Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Breakaway: Gairloch (Day 1)

So, over the weekend I headed up with Breakaway to the highlands, staying in Gairloch. Totally a last minute thing, as I was the person going 'please, please if you have an extra spot I'll totally keep it warm'. Cheers for one extra seatbelt. Friday through Monday hiking and generally enjoying the outdoors. As it's Reading Week this week, I needed to get out of town and this was just what I needed.

We stayed at Carn Dearg in Gairloch and it was absolutely gorgeous. The views from the front porch of the hostel were out of this world. And on a clear day, like we were lucky enough to have for the majority of our visit, you can see the Isle of Skye across the loch.

Sunrise from the front of the hostel.

The group tends to split and offer 3-4 walks of varying difficulty and length so that everyone can enjoy a day outside at their skill level. Me? I'm a low-medium. A good walk, a bit of height for the views.

So Saturday, those in my group headed out to Beinn Eighe and Loch Maree at the National Nature Reserve to do our walk. Gorgeous, stunning... and way more high steps and vertical movement than I thought I was signing up for. By the end of the walk I am exhausted and sore... and still thrilled for the view.

On our way up, overlooking more of Beinn Eighe and Loch Maree.

The desperately beautiful landscape as we get further up the range as it evens out for a bit.

The peaks got snow overnight, and the part of our group that wanted to make it up the munro got to play in the snow. I was fine just taking a picture.

Victorious as we get to our cairn at 550m (which is in another picture, but I like standing on the rock better) and decide that it's time for lunch before beginning our descent. Which, like the ascent, was steeper than I was anticipating.

And with it being steeper both up and down my legs are exhausted by the time we make it back down to Loch Maree. But, since we finished a bit earlier than anticipated, we decided to go check out part of the beach at Loch Gairloch that the low walking group did that day.

Sunset as we walk down to the beach. This has to be one of my favorite pictures I took all weekend.

The beach and the waves and the sunset -- couldn't get better.

Oh wait, climbing up to the cliffs to overlook the crashing waves does make it even better.

Stunning -- and the best part was that there were two more days of it!

And with it getting dark at 5pm, we head back to the hostel for dinner, which consisted of a really good curry that had actual spice to it. Shocker! Most of the food I've had in the UK has been pretty spice-less. Of course, the curry was also made by our Luxembourgish club president, so perhaps that made a difference? Regardless, delicious.


  1. Oh my goodness, these pictures are beautiful! I hope to one day travel to Scotland and do some hiking of my own. Hope your legs are feeling a bit better!

  2. Scotland is breathtaking and I would recommend it to anyone who finds joy in the outdoors. There are points and places where you think 'this can't be real because everything is too vivid and too beautiful'. And the legs are much better -- it's amazing what walking around town and a bit of freeze gel will do to fix things!