I hadn’t slept all night – my knee caught fire every time I moved slightly – sore from a nine hour walk up and down the hills surrounding the Loch Ness. I had used the instant ice pack in our first aid kit but that was useless, and though the tylenol would help, the idea of using pain killers on my knee brought me to thoughts of my grandpa and his two knee replacements. I shook my head and laid down – I’m too young to rely on drugs to help me sleep through the night.
It was 6am and I was on wet ground, the tent was soaked. We had no choice but to set it up the night before in the pouring rain. Camping in the middle of October – on a hike across Scotland – did I come up with this idea.
To avoid touching the sides of the tent in an effort to keep dry all night I had rested my camera bag above my feet and though I fell into a light sleep I was never quite comfortable, never quite sure my camera would avoid a night of slow death in the forming puddles around the tent.
Great Glen Way travel photography – so glamorous.
We woke up the next deary morning barely able to see the Loch in front of us. It had been a cold night in a small tent and though our food supply was fine we skipped breakfast and walked on to Invermoriston.
[Urquhart castle on the Loch Ness, Drumnadrochit Scotland UK, October 2013]
That day was the toughest of the five day Great Glen Way trek. The weight of my pack with a sleeping bag, tent, clothes and camera gear felt like the weight of the world going up hill, but even the steepest slope was better than the jarring impact on my knee going downhill. The rain lightened as walked from Invermoriston to Fort Augustus and though we were prepared to camp once we hiked through the small town the idea of a roof and a bed was just too temping.
We found a few beds in a hostel not too far away and our bags exploded on the red retro carpet into a mix of dirty laundry, maps, and wet camping gear. Shannon (My travel partner and good friend) brushed her teeth, and tested the shower in the adjoining bathroom. Her head poked back through the door;
“Taylor, the water pressure – unbelievable.”
I laughed and tried to jot down a few captions about the photos I took during the day before it was my turn. I turned the heat on in the room while Shannon showered and organized my gear – our socks lined the warming radiator and it was a moment of bliss – just so nice to have a roof over my head.
There is nothing like having no bed for long enough to make you appreciate even the simplest of beds.
Shannon came out of the bathroom and danced around our small room – she felt the same – and in just a towel she half sang half laughed, “heaven is a place on earth.