Megan, our founder, is undertaking a huge challenge in May. She is going to be walking the Outer Hebrides on the Hebridean Walk which is about 155 miles in 14 days staying in B&B’s along the way. She is funding the entire trip herself but wanting to raise as much as she can for Cuan.
For those of you who don’t know our history, Megan’s interest in helping wildlife came from her time in Scotland before we moved down to Shropshire in 1989. This year is our 30th anniversary so she wants to make it one to remember!
Any support she gets would be greatly appreciated. It is huge challenge for anyone but undertaking it alone is applaudable. She will be updating us each day on her walk which we will share with you. Thank you!
Well she is off! Dropped off at 6am to fly to Glasgow and onto Barra straight into a 7 mile walk! We wish you the best of luck!!!
Amazing flight yesterday from Glasgow to Barra in tiny aeroplane and flew over the little island of Luing where Anna was born and we lived for 7 years! 7- mile walk and 8 today up mountains and over moorland. Rough terrain. Lovely B&B. Last night in bed by 8 and asleep soon after!
Thank you to all who’ve sent messages of support and/or donations.
Photo 1 about to catch ferry Barra to Eriskay. Photo 2 about to cross causeway Eriskay to S. Uist. Photo 3 start of the Machair Way, a long path going all the way up west coast if S. Uist. Warm and sunny but think will change.! Megan.
Have reached my fifth island tonight – Benbecula. Photo of hostel where stayed last night!
Today much of it across open moorland – wild and rugged and air filled with bird calls. Heard corncrake several times, pair of hen harriers, seals and loads of oyster catchers and lapwings with their pee-wit call and loads of other different birds. Also saw deer today. Often don’t see another human for hours at a time.
Amazing lichen on beautiful ruins of ancient chapel. Photo 2 quite a common way to sort clapped-out old car problems!
In contrast with yesterday when lots of wild open moorland, today lovely white beaches to walk along – luckily it was low tide, otherwise I may have been paddling!
14 miles yesterday, short day today, then back to normal tomorrow.
Still no rain and warden of hostel where I am tonight says forecast good. Hope he’s right. Megan.
Got lost today for the first time. Climbed the highest mountain on Benbecula (but actually not that high!). Just reached the top when terrific squall appeared out of nowhere which made map-reading out of the question, then lost my way coming down! After 1 1/4 hours ended up back where I’d started at the foot of the mountain! Debated re-climbing it and trying again, but discretion got the better part of valour! Made my way back to road and hitched a lift to where I Would have come out.
Photos show view from top then (3) is looking back at the mountain from where I stopped later.
Then a long 5 miles all on road as so much water everywhere that only one road across the lot. Walking into the teeth of an increasingly strong and cold northerly wind. Finally got to my LOVELY B&B with lovely welcome and hot drink from dear Ishy McD before falling asleep in my lovely room!
Have got to Lochmaddy and am 1/2-way!! A lovely morning. Looked out of window of my B&B (Photo 1) when I woke up and there was the local short-eared owl sitting on a fence post!
After breakfast, my landlady had offered to give me a lift to my starting-point and getting into the car she said “Are you sure you’ve got enough clothes?”! I said yes although regretted sending back my long-sleeved shirt (amongst others to lighten rucksack). So she got out, went into house and came back with a long-sleeved warm T-shirt !! So, so kind and so trusting.
Then all morning, a lovely walk across moor to an old jetty where were round things for collecting and storing the seaweed (Photo 2). Then on to Pobull Fhinn stone circle 2000 BC (photo 3) with Beinn Eavall in background (highest mountain in N. Uist).
Then diverted off route to Barpa Langass, a large Neolothic chambered cairn around 5,000 years old (photo 4 or was it 5?). At end of moors, saw these peat cuttings (last photo).
(Got photo numbers muddled up, the other one of brook was where I stopped for short break).
Then afternoon was a long tedious 6-miles down old carriageway alongside main road to Lochmaddy. With all the long stretches of road these past 2 days, my legs are beginning to feel it!
I’m happiest out on the moors where so quiet and wild and terrain so varied.
A good day today, helped by good way markers! Photo 1 looking back down Beinn Mhor the way I’d come, from near the top. Photo 2 looking down the other side where I had to go ( didn’t lose my way this time!). Photo 3, no sign of swan but maybe she was round the other side, but perhaps we could have some of these signs in Shropshire?! Photo 4 looking back at Brinn Mhor.
