Knapton Forest, Scotland 26-27 May 2018

We have long planned to hike in Scotland but this required an unlikely coincidence of good weather with bank holiday weekend. The idea was to combine Ledge Route with CMD arête on Ben Nevis, and the weather forecast for the coming weekend was promising but in the last few days before the trip the weatherman promised wind gusts of up to 70 mph. We figured this was not compatible with walking on the narrow CMD ridge, and Ben Nevis scramble was replaced with a walk around Knapton forest.

The blue line shows our tracks for the first and second days. The "P" icon shows car park, and the tent icon shows our camping spot.

We left home on Friday evening and got to Loch Lomond around midnight. We booked a wild camping spot on the beach. A few other tents were pitched nearby but we were the only ones on the beach. Waking up right within a few metres of the lake was a great experience.

Morning exercises.

An oak tree on the beach. Looks like it had a tough life but survived.

We drove west to Lochgilphead, left the car in a car park and went to explore the lakes in the forest.

We were going up a forest path flanked by bracken.

Pinguicula vulgaris. We first came across this plant in Norway. It is a carnivorous plant. The leaves secret sticky glue which traps insects. The leaves then bend in to close the trap and digest the victim. The leaves resemble starfish.

We had a lunch break at one of the lakes. Almost all lakes turnued out to be reservoirs. A short section of scrambling.

We crossed the peninsula and got to the seaside. The forest was very densely planted, so one had to keep to the paths. We did manage to fight through a couple of short forest sections without paths but this was really hard work.

A rocky outcrop in high tide. At low tide the wter recedes and exposes large sections of sea floor.

Rock lichen: Yellow Xanthoria lichen and Ramalina siliquosa (sea-ivory).

Armeria Maritima (thrift). According to Wikipedia, this plant was pictured on British threepence in 1937 - 1952.

On the way back from the seaside we followed an old overgrown road. Looking back towards the sea - the hills in the distance are on the Jura island. The road was flanked by oak trees on one side and densely planted coniferous forest on the other one. This place was infested with ticks - welcome to Scotland...

The road did not go to the lake so we had to follow a hardly visible footpath. We struggled to find a flat place to pitch the tent. This was a very remote, hardly ever visited place.

Can our light and cheap inflatable lounger be used as a kayak?

It was a rather unstable kayak. Everybody had a go and then we had a swim in the lake.

In order to climb a nearby hill, we had to get through a forest - no paths here.

We camped on the shores of this lake.

Another picturesque lake.

We followed the road back to the car but then took a shortcut through a logging area.

We have not seen a soul over the weekend. Even though there are villages nearby, Knapton forest has very few visitors. We very much enjoyed Scottish wilderness, and Ben Nevis will have to wait for another occasion.

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