Sometimes we plan our big walks around a particular place that we think will make for an amazing wild camp spot. Sometimes it’s somewhere we’ve been before, just for a day, and wished we’d had the tent. Or sometimes it involves poring over maps for hours, looking for some place special. But often it turns out to be the unplanned camps that are the most spectacular.
We went to the Isle of Skye for eight days last year, with plans to bothy or camp each night. The options were endless and we’d intentionally left our plans relatively flexible so we could do whatever we felt like doing when we woke up in the morning.
We had decided where we’d spend our first night though. We had our hearts set on holing up in Rubha Hunish, one of Skye’s three bothies, which is perched right on the northernmost tip of the island. This old coastguard lookout has unbelievable views over the North Sea and having spent a lot of time looking at photos, we knew we had to go.
It’s basic, but it offers unrivalled views, and we really don’t mind basic. It looked amazing. What we hadn’t counted on was that the very easy walk-in from the road would mean the bothy was in high demand. On our arrival, we found it occupied by a friendly group of Scouse lads. It’s small, in fact it’s tiny, so there was no way we would have squeezed in too.
Plans foiled, we sat on a bench in front of the bothy that offered up the panoramic views we were hoping to enjoy all evening and hatched an alternative plan. We’d noticed a couple appear over the edge of the cliff, so we went exploring and found a steep path heading down to the sea. At the foot of the cliffs the Hunish peninsula stretched out, surrounded by sea on three sides – the perfect wild camp spot.
We picked our way down the path and pitched our trusty WickiUp tent, marvelling at what an amazingly serene spot we’d found. We had our very own little slice of peninsula to explore, with not another soul in sight, whereas the cliffs above were practically crawling with people. Being close to the water also had its pluses. We’d carried in a carton of sangria (classy!) which Matt chilled nicely for us by building a little fort out of stones in a narrow inlet. It would have been perfect, had it not been for an over-enthusiastic wave that swept the rocks away and left us sangria-less.
On Skye, in the summer months the sun barely goes down so we spent the night with the doors of the tent wide open, watching the waves and enjoying the stunning colours of the sky.
We know never to be disappointed if adventure plans go awry, because there’s always something just as good, or perhaps even better, around the corner and this was a prime example. Sure, it would have been great to stay in the bothy, but we would have missed out on an epic wild camp. Oh, and the ticks really liked our camp too, so we even got in some good practice with our tick tweezers the next morning!