hielan' safari

‘It is a badge of honour among hikers to have ‘bagged’ all 284 Munros, which to the uninitiated, might sound like a joyless mountain slog. But even for non-committed trekkers, a spot of Munro bagging is an infinitely exhilarating experience in the wildest corners of the British Isles.’ The Lonely Planet

This walk of sixty-five-plus miles is a Hielan’ Ways Safari, composed of animal related places, gathered together in the spirit of Munro bagging. Darker realities force themselves upon our attention, in habitat erosion, traps, wildlife crime and ‘factory’ shooting of ‘game’. Most of the place-names are taken from Gaelic – indicative of use and animals of cultural or cultic significance – while a few have been invented, to reflect contemporary fauna and human interventions, themselves representative of forms of ‘cultish’ behaviour.

In May 2014, a black water-vole, a protected species, was found in a mink trap in Glen Ernan.  This spot marks the start of the walk.

Burn of the Black Water-vole (NJ 270 127) to The Dovecote (NJ 357 204)

The walk can be extended 30-40 miles, by way of The Deer Trap, and The Devil’s Park, giving a total of 29 animals ‘bagged’.

Distance: 65 miles, extension 36 miles
Ascent/Descent: 5500m, extension 2700m
Accommodation: camping
Transport: car to Glen Ernan, then cycle to start 

Hielan' Safari: CLICK TO ENLARGE

Walkers should devise a route by way of:

Dog’s Craig

Cairn of the Eagle
Carn na h-Iolaire

Wee Burn of the Den
Little Allt na Saobhaidhe

Big Burn of the Den
Muckle Allt na Saobhaidhe

Blind Burn of the Pig
Caochan nam Muc

Dark Fairy
Shean Dhu

Hawking Knock
Cnoc na Sealg

Birdies Hill
Tom nan Eun

Roe-deer Hollow
Hill of Clais nan Earb


Birdies Burn
Allt an Eòin

Salmon Burn
Allt na bradon

Carn Daimh
Deer Cairn

Deerbone Glen
The Dovecote

Cow Hollow
Clais nam Bò

Hinds Crag
Creag na Gamhna

Birdies Crag
Craig an Eunan

The Deer Trap

Deer Stanes

Corbies Nest

Boar Stone

Craw Stane

Devils Park

Lambs well

Raven Hill

Cats Craig

Oxen Well

place-name translations: Alec Finlay