The most important camping trip of the year
Undoubtedly we all have key dates and events and destinations in our outdoor adventure program (if you plan, like me, too much sometimes). For us THE key event of the year is the PMC - the pre-midge-camp. Or even more the L-PMC, the last-pre-midge-camp. You cannot set a date for it, because you do not know when the dreaded little monsters of the Highlands start to emerge, but from early spring onward you are acutely aware that you must not waste any opportunity for camping or you might find yourself one day with loads of itching regrets!
Because we had been away for a good spell of Scottish weather in April we came back to May with the urge to just go for it. And we settled on a destination we had fallen in love with last year - Loch Urigill. We had fished there a few times but not had the opportunity to take the tent, so it was time to finally get on with that.
The loch is quite large and the best camping spots are on the other shore, which is good and bad news. Good news because wild camping with a boat means you can take more 'stuff' than if you were walking in to your camp site. In the case of this location however the boat is about 500 metres from the parking, so you need to ferry everything to the boat first. Everything included a boat engine, the tent, all the other camping stuff, fishing rods, food
We guessed two trips down and up and down again would do it and yes the good news for the start of the trip was it was downhill to the boat. People with a tendency to plan ahead knew of course that meant it would be uphill the next day but I tried to not let that spoil the fun!
We boarded our vessel and set sail, no engine actually and it took no time to make it to the other side for the perfect tent space. We set up camp quickly (amazing how fast anglers move if they REALLY want to get fishing) and then the boys hit the water and I hit a book. What I love most about this location is the wonderful openness of the landscape, but with a backdrop of mountains. There are little clusters of birch forest dotted around the shore and some lovely small streams are meandering through the flats. Stunning to explore for me as the non-angler and easy to keep track of where everybody else is, dogs, kids!
After a good steak dinner (we love our glamping food!) some evening fishing was done with me as the photographer on duty. And then we just lingered in front of the tent enjoying the sunset - because on a PMC you can do that in peace!...
Same bliss next morning - up and enjoying a leisurely breakfast - in the glow of a red tent, enjoying the view with tent doors all open, planning the day, just enjoying without a worry about midge-repellents, midge-nets, ointments applied to itchy spots! Highland bliss!
We took the boat to explore shores further afield and then had leisurely lunch before doing some loch fishing from the boat. Then, because there can only be so much bliss on any family camping trip, we fitted in a little mummy-meltdown, as Corwin calls it. I found myself in charge of rowing the boat to the shore (about 3 metres away) but being an abysmal rower decided to throw a wobble and scream in horror about abandonment and needing to call mountain rescue to be airlifted to safety (ok, I have my moments, I blame the sun!)
After this 'event' as we now call it we made peace over hot chocolate, cake and some more fishing. And then it was time to break camp and get back to the other side and the uphill slog back to the car (twice). But in some way being happily tired and content meant we just did the slog without too many complaints.
A good PMC - which turned out to be not the L-PMC camp of 2018 after all! Watch this space for our next camping story!
About the Author
About Me & Mine
Monika (an Austrian in Scotland), Stewart (a true Highlander) and Corwin (8), plus 2 dogs and 5 cats. We live on a woodland croft in the parish of Assynt, in the far North West Highlands of Scotland.
Favourite place in the world:
Home - we are lucky to have mountains and beaches on our doorstep and Scotland generally; but we also love the mountains in my native Austria and have a soft spot for California, where we spent our honeymoon.
Favourite things to do outdoors:
Explovering (our personal term for exploring and discovering) mountains, lochs and beaches, camping, foraging, star gazing, Geocaching, developing our already wonderful woodlands into a magic place to share with family, friends and neighbours and fishing.