The Sutherland Trail: Day Two. Loch Hope to Lone.
Day 2 Loch Hope to Lone
Distance: 16.5 miles / 26.4 km
Total ascent: 3112 feet / 952 metres
Time: 7hrs 20 min
Average heart rate: 112
Calories burned: 3069
Strath More GlenI set off under bright sunshine along the minor road through Strathmore Glen. This is a lovely glen and i got the sense it most have been quite heavily populated in the past. Just one car passed me on the minor road that runs through the glen, and i noticed even it's sole exhaust fumes made me feel very nauseous. I had only been out proper just over 24 hours and yet already my body was taking a quite extreme reaction to exhaust fumes. It made me think a lot about the stuff we pump into the air, its effect on our health, and the natural environment. I followed the road south for about 10km and then turned and headed west, on a track, towards Gobernuisagach Lodge. The land rover track went through a pine plantation where the shade was welcome. The midges made an entrance in here though. In battalion strength, as i found out if i stopped for more than a few minutes. Surprisingly this was my first real encounter with them on the trip. Gobernuisagach LodgeAlways amazed at these Victorian lodges found in the middle of the highlands. Must have been so hard to build. It must been be wonderful to come back to a place like this after a day out on the hills. In the days of the clans a traveller could arrive at a dwelling place and demand hospitality. It was an unwritten rule. I suppose that's where the term highland hospitality originates from. I wondered what would happen if it i tried it now. A cheese and ham sandwich and a cold coke would have went down very, very well at this point. Walking in the sunshine can be a morale boaster but if carrying a lot of weight the sun can really take a toll. Covering the head is essential or else the brain starts to cook making sun stroke or even heat stroke a possibility. Yes heat stroke in Scotland. Me modelling a shemaghThe best thing i have for covering the head when hard walking in the sun is a shemagh (see picture). It keeps your head cool, but does not make it sweat like traditional summer skip caps etc, and it helps keep the midges at bay. From the lodge i continued west following a land rover track up towards the bealach na feith, which took me through yet another lovely glen. a young stagWalking down wind of a slight breeze i spotted a beautiful stag grazing and completely oblivious to me approaching. Getting really close i managed to get my camera out and just as i was about to snap he looked up, held my gaze for a second, and then bolted. Looking east from bealach na feithGetting to the top of the pass was exhausting, and I was relieved when i got up there. I was rewarded with really beautiful views to both the east and west. The views to the east relatively flat, green and sprawling. To the west layers of mountains that i would have to cross or go around in the next five days. I then starting descending, feeling quite fatigued, into the well named destination for the second night; Lone. I was low on energy and realised i was not eating enough. My choice of food, 70% nuts and berries, 30% oat bars, was proving a bad choice. I had forgotten just how much eating the same thing all the time can put you off eating. The reasoning behind the nuts and berries was that eating would require no prep time at all, no cooking equipment, i'd just cruise along refuelling on the go. I'm sure i read somewhere Sir Ranulph Fiennes ate nothing but chunks of lard on one of his pole expeditions. I figured if he could hack that for months i could handle 3 days on nuts and berries. LoneLone was a dramatic looking place, very remote and austere. Nothing there but a locked bothy, and some estate sheds. Since i came over the pass the clouds had come in, and in comparison to the colour i found in Strathmore glen Lone just seemed a bit errie. Though i'm sure in the sun the atmosphere is just the same. It was a midge stronghold though and i needed good drills to get my tent up quickly before the tormentors found chinks in my armour of skin so soft and midge net. Summary This section had the best walking underfoot. All on mostly car-less tarmac or rarely used land rover tracks, with a decent earth covering, which was soft on the feet. The trek up to the bealach na feith will be exerting if you are carrying a lot of weight. Navigation wise there should be no major problems. Just take care to pick the right land rover track at Gobernuisagach lodge. Loch Hope to Lone Map Use controls to zoom in/out and move around. The green line is a guide to direction of travel. See main map page for more detailed map

Paul Stewart is Loved by Jesus Christ.

He is employed as a Web Developer and Corporal in the British Territorial Army where he has been Mountain Leader Trained.

A lover of the outdoors he is available as a summer mountain guide in the Scottish Highlands.

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