Welcome to Distance Hiker Trail Snapshots, where members of our community share a Q&A snapshot of a trail they love!
In this article Aaron shares a snapshot of his hike along the East Highland Way which stretches from Fort William to Aviemore over 82 miles of countryside.
What made you choose the st cuthbert’s Way?
It was a long-postponed trail and also filled in a gap between the West Highland Way and the Speyside Way. A good distance (around 80 miles) for a week of Hiking.
What were the highlights of the trail for you?
Not on the trail itself, but we had a short day which gave us time to walk up to the Pictish Hill Fort at Dun-da-lamh which is in a remarkable state of preservation, and give some quite incredible views over the area.
The route from Laggan through to Newtonmore via Glen Banchor gives a real sense of being in the wild, and the route from Newtonmore to Kingussie is very special (if you are walking the new Speyside Way extension, I’d thoroughly recommend avoiding that and walking the EHW route here instead).
The route also follows the short Badenoch Way from Kingussie, which again is a delightful route.
Can you tell us about some great overnight spots you found, whether it’s a wild camp, B&B, or campsite?
A huge mention ot the Laggan Hotel, which was superb. We stayed there several nights as accommodation is sparse, and managed to arrange transfers each day.
There were a few lovely wild camp spots, but the one that sticks in my mind was at An Dubh Lochan on the Tulloch to Feagor road. It was stunning.
Not too much else to add as we stayed in B&B’s/hotels for most of it. I would recommend avoiding the Spean Bridge Hotel, however. It was overpriced and being polite, rather dilapidated.
We stayed there two nights, returning by train from Tulloch station, and getting the first train out the next morning
The beach at the western end of loch laggan. Another stunning place to wild camp
Were there any parts of the trail you didn’t enjoy?
The walk alongside Loch Laggan. Right through thick conifer plantation, which I detest with a passion.
What would you do differently if you were to walk it again, and what advice would you have for anyone else looking to walk the trail?
Don’t walk along Loch Laggan. There is a fabulous alternative (which I was persuaded to not use, against my better judgment) which is a very similar distance through the glen to the south of the loch on the other side of the hill.
It follows a shooting track next to two lochans and is a fairly obvious and easy alternative if you have a map. Don’t argue, just go that way! I wish we had!
Where is your next long-distance hike?
The Cumbria Way
You can learn more about Alex and see some of her previous hiking, travel and long distance hiking photos on her Instagram @alibongo_
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