Let me begin this long overdue post with an apology to my readers. I just arrived home after six weeks of hiking around the Scottish Highlands and Norway’s Lofoten Islands. Before departing I had planned to put up a quick note on the website regarding my impending absence, however, last minute work and family commitments saw time get away from me. I’m hoping to make it up to you guys in the coming months with regular posts that will include trip reports, gear reviews, skills articles, and other backcountry musings.
What follows below is a brief summary of what I’ve been doing in recent times, along with a preview of what’s coming up:
“The Hidden Tracks”
The first seven months of 2018 was one of the busiest periods I have had in many a year. Sixty to seventy hour work weeks with nary a day off. Much of this time was spent researching, writing and co-editing a book for Gestalten Publications titled, “The Hidden Tracks: Wanderlust off the Beaten Path.” It’s a sequel to last year’s, “Wanderlust Hiking on Legendary Trails” and it was released in Europe on September 20. It will be available in the US and other places in late November.
I’ll be putting together a detailed post about “The Hidden Tracks” in the coming weeks, but in a literary nutshell it’s a 270 page coffee table book that features 29 incredible hikes from around the world. As the title suggests, many (though not all) of the hikes included are out-of-the-way gems in places such as Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni, Siberia’s Olkhon Island on Lake Baikal, and the mighty sand dunes of Khongoryn Els in Mongolia’s Gobi Desert.
lion’s Highland Cow’s share of my recent journey was spent hiking in Scotland. Specifically the Skye Trail, a loop around Cairngorm National Park, and lastly the Cape Wrath trail, an approximately 230 mile (370 km) route from Fort William to the northwesternmost point of the British mainland. All three treks were great, but it was the 10 days I spent rambling along the final hike of the trio that truly stood out for me. The Cape Wrath Trail passes through some of the wildest and loneliest areas of the Scottish Highlands, and is inarguably one of the finest long distance hikes in the UK. The stark and hauntingly beautiful landscapes, characterful bothies, friendly locals and exacting conditions, all combined to make it one of my all-time favourite trips.
A Long Crossing of the Lofoten Islands
After leaving Scotland, I headed northwest to Arctic Norway’s Lofoten Islands. I was joined on this leg of the journey by my old mate, Greg “Malto” Gressel, who I’ve teamed up with in previous years on the Lowest to Highest Route, Wind River High Route and Northville Placid Trail. This time around Malto and I tackled an approximately 124 mile (200 km) route that spanned much of the legendary archipelago. The idea for the trek came about from an excellent website called Rando-Lofoten, the go-to source for all things hiking in the islands. All told this challenging route took us a week to complete (we added on an extra section and some side trips), and we were blessed with a window of uncommonly fine weather for six of the seven days. Throughout it’s vertiginous course the scenery was otherworldly, and by hike’s end both of us were suffering from neck strain issues due to the amount of triple-take vistas.
In the coming weeks I’ll be posting photos, trip reports and gear lists from both the Scottish and Norwegian legs of the journey.