Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Hiking on the peat

Our first proper hiking day in Scotland was gray and misty--extremely appropriate as we walked off-trail across the peat.

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crossing the peat

The peat, the geology, the flora--incredible. While the heather unfortunately was not in bloom (we walked amidst 3 varieties that bloom progressively throughout the summer, but were too early for any of them), we walked amidst it constantly. And gingerly amongst the gorse (I now know why it features prominently in so many English novels--those lovely yellow flowers mask some wicked wicked thorns). The peat is a virtual sponge, absorbing and holding onto water. Walking off-trail, we became skilled at reading the plants in the effort to preserve some degree of dry socks--step on that kind of green moss and you'll sink in 6" of water; step on that reddish moss and you'll have time enough to get to the next foothold before you sink; step on that tussock of grass and you'll be ok...

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swatchy c and the horizon

The highlands apparently have a longstanding tradition of bothies (plural of bothy?), little huts/shelters scattered here and there for the use of hikers/backpackers. We took shelter from the rain for our lunch. Here we've been joined by another hiker (center) who was out walking the dogs while her husband fishes.

sunday resting in the bothy

A room with a view...

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We encountered the bothy below on another day. This was designed and constructed by a very resourceful and hearty man (because it is NOT easy to get to, particularly schlepping building materials...). Here, the entrance...

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Here the fireplace and mantle, complete with photos and icons:

bothy hearth

Here the sitting area:

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And here, the kitchen:

bothy kitchen

featuring rice, courtesy of...Glenmorangie? Well-aged, no doubt.

Glenmorangie rice

2 comments:

Knittah said...

I desperately wish I could have been there. It looks positively idyllic.

Shannon (librarygirlUK) said...

Lovely! I had no idea about the bothies! I haven't had a chance to go walking in the highlands - something I most certainly want to do!