Scotland is one of the most breathtaking places anywhere on earth. She is an unspoiled paradise filled with outdoor adventures, rocky, big skies, ancient castles, spectacular wildlife, secluded lochs, snow-capped mountains and white sand beaches. From the plateaus of the Cairngorms, to the tightrope ridges of the Cuillin to the white water rapids of the Corryvreckan whirlpool, Scotland is the ultimate adventure playground -- and no one knows this better than travel-photographer, Richard Gaston.
To find out more about his lock-distance hike along the infamous Cape Wrath Trail, his camping trip in the mountains of Patagonia and where he’s planning to go when the travel restrictions are lifted, here’s what happened when we recently caught up with Richard.
Whilst we've not been able to travel what’s kept you busy?
I have wanted to complete a particular long distance hiking route in Scotland - The Cape Wrath Trail - for many years and the time in between lockdowns was the moment we seized. With a lot of free time, we were able to plan for such an adventure, particularly our re-supply points for food and the logistics of getting off such a remote area during lockdown.
The Cape Wrath Trail is an unmarked and magnificently wild long distance walk (240 miles) from Fort William to Cape Wrath, the north-westernmost point of mainland Britain. My good friend, David Cooper and I self-sufficiently completed this hike in 17 days (one rest day to sit out a storm). We ventured through some of Scotland’s wildest regions, encountering the country’s grandest mountains, lonely sweeping glens, highest waterfalls and remotest beaches. Not to forget the vast amounts of relentless bog.
Not being able to travel was a tough pill to swallow, however this epic adventure was on our doorstep and provided the same emotions we get from travelling abroad.
You shoot for Cereal Mag, a publication we love. Where’s the most epic location this job has taken you?
It was my last trip abroad, shortly before lockdown commenced. In 2019 we visited Chile. A trip divided by contrasting conditions. The first week hiking around the W-Trek in Patagonia and camping in the mountains. Followed by the second week exploring one of the driest places on earth, the Atacama Desert.
What trips have you got planned for life after lockdown?
I’m torn between Namibia, Svalbard and Kamchatka. All vastly different. Just a matter of logistics and what’s possible considering the uncertainties of travel.
Do you have any tips to explore more sustainably?
Explore locally. There’s so much on your doorstep - just like the Cape Wrath Trail - especially here in the UK. There are so many incredible places to see. Be creative and develop ideas for multi day routes that feel like you are backpacking.
Lastly, what 3 things can you not travel without?
Green tea, a compact rucksack that stores in its own front pocket and a portable battery charger.