Am now on Berneray. Weather not great. Up at 6 am tomorrow to catch ferry across to Harris.
Day 9 & 10
Last 2 days have been hard and route looked scary on the map! Photo 1 looking back the way we’d come from way out of sight. Photo 2, the lovely Tom and Katie who I walked with the second part of yesterday – they’re also walking the whole Hebridean Way but doing it quicker than me (but they are less than half my age!!). Photo 3, looking down from near top of Benn Carron which I climbed today – very steep and no path and even steeper descent down when the way markers ran out and just floundering through thick boggy wet heather with potholes at virtually every step! On way down started to rain, and didn’t stop for rest of the day. Photo 4, the famous Coffin Route where they used to carry the coffins down from East side of Harris to west cos ground too rocky in the east to bury the dead and could dig the soft peat in the west. About 13 or 14 miles I think today and absolutely paddy-whacked when I arrived at my lovely B and B dripping wet from head to toe and fell into a gloriously deep hot bath. He’s also cooking me a vegetarian meal tonight so don’t have to go anywhere to find food – bliss!
A sort of day off today, only 5 miles into Tarbert, but really wetting rain and wind – not pleasant. Met up with Helen, a friend of one of our supporters, who lives in S. Harris. Took me to their lovely home, very remote (to me anyway!) and then on a drive all round S. Harris. Saw these “lazy beds” made in olden days for growing crops and fertilised with seaweed and peat, after folk were forcibly evicted to the barren east side during the clearances in the mid-nineteenth century. How cruel these were, and how they must have suffered.
Many thanks to you, Helen, for giving up your Sunday afternoon. So much appreciated.
Staying in the Backpackers Hostel tonight before a very long day tomorrow so up at 6 to get going early. Megan.
Well, a very long day today – 21 3/4 miles! Absolutely bush-whacked when i got to my B & B. Footsore and weary and shoulder killing me.
Started from Tarbert hostel at 6.25 and once off road a lovely walk all along the side of Loch Lacasdail on Harris. Then a road bit before an extremely wet and boggy path up and over. Both feet got wet. This followed by a tedious road bit before branching off into a community woodland before climbing up and over Grimacleit.
Photo 1, looking back the way I’d come up Loch Lacasdail. Photo 2 from the top of Grimacleit looking north over Lewis and the general direction I was heading.
Then along the old carriageway used before current road was built before 2 long bits all across fairly boggy moorland.
I didn’t think I’d do it all in one day and thought I’d have to retrace my steps tomorrow to complete it – but so chuffed I made it. Just had hot shower and supper and about to collapse into bed.
Tomorrow the penultimate day – all across moorland! Megan.
Been another quite long day as took the wrong turning and got hopelessly lost on the moor for well over an hour before finally coming out where I’d gone wrong. Very stupid of me, but various factors at play and I just made the wrong decision. Not only did it waste time, but energy too.
Once on the right route, it was just following this raised turf path for about 2 1/2 hours across the moor. A raised turf path is where they dig 2 trenches about 3 or 4 feet apart (maybe a bit more) and pile all the peat they’ve dug out into the middle. It’s usually rough walking and you have to watch your step in case you miss your footing and end up in the ditch, which has happened to me on more than one occasion!! But at least they do show you the way to go.
Photo 1, if you look hard you might be able to see the radio mast on top of the distant hill and the little village of Achamore just under it, where I was making for.
Photo 2 shows the raised turf path as it should be, not the boggy rough bits. Photo 3 is not very pretty – my toenail went black on about day 3!!
Anyway, finally reached Achamore about mid pm and lovely B&B – as they all are – with a welcoming pot of tea and oatcakes on arrival. Then collapsed in a lovely long (lengthways!) hot bath.
The husband is cooking a fish meal tonight which I’m looking forward to.
Can’t believe tomorrow is my final day – 10 miles down a quiet single-track road, which although will in one sense be tiring (road walking), at least no moors to get lost in or mountains to climb!
Well she has done it!! Exhausted but happy. Over 170 miles of walking in 14 days is not easy for anyone. She carried all her own things and walked the entire way over mountains and unmarked footpaths(!). Well done Megan, we are so so proud of you. What you have achieved is remarkable and you are one in a million. Now have a well earned glass of wine or two!