Sunday, 27 July 2014

Walk 183

The Polbain Loop 15.5miles

I had done some research on today's walk on the Walkhighlands website before I'd left home which is why I was attempting today's little jaunt.

I started from the BnB in Polbain and took the road to Altandhu turning right here towards the bay at Achnahaird, the views to the Assynt mountains were fantastic as I made my way along this road.
Assynt Mountains
Once I arrived at Achnahaird Bay I turned left along a well trodden path skirting around Cnoc Mor passing by Rhuba Duilich and Rhuba Chairn, the path soon disappeared but the going was reasonably OK under foot as there were a lot of sheep tracks that wound in and out of the ferns, but a few times I had to make it up as I went along but eventually I made it to the peninsular at Rubha Na Coigeach.
Rhuba Chairn
Once at the peninsular the terrain changed instantly firstly to very rocky and then to what I can only describe as the nicest path of grass I have ever walked upon, it was like someone had rolled out the green carpet for me!!!! this continued all the way to Reiff.

Once I arrived in Reiff I picked up the road to Altandhu but as I was walking along I caught out the corner of my eye something moving in the water.....Dolphins!!!! what a perfect end to 8 days hard walking, this was as good as it gets!!!!!

Walk 182

Ullapool to Polbain 25miles

My BnB hosts had kindly housed my very wet boots in there boiler room overnight so in the morning they were extremely hot! so much so it felt really weird putting them on but beggars cant be choosers as my mom used to say!

As I walked out of Ullapool I was greeted with a sign informing me that John O Groats was a mere 170 miles north, this was a very emotional moment for me as it seems a lifetime ago when I took the photo of the mile post on Lands End, after seeing the sign I had a silly grin all over my face for the rest of the day.!
I continued out of Ullapool along the busy A835 and the first stop of the day at Ardmair on the banks of Loch Kanaird, it was here that I could get a good look at my possible route today across Beanan Beag.
I walked along the road up and down the glens until I reached the turning for Blughasary, here I stopped and considered my options which were 1) risk life and limb walking the Posities Path to Culnacraig or 2) walk the extra 8 miles via the road route to my final destination at Polbain.  After quite a while I decided on route 2, my head for heights has been getting steadily worse over the last few years and I just couldn't bring myself to take the risk especially the mileage if I had to turn back.

So I plodded up the hill via Strathcanaird eventually turning left at Drumnuie along a thankfully quiet road towards Achnahaird.  The road was a single track and wound its way through some spectacular scenery passing by Loch Feur and edging its way around the very large Loch Lurgainn.
Loch Lurgainn
The track then took me around Loch Bad a Ghaill and onto Loch Osgaig.
Loch Osgaig
Eventually I arrived at Achnahaird Beach, which was just lovely!
Achnahaird Beach
At Achnahaird I took a left turn past Loch Rea and Loch Vatachan where at the latter I got chatting to a man who was setting up his fly fishing gear, I told him about my decision to walk around the road and he  informed me that his wife had walked the Postie Path and from what she had said I'd made the correct choice today!!!

Finally I arrived back at he coast and the view of the Summer Isles was spectacular, even though I'd had to walk an extra 8 miles today it was well worth it in the end.

Accommodation: 192 Polbain BnB £42.50 per night.  Very nice BnB with great views from my room across the bay to the Summer Isles, the owner is very very very chatty!!!!!

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Walk 181

Camusnagaul to Ullapool 24miles

After a remarkably good sleep in the Hostel ( though I did have a whole 12 bed dorm to myself!) I started out along the bottom of Little Loch Broom.
Little Loch Broom
I had a choice today and that was either walk along the A832 until it meets the A835 which would amount to around 30miles in total, or I could take the scenic route via Blarnalearoch, I chose the Scenic route and on reflection I wish I hadn't!!!

