones). I tried fried Haggis… And i loved it. Defo gonna get some more of that stuff while up here. Not sure why i waited that long to try it.

Haggis is a savoury pudding containing sheep’s heart, liver, and lungs, minced onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, mixed with stock, traditionally encased in the animal’s stomach though now often in an artificial casing instead. According to the 2001 English edition of the Larousse Gastronomique: “Although its description is not immediately appealing, haggis has an excellent nutty texture and delicious savoury flavour”.

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