Scotland: With infrastructure, a stable economy and political sphere it is an unlikely location for The Sofía Log. Yet the Scottish Highlands provide a remote hiking paradise for those prepared to brace the nations flippant climatic conditions.
In the Western Central Highlands lies the sleepy adventure town of Boat of Garten, roughly an hours drive from the trail head of today’s hike, Abernethy Nature Reserve. Here it is entirely possible to forage for your next meal, cocktails included.
A few meters into our hike we stopped at the crumbling remote cabin of the former Norwegian special operations training center. It was eerie to see and understand the reality of the isolation that we were about to subject ourselves to. As we broke off the trail we wandered through miles of moss and old growth temperate rainforest.
We came upon a 4 ft. diameter by 2ft. high ant mound that had a unique olfactory defense mechanism. When an animal or human touched the nest it unleashed a pungent vinegar smell. Any sane organism immediately wanted to get away from the mound, much to the ant’s delight.
Wandering off the trail we hiked without a peep in thigh high heather hoping to spot a red deer.
There was an almost relentless quantity to the amount of Chantilly mushrooms, Blueberries, and Lingonberries throughout the hike.
Once we reached the Nethy Riverbed we found peat for fire fuel. Essential considering most of Scotland’s trees were deforested over a century ago.
Interspersed every few kilometers we found juniper berry shrubs full of berries. The very same ones used to make gin. While the berries straight off the shrub have no alcohol content, the taste was uncannily similar.
We walked and watched as rain clouds quickly moved in. In a land known for dreary rainy weather I was thoroughly amused to learn: There is no such thing as bad weather in Scotland, only inappropriate rain gear, and not enough whiskey.
After our 13 mile hike our bodies were sore but bellies full of berries and mushrooms.
If you go: Contact Andrew Bateman (email@example.com) at Scot Mountain Holidays. He is a wealth of knowledge and great guide that can accommodate hiking adventures for a variety of skills and durations.