I walked down the A832 for a couple of miles and at Dundonnell I cut across land via a very wobbly bridge, I couldn't quite believe how bouncy this bridge was, I had a lot of fun jumping up and down!!!

Dundonnell Bridge
Once off the bridge I followed the single track road for a few miles before I reached a gate with a large sign informing me in 4 different languages that there was no longer a ferry to Ullapool at the end of this road, apparently a lot of older maps still show a ferry which was discontinued 10 years ago.  I followed the track down to the shore and was surprised how close I was to Ullapool, it was a little frustrating as the route I had to take was at least another 13miles! 
Look how close I was!!!!!

I plodded on using my trusty "make it up as you go along" method but unlike other days this next 2.5 miles were the nastiest I have had to do on any of my walks, there was no track of any sort and once I hit the forest it was a nightmare of epic proportions, it took me 3 attempts on various routes just to traverse a few hundred yards of forest, eventually I made my way to Blarnalearoch and I could have kissed the tarmac had it not been raining!!

The rest of the walk was along roads down the west bank of Loch Broom and back up the east bank all the way to my final destination of Ullapool.

Accomodation: Ladysmith House, 24 Pultney St. Ullapool.  Nice BnB, they did a great job of drying my boots overnight.  £35.00 singe room BnB

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Walk 180

Mellon Charles to Camunsagal 21.5miles

The first part of today's walk took me across land to Slaggan, there was a track for a while and then it was "make it up as you go along" time. The good part was that once I arrived at the top of the hill overlooking Slaggan the ruins were in full view and I had something to aim for!
The ruin at slaggan
At Slaggan beach there is a very good 3 mile track that takes you to the road just before Laide where I had to stock up on supplies for both day and night as I was sleeping in a Hostel tonight.

Little Gruinard
Once again my choice of road again today was the A832 and its seems that the further north I go the quieter this road becomes.  I continued on stopping at Little Gruinard to take a picture of there fabulous beach, the road then made its way along Little Loch Broom finally arriving in Camusnaugaul.
Little Loch Broom
Accommodation: Sail Mohr Croft Hostel.  Its a Hostel what more can I say! They do however do a nice breakfast for £5.00 extra which was a bit of a bonus! £26.00 includes breakfast.

Walk 179

Melvaig to Mellon Charles 27.5miles

A grey start to the day and made even greyer when I realised 2 miles down the road from the BnB that I had left my hat in the room, this hat has been with me on most of my journey and I was very sad to have lost it in such a way, especially when 1 hour later I was standing looking at the lighthouse at Rubha Reidh with the rain lashing down thinking I could do with a hat!!!

Rubha Reidh Lighthouse
I quickly took a picture of the lighthouse and then followed the track towards Camas Mor, this was a good track for the first mile or so but then I made a big mistake!

Camas Mor
The track went off to the left looking as though it would end up on the beach, I decided to totally ignore the map AND my GPS which was telling me to go that way and I headed off in the wrong direction!!!  I ask you what idiot does that???  Anyhow I went through many bogs and ended up on top of the hill that I should have walked around! but on the plus side I got a fatanstic view!!
If you have this view you've gone the wrong way!
I managed to scramble down the hill and found the track that I should have been on and this took me in and out of the lochs all the way to Rubha nan Sasan where I picked up the B8057.  The first hamlet on this road was Mellangaun with its very nice beach.
The road took me along Loch Ewe towards Poolewe via Midtwon and Naast, by now the sun was out again and I stopped by the side of the Loch in Poolewe for my lunch.
Isle of Ewe
I had now picked up the busy A832 road again, this took me past Loch Tournaig and finally onto Drumchork where there is a military refuelling station tucked in behind Loch Ewe far from prying eyes!!!

Loch Tournaig

Th final part of today's journey was via Aultbea along a very nice quiet road finally arriving in Mellon Charles just in time for tea.

