Saturday 20 April 2024

A trial two days hike with Volt.

Recently one of my friends mentioned that he intended visiting Knoydart (one of the most remote places in Britain) for a three day hike and asked if Volt and I would be interested in joining him. Knoydart is an area that I've visited a couple of times in the past but that I'd love to go and explore some more. In principle I'd be keen to go but I have some concerns as to whether Volt would be up to such a potentially demanding hike. 
With this in mind I decided to do a two day hike and wild camp closer to home to see how we would get on. Volt has been out wild camping with me quite a few times now but it's always only involved a short walk in so far. I decided on a nearby circuit involving an overnight camp at a lochan that I've visited many times on my bike and always thought would make a fantastic spot to camp. 
We left the car at the events car park in Coilessan Glen and followed the Cowal Way long distance path up the glen towards Lochgoilhead. Volt was carrying his own food, his bowl and a towel (in case he got wet) in his dog panniers. I bought these a while ago but this was the first time he'd worn them. He didn't seem phased at all as we hiked up the forest road that leads to a high bealach between Coilessan  Glen and Lochgoilhead. 
It was a steep climb up to the bealach but then the ground levelled out and the views opened up. 
The next section was quite wet and slippery and although Volt had no trouble, I regretted my decision to wear trail shoes instead of my walking boots as I slithered down towards the forest above Lochgoilhead. 
Once in the forest the path improved and we were able to make better progress. 

We popped out of the forest above the village and took another track overlooking Loch Goil. 
After a while we joined the Duke's Path which climbs up over the peninsula high above Loch Goil. This section was fantastic walking with small waterfalls and every so often a clearing in the forest providing views of the loch below. 
It was tough climbing up the hill with a big backpack on but eventually our destination for the night at Corran Lochan came into view. 
Once we arrived I set up camp and fed Volt and cooked my dinner (dehydrated chicken tikka masala).
After dinner we went for a short stroll before going to bed. 
After a fitful nights sleep we got up around 7:30am. Despite me having covered most of his side of the tent with his closed cell foam sleeping mat (on top of which was his quilt), Volt seemed determined to lie on the small bits of uninsulated groundsheet and didn't really settle. This was disappointing as he's slept well in the tent previously. 
When we got up he was also limping quite badly but thankfully he quickly walked it off and seemed to make a full recovery. We ate breakfast and packed up as the sun burnt off the early morning chill. 
It didn't take long to pack up and we were back on the road by 9:30am. 
Today's walk was all on forest tracks with some nice views through the trees of Loch Long below. 
We bumped into a few mountain bikers and other walkers on the way including a couple of people that I know! 
Soon enough we could see Arrochar in the distance which meant we were getting close to the carpark. 
I think Volt was quite relieved to be back at the car, although I'm sure he enjoyed the overall experience of being out for a couple of days. I'm not sure whether we'll do the Knoydart trip or not but this hike was well worthwhile in it's own right. 

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