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  • Jack Wakefield

Scottish adventures: burnt nose, frozen toes and stuck in the mud

Just over a week ago we got back from the Cairngorms, an incredible national park near Inverness in Scotland. Who knew I'd love staying in a place with zero signal and hesitate turning my data back on?! With long 8-9 hour walks, changeable weather and some tough navigating it was a week to remember. We'd love your support with our challenge. All year we've been walking to raise money for two incredible climate change solutions.


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Burnt nose & frozen toes

The first half of the week we camped by Loch Morlich in Glenmore, right in the heart of the national park surrounded by mountains and forest. Being mid-September in Scotland it was pretty cold at night! There we were in sleeping bags with three pairs of socks, jeans, fleeces and hats on to be warm-enough as we slept (and we were still cold...). But in the day time it was stunning, dry and sunny almost the whole time we had the best time exploring nearby mountains.


The highlight of our time there was an 8 hour hike up Bynack More and a couple smaller peaks up to it. Once we got to the top, the views in all directions were incredible - no one for miles - but it came at a cost. All day we were walking in relentless sun, occasionally ducking behind boulders to cool off. Having such cold nights meant suncream wasn't considered ahead of walks and that relentless sun left us both with a glowing red face by the evening!


Stuck in the mud

After three brilliant nights camping we headed a bit further out to Aviemore and stayed in a small bungalow with a log burner. Cosy and warm, we were ready to take on another challenge - and so planned a walk over three mountains on our maps, most of which had no designated paths.


Navigating with compass and map, often stopping and looking around for landmarks to check where we were, we climbed through forest, over moorland and through long stretches off boggy marshland (some much deeper and wetter than we realised before stepping in it!). It felt like such an adventure and for nine hours of walking we saw nobody else. Just us, the wind and rain, a few hares and - as we descended - a few sheep.


Nearing the end

With a few smaller walks in the forests and around lochs, we gained around 1800m ascent, meaning our running total is now well above Kilimanjaro and we're into the final stretch of our year-long Everest ascent.


Just Dartmoor and the Quantocks to go before our final walk in the Surrey Hills! The year has been an amazing time to explore so many incredible places around the UK and I'm keen to visit lots of them again, but perhaps not all in a year next time...

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