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Kathi walks the Hebridean Way for MCS




admin posted 6 years ago

Updated: 23 August 2018




Kathi Kamleitner recently completed the Hebridean Way on her own to raise money for the Marine Conservation Society (MCS). When I saw Kathi’s tweet about her challenge and her support of a fantastic organisation, I got in touch with her to find out more.  She tells us about her motivation for doing the walk and why she likes to promote sustainable travel.


Walking on South-Uist – Hebridean Way in 12 days, photo byKathi Kamleitner


I fell in love with long-distance walking / trekking last year on the West Highland Way. I did the northern half of it in 4 days and later in the year joined an all-women hike in Sweden which lasted five days and led through absolute wilderness. We had to carry everything we needed in our backpacks – from tent to food – and I loved the experience from start to finish. I learnt a lot about my physical and mental capabilities and drew a lot of confidence from the achievement. That’s why I decided to incorporate more long-distance walking into my Scotland holidays as well.

A Heb Way marker post on South Uist - Solo walking the Hebridean Way, photo by Kathi Kamleitner

Scotland and me

I’ve lived in Glasgow for almost 5 years now and 2.5 years ago I started my website Watch Me See. It’s a travel blog and I focus almost entirely on Scotland travel – my readers will find tips and itineraries, reviews of activities and accommodation and generally lots of inspiration for their own Scotland trips. I also do private guided tours in Glasgow and offer a travel planning service to help people put their personalised Scotland itineraries together.

A mountain view on Harris -Solo walking the Hebridean Way, photo by Kathi Kamleitner

A mountain view on Harris -Solo walking the Hebridean Way, photo by Kathi Kamleitner

The Hebridean Way

I decided to hike the Hebridean Way over a year before it would become reality. It is the newest long-distance trail in Scotland and only opened for walkers in May 2017. It is 156 miles long and runs across 10 islands – Vatersay, Barra, Eriskay, South Uist, Benbecula, Grimsay, North Uist, Berneray, Harris and Lewis. My plan was to walk it by myself as a woman and camp along the way – things I got a lot of questions about were:

  • Would it be safe?
  • Wouldn’t I be lonely?
  • How heavy is your backpack?

I hiked the Hebridean Way in 12 days, doing between 9 and 15 miles a day. I camped most of the way, but sometimes stayed in hostels when the weather was really bad. It was my first time in the Western Isles and I know I will be back many times in the future – I fell in love!

Wild camping on South Uist - Hebridean Way accommodation, photo by Kathi Kamleitner

Wild camping on South Uist – Hebridean Way accommodation, photo by Kathi Kamleitner

How does the MCS fit in?

As a travel blogger I am aware that the more I promote a certain destination, the more people will visit – and that can cause many environmental issues. Travel has a huge environmental impact, but I also love doing it, so I’m doing my best to find a balance and promote responsible and sustainable ways to travel to Scotland. I write about off the beaten path destinations, am careful with geo-tagging too specifically on Instagram and encourage my readers to think beyond the typical bucket list places in Scotland.

Since 2017 I have been vegan and with time I have become more interested in the zero-waste lifestyle. I’m by far not there yet, but I like using my platform to advocate for eco-friendly, responsible travel and living anywhere in the world. Together with a few other bloggers I signed up for the MCS’s plastic-free challenge in July and did my best to cut out all single-use plastic from my life.

The end point of the Hebridean Way walking route in Stornoway - Solo walking the Hebridean Way, photo by Kathi Kamleitner

The only problem

It was the month of my walk on the Hebridean Way, and I knew that on the road it would be difficult to keep up my plastic-free life. I would have to buy light-weight, easy-to-make trekking food to carry with me – every gram counts, when you carry such a big backpack; I wouldn’t be able to make my own hummus, but had to buy the stuff from the supermarket, which comes in a plastic tub; things like that – I knew I would use plastic despite the challenge I had signed up for, so I wanted to do something else.

That’s when I decided to start the Just Giving page and raise donations for the MCS instead. They are doing such important work and I wanted to share some of it with my readers and followers.

This is the link to my page if you’d like to support the MCS: justgiving.com/fundraising/watch-me-see-heb-way

I’ve written an article about my reasons for this trip on my website.

More about the Outer Hebrides

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