I was straight back out the house after Henley and this time heading up to Scotland with my friend Chris for a spot of hill walking. We were going for the whole week and staying in a remote village called Torridon, out on the west coast and level with Inverness. We’d come up and camped here a couple of years ago after a trip to Skye, but this time we were doing it properly and had booked the youth* hostel for the whole stay. This is a fantastic hostel, with a huge kitchen, and great games/reading rooms. I’d highly recommend staying here if you wanted a very cheap hill walking holiday. The village itself is situated around a sea loch (called Torridon of course) and is surrounded by incredible mountains. It’s a beautiful area and word’s can’t really do it justice. You just have to go see it yourself! We picked up our hire car from Inverness airport (another Fiat 500 like we had in Italy!), stocked up on supplies at the large Tesco by the airport, and then headed off to Torridon. Four days of hard walking was planned and hopefully we’d be in one piece by the end.
*most of the other guests were over 60 😀
05/07/2015: Isle of Ewe smoked hake with kedgeree and poached hen’s egg – The Torridon Inn
We got the keys to our hostel room and then headed straight out for a first night’s dinner at the local inn. We had bought enough food to cook in the hostel for 4 nights, but didn’t fancy it after the flight and drive over. The inn has a lovely feel and the menu is crammed full of locally sourced ingredients. This meal was absolutely delicious. The smoked hake was beautiful, and the kedgeree cooked very well. Great start to the trip. I don’t think the food was going to continue at this level with our hostel cooking 🙂
06/07/2015: Creamy tuna pasta bake own recipe
First day of walking and we tackled the whole Beinn Eighe ridge, and I mean the whole ridge. Every fork and top had been covered. The weather was beautiful and we decided to make the most of it instead of sticking to the exact route we had printed. It was an epic day and our distance was around 43km by the time we got back to the car, with 9 hours elapsed. We were both starving so cooked a huge creamy tuna pasta bake. What I didn’t mention in the summary was that we decided to go for some comedy cheap meals during the week. This meant some ready made sauce jars, so it probably wasn’t the highest quality but it sure tasted good. After we were sufficiently refueled we caught up with the Tour de France highlights and planned the next day.
07/07/2015: Corned beef madras pasta – own recipe
The forecast for today was probably the worst for the week, with rain and wind for most of the day, so we chose the shorter and easier climb of Beinn Alligin. This was still a ridge which included two munroes and the impressive Horns of Alligin, so not a walk in the park given how wet it was. Legs felt pretty good today despite the distance from Monday. Nothing like a good bit of stretching in the evening. We completed the walk fairly quickly, and were thankful of hot showers back at the hostel rather than camping. Tonight’s dinner was an ingenious combination of corned beef, madras sauce from a jar, and pasta. Yep, I know what you’re thinking, but actually this tasted really good and carried on the theme of comedy cheap dinners. Would definitely have it again.
08/07/2015: Mackerel pasta with broccoli and courgette – own recipe
Day three and my legs were still feeling great but it is usually at this point that my feet start feeling the pain. Today we revisted Liathach, which is probably the most impressive ridge in Torridon. We both had climbed this when we were here a few years back but it’s too good to only do once. The way up is an incredibly step path but we both prefer a hard slog. We went from road to munroe height in less than an hour. The traverse is fun and allows for a good bit of scrambling on the Am Fasarinen pinnacles. The weather was mostly cloudy but stayed dry which we were thankful for. The way down at the end of the ridge is a nasty scree slop which really battered my feet and we were both hurting by the end. Dinner was Chris’s creation of vegetables, mackerel, and pasta, while also using the oil from the mackerel tin to mix up everything. This was simple and tasty. Another great carb loading dish for a camping/hostel situation.
09/07/2015: Venison burger with beetroot and fries – The Torridon Inn
Today was our last day of walking and I was in bad shape before even getting started. My toes were swollen and blistered so walking in shoes hurt a lot! The forecast had been looking good for today so we had planned earlier in the week to drive up to An Teallach, and try and see one of the best views in Britain. Unfortunately I didn’t finish the whole route. I made it up the first munroe, and got a glimpse of the spectacular Corrag Buidhe pinnacles before having to head back down. Chris went on ahead to finish the ridge and sit up on Lord Berkeley’s seat. We were pretty exhausted in the evening so we went for another dinner at the local inn. I went for the venison burger and the deer came from the Beinn Eighe parkland, so you couldn’t get more local than that! As expected, it was delicious and just what I needed after the tiring week.
10/07/2015: Applecross crab salad with smoked salmon – Applecross Inn
We had kept the last day free in case any of the previous days were a complete wash-out because of the weather, so we decided to explore the area a bit in the hire car. Chris had heard about an inn down in Applecross that serves great food so we drove down along the coastal road. I definitely want to come back with my bike and give it a go. We arrived at the inn a few minutes before they starting serving food but we were glad of that when a group of 20 odd French bikers came in after us. The menu all looked amazing, so it was hard to pick, but I couldn’t pass up trying the local crab. This was so so so good. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. The crab was as fresh as you could get it, and the whole meal just worked. Need to bring Lizi next time!
11/07/2015: Cajun spiced chicken quesadilla with sweet potato fries – TGI Friday’s, Covent Garden
Back in London and I met up with some friends for a few beers in Borough Market as Lizi was still away. We decided to stay central for dinner and headed to TGI Friday’s. Pretty good place for lots of food if you’re hungry! I went for the quesadilla which was tasty. The accompanying rice was a little bland so didn’t really add much, but the side of sweet potato fries was good. Not enough space for dessert!