Accommodation: Tranquillity, Mellon Charles.  Very nice BnB that also has an extensive evening meal menu which I took full advantage of! £30.00BnB

Walk 178

South Erradale to Melvaig 21miles

Today was an all road day which was a nice change from yesterdays exertions. The first few miles were along a quiet track which took me firstly past Opinan then onto Port Henderson, Badachro and finally yet another Sheidaig.


 Just after Sheildaig the rain came, I sheltered under a tree waiting patiently for the worst to pass but 15mins later I gave up and forged on regardless.  The quiet road soon met up with the much busier A832 and it was "hope I don't get squished by a lorry" time, the road passed through Charlestown and finally into Gairloch

Gairloch Beach
As you can see Gairloch has a fabulous beach, the facilities are a bit meagre but I finally found a pub that did lunch and so I was happy.  The busy road tailed off north and I took the much more sedate B road towards my final destination of Melvaig.  The sun had made a reappearance once I reached Big Sand which is another great descriptive name and really says it all about the place.
Big Sand
The final few miles took me through North Erradale and Perterburn finally arriving in Melvaig where just as I was settling into my room for the night a Submarine went past the BnB in the bay, this is my first sighting of a submarine at see ever!
Caoles Beag

Accommodation: Fionncroft, Melvaig. A small bnb run by a very nice lady who left a note on the front door telling me which room I was stopping in tonight.  £40.00 BnB

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Walk 177

Sheildaig to South Erradale 28.5miles

The first stop today was the actual village of Sheildaig, I was hoping to stock up on supplies but unfortunately nothing was open!
I made my way out of the village and linked up with the A896 which is a main road of sorts! the road took me along the south bank of Upper Loch Torridon and everywhere I looked I was surrounded by spectacular mountain ranges.

Torridon Mountains
I soon turned off the main road passing by the Youth Hostel at Torridon and finally finding a shop to stock up with goodies including my first ice cream of the holiday! Not long after Torridon I took a track marked on the map which looked interesting, this led me around the loch to Inveralligin, just as I was walking out of this hamlet I heard a strange moaning noise coming from a house and couldn't quite pick what the sound was, but then suddenly it all became clear........bagpipes! the haunting tune was fantastic and it followed me all the way around the bay.

The road out of Inveralligin took me up and down some very steep hills towards Lower Diabaig passing by Loch Diabaig on the way, this was thankfully the last of the road walking for the next 8miles.
Loch Diabaig
At Lower Diabaig I took the track to the Bothy at Craig this a well worn track that is very easy to follow and relief from all the previous days road walking.  Just before Craig there is a steep and rocky descent down into the valley where there is a nice footbridge to take me onto the next part of the walk to South Erradale, the path after Craig is a lot less distinct and after a couple of false trails I managed to find a decent sheep track that took me all the way to Redpoint.
Redpoint Beach
 Accommodation: Croft 23, South Erradale. £50.00.  A new build BnB run by a lovely couple from Yorkshire.

Walk 176

Applecross to Sheildaig 23miles

Today was another hot one so I started early on my walk around the Applecross peninsula.  All of the walk was along roads which at 9am on Sunday morning were thankfully quiet.  I headed out of Applecross and the road swung north with my first stop at Sand which is a cool name for a beach says it all really!
The road continued on through Londain, Callakille and Cuiag, I had now picked up Raasay and Rona Islands on my left finally leaving behind Skye.

Raasay and Rona
The final settlement on the western side of the peninsula is Fearnmore the road then started to head south towards Arrisa along Loch Torridon.
The road wound its way through forest and past lochs, up and down before arriving in Inverbain where just a few yards in front of me a Pinemartin ran across the road, he was too quick for me to get the camera out but a first for me!  I was now walking along Loch Sheidaig passing by the many islands in the bay, before arriving at my bed and breakfast for the night hot and very very thirsty!
Loch Sheildaig
Accomodation: Kinloch BnB, Nr Sheildaig £40.00. This was very nice with fabulous views and very quiet.