Monday, March 10, 2014

Gamekeeper's Track

Often, while hiking through remote areas in the islands, you'll come across quad bike tracks. Typically made by gamekeepers, they are laid out to avoid steep terrain and the worst of the bogs. They are by no means the shortest route distance-wise, but time-wise they are often your best bet. 

On South Uist a series of these tracks cross almost the entire east coast from south of Corodale north to Uisinis. A couple years ago I followed one to remote Glen Corodale, where I wanted to spend the night on the spot where Prince Charlie hid for three weeks in 1746. Several sections of this track cross some steep terrain. To get up these challenging sections the gamekeeper has built several long, wooden ramps. At the top of the steepest ramps, a sturdy iron spike, with an eye-bolt at the top, is set in the earth; so if needed, the quad bike can winch itself to the top.

In the first photo you can see the quad-bike track as it winds up and down (and up and down), the seemingly endless series of ridges between Glen Corodale and Glen Hellisdale. The second photo shows one of the wood ramps. Next time we'll see what's at the end of the track in Glen Corodale.

Gamekeeper track to Corodale (see white arrows)
Quad bike ramp below Beinn Mhor on the way to Corodale

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