Left Tiverton on the Friday at 2000.
Arrived at Guy’s at 2150, ate some food and then had a little shuteye before our mammoth journey across the wall into White Walker territory.
We set off at 0230 from Royal Wotton Bassett. A quick planned pit stop into Otterburn to see Odin Tactical for a small business meeting plus a general chit chat, and then back on the road again.
Coffee was our savior for this journey. We then made our way to Tain for a fresh food run, and then straight back out to Durness. We got to our LUP around 2200.
Picked our spot near the beach and got the tents up for the night. Then it was time to get the fire going and steaks cooking while Guy did his magic with the camera. Poured ourselves a rum and whisky, and then the night was spent taking pics. Yodi ran through how to use a camera (i.e., not like a noob), and we relaxed for a little bit before hitting the sack.
I was looking forward to a good night's sleep and testing out my new inflatable mat from Klymit – more to come on that!
All in all, it was a long day but a great one.
Woke up to the most amazing view I have ever seen in the UK. We got the old square sausage on for brekkie.
We went for a small yomp to do some work pictures, slowly made our way to Smoo Cave and did a little more work. The next stop was Sandwood car park, where we squared our kit away for the night and set off on the 8km yomp to our next LUP of the trip.
We decide to pitch up on the sand dunes looking over Sandwood beach, with Cape Wrath in the distance. Our setup was very simple but effective. Guy was using the OEX sleeping mat and bag, while I was using the newly acquired Klymit Recon mat and Rab® down bag.
As the sun was setting and campfire keeping our toes warm, we had a few sips of rum and whisky while witnessing one of the most beautiful sunsets that the UK can offer. We needed an early night so we could wake up and take some stargazing pictures.
We were lucky enough to meet a couple of French dudes who were visiting for the first time like us (well me). They loved it, and it was great to talk and get to know their culture. It hit 0030, and I thought it’s time for bed, even though it looked like 2130. Looking at how the night was going, I thought it wouldn’t get any darker than it was. It was definitely time to count sheep while lying down.
Woke up on Sandwood beach but the weather wasn't that great. Guy wasn’t feeling very well so we set off a few hours later than planned. We yomped the 8km back to the car and hit the road to go to Apple Cross for our third night. This proved to be a couple hours' drive with a pit stop at a small castle on an island to get some cool pictures and drone footage.
We got to our next LUP for around 1700, I was a little happier as I could use my Warbonnet Blackbird XLC hammock for the night — an awesomely comfortable bit of kit (seriously — get one). We set up camp, got dinner on and pretty much sat with a cold beverage, enjoying the view. Early night for me, but Guy stayed up a little longer to do some more black magic/Jedi work.
Woke up again to stunning views and gorgeous weather. We slowly packed up, got the coffee on the go — thank you Contact Coffee. It was then time to head for the main event: climb Old Man Storr on the Isle of Skye. Just before crossing into Skye, we decided to stop off for some food at Hectors Bothy, a lovely café.
So after a refuel of the belly, we headed to what looked like Mordor.
Old Man Storr is an impressive peak, and it's not one to take too lightly. Yet when we parked up, the number of people attempting this peak in flip-flops and leather jackets was nuts. I could see twisted ankles, unnecessary ambulance call-outs and mountain rescue cursing at them in their near future. Fortunately, the air ambulance wasn't needed that day — as far as we could see.
We, on the other hand, were happily geared up with sensible shoes, reliable clothing and plenty of rations. The 7 P's are our equivalent of the Scout's motto: be prepared.
Getting up to the top was easy enough, but it was well worth it: the view was stunning. Those who watched the live feed will see how close to the old man himself. Drone away, and Guy got plenty of footage of the area. Proper job.
Next stop: the Commando Memorial.
Sombre. Reflective. So many memories of my time serving alongside some of the bravest men I've ever met. Yet all I can say is this: 'Til Valhalla, my brothers. You'll understand.
Yet while I was there, I saw a gentleman cleaning the 42 Commando plaque they have there from HERRICK 14 — a cross-service unit that was deployed in Afghanistan. I went over to see if I could help him, only to find out he was a brother. We had a small chat and got a pic with the memorial in the background. I also gave the plaque a quick clean, as he had taken his sock off. A clean cloth later, and it was much better. It's humbling: He would rather walk around without a sock to make sure the lads can see the light and so we can remember them properly by their names and not just a sign. Thank you JJ for taking 5 minutes out of your day.
Climbing down, we could appreciate the view and stop and wonder at the magnificent beauty that is Scotland. It was a shame to leave, but we had to return to our lives and our loved ones. Time to head home, unpack, edit the pics and think about our next adventure!