If you live in the interior of British Columbia, Canada, then everything just beyond your back yard fence is “Back Country”. In the summer if you step off any back country road you are surrounded by nothing but magnificent forests and spectacular mountains and in the winter, piles and piles of deep snow. It is a playground for hikers, runners, climbers and cyclists in the summer and in the winter, deep powder nirvana for skiers and snowboarders. The end result is that for us British Columbians we have a preconceived notion of what “Back Country” and “Back Country recreation” looks like. In Scotland those notions are turned completely on their head. For starters all land in Scotland is owned by someone. It’s an historical thing that dates dates way back to the old Clan system and earlier. So, technically by indulging in back country pursuits in Scotland you would be trespassing but it’s not really like that. There is the notion of common usage and access that has been re-enforced in recent years by legislation. So provided you adhere to some simple basic rules there is a “Freedom to Roam” where you will. But given that, these videos would lead us to believe that “Scottish Back Country recreation” requires stamina and dedication that is a bit beyond the Canadian experience.
So here are a couple of videos about Scottish Back Country…….. without a helicopter in sight and with the added bonus of some haunting music.
It is summer time in this following video it is an out right lie. There is never that much sunshine on the Isle of Skye. I’ve been there so take my word for it. But, with the right amount of Drambuie, the spectacular scenery can be a very pleasurable experience.
These two videos hit my nostalgia buttons big time. My wife took me to Scotland in the early 1970s to meet her family. This was followed up by a number of family trips in the mid to late 1970s. During the trips we did some touring around the highlands and some hiking through some of pretty spectacular country. We did a trip to the Isle of Skye and my memories include learning that in the north the “wee free church” of Scotland locks down the entire countryside on Sunday. People go to church twice a day, spend time praying and it is impossible to even get a meal until things return to normal on Monday. I remember being cold. Coming from Canada I didn’t think it would be possible to actually feel the cold like I felt on the Isle of Skye. We were staying in a youth hostel at Uig and every evening it required a walk down the road to a pub for a Drambuie to get a “wee heat” before going off to bed.
Hiking in Scotland tends to be a soggy affair. Gum boots are more useful than hiking boots.
I did a number of solo trips including a a ridge walk on the Five Sisters of Kintail plus a hike through Glenn Afric.
Scotland is a very special place. Ahh ………. The lost days of our youth.
POSTSCRIPT #2 – Ice Climbing in Scotland