Cape Wrath Trail

  • Hey Guest, We're having our annual Winter Moot and we'd love you to come. PLEASE LOOK HERE to secure your place and get more information.
    For forum threads CLICK HERE

Shewie

Mod
Mod
Dec 15, 2005
24,259
21
46
Yorkshire
This is a little different to the norm on here but I know one or two might be interested, any comments welcome as usual



Saturday 23rd August

Pete woke up in the back of the van around 06:00, the clunk of him opening the back door was enough to wake me in the front cab. We'd spent the night parked up in the FC car park at Ballachulish at the end of the Glen Coe road, we'd arrived quite late and after a bite to eat and a coffee we crashed out in Pete's van for the night.
Andy had made an earlier start on Friday and chosen to book himself into the Loch Leven hotel, we chatted a couple of times on the way up and he mentioned he'd had a funny turn with his vertigo again after the long drive and was retiring early for the night. I tried to call Andy a few times in the morning but couldn't get hold of him until around 08:00, he still wasn't 100% but we agreed to meet up in Fort Bill a little later.
Pete and I headed for Morrisons cafe for a very average breakfast whilst Andy enjoyed smoked Salmon at the hotel, the van was parked in the long stay car park and a couple of hefty tickets left in the window to see us through to the end, we jumped in with Andy and headed round to Glenfinnan. After leaving some details at the hotel we left Andy's car in the car park, loaded our packs and began our trek north to the cape.


Andy, Pete and me hiding, heading north from the viaduct
P1030273.jpg



Our route took us up the very pretty Glen Finnan, following the river and plantations until we reached Corryhully bothy where we branched NE towards Streap. We stopped for five minutes at the bothy to dodge a squally shower, Andy still wasn't right and had a couple of wobbles whilst we sheltered inside.
P1030277.jpg



We continued up the steady 2km climb towards Streap, it was hot in the sun and we were soon taking layers off.


P1030278.jpg



At the top of the pass we took a break, Andy's condition hadn't improved so we sat and discussed his options at what seemed like a sensible place. After the months of planning and preparation it was frustrating, the only sensible option was for him to turn around and head back down although his heart was saying differently. Ten minutes of debate and Andy made the decision to turn around and headed back, Pete and I packed up and continued on, half way through day one, three became two.


P1030279.jpg



As we dropped a couple of hundred metres conditions underfoot got really wet, we bog jumped for a while before giving up and just wading through, Glean Cuirnean was a nightmare and not the best way to start a long hike. Reaching the bottom we took five minutes to empty our trail shoes and refill our water bottles.
P1030284.jpg



We thought we'd crossed the worst of the bog but when we reached the forestry in Glen Pean we were diverted for another kilometer and half though knee length grass and ankle deep bog, at the bridge at Strathan we could rejoin our route through the forestry and on to the bothy.


P1030285.jpg



We were the first to reach A Chuil bothy shortly before 18:00, half an hour later another couple arrived who were out on a CWT reccie, they'd met Andy at Corryhully so we were pleased to hear he'd made it down the valley okay. A little later three Munro baggers arrived with coal, timber and whisky, they were good folk and we chatted about our proposed route, it sounded like we were in for a good trip. We ate our meals, washed shoes and socks and retired fairly early, I was soon asleep despite the AC/DC and whisky fueled laughter from the next room.


P1030288.jpg



Distance - 18.1km




Sunday 24th August


I slept great, as did Pete I think, but we were both up at first light eager to get cracking. It was another beautiful morning without a cloud in the sky, we cooked and ate breakfast outside before packing up and tip toeing past the other guys.


Pete sends the first Spot of the trip
P1030289.jpg



Looking back to the bothy
P1030291.jpg



We meandered up Glen Dessary following the river through a very pretty plantation, if there is such a thing? Leaving the forestry we climbed out of the glen and up into a narrow gorge towards Lochan a Mhaim and the Finiskaig river.


P1030293.jpg



P1030294.jpg



P1030297.jpg



P1030298.jpg



P1030299.jpg



P1030300.jpg



We followed the Finiskaig river a little too far, we should have crossed much higher but instead found ourselves scrambling over large boulders and swinging off dodgy looking old birch trees, we could have turned back but it was actually good fun.


Finiskaig river and Sourlies beyond
P1030301.jpg



We called in at Sourlies for lunch, wild boar saucisson from Sarlat with a nice parmesan reggiano, washed down with cherry Koolaid and Nuun. When we left the bothy the tide was right out so we walked around the beach and round towards Carnoch. The going along the valley floor was very wet again, trying to reach the footbridge was swamp hell, I tried to vault one patch and went up to my thigh in stinking bog juice.


P1030302.jpg



It was much the same all the way along the glen towards Ben Aiden, we passed the couple from the bothy who'd pitched on a rise to avoid the bog, I considered joining them but it was too early in the day so we pressed on. The path was dodgy at best as we headed for the proposed camp site, a short steep scramble with only bracken and heather for handholds got the pulse going. Head height bracken and more bog meant the last couple of kms were a real bind, we reached the camp area around 18:00.


I pitched my Trailstar on the only bit of half dry ground we could find
P1030304.jpg



The river was low and no rain forecast so Pete chose to bivvy on the raised river bed. We had a small fire on the beach which meant we could dry our shoes and socks off once again, we ate, drank and chatted for a while before calling it a night.


P1030305.jpg



Distance - 16.6km




Monday 25th August


We were both up at first light again, the secluded glen we were camped in was chilly though, with no chance of any warmth from the sun we had breakfast and packed up.


Morning Pete
P1030307.jpg



Looking back down to camp
P1030308.jpg



Our route took us along a very pretty valley under the shadow of Ben Aiden
P1030310.jpg



A simple climb out of the end of the valley had us stumped, the bracken was head height again and we struggled to find our path through. In the end we resorted to clambering up the side of a burn and up the hill side before we could pick up our path again.


Towards Loch Quoich and Sgurr Mor
P1030311.jpg



P1030312.jpg



It was a slog up the beallach but we were soon descending down Gleann Unndalain, the first decent path we come across since leaving Andy. It was here I put my left foot on a sharp rock and bruised my outer arch/metatarsal area, this would niggle me for the rest of the trip.


P1030313.jpg



Looking north towards Barrisdale Bay
P1030314.jpg



We stopped at the bothy on the way through for lunch, nicely setup and would make a great base for a few days.
P1030316.jpg



P1030318.jpg



P1030320.jpg



P1030321.jpg



The walk from Barrisdale round to Kinloch Hourn took a bit longer than expected, not helped by the fact I missed a path meaning we had to back track a couple of kms early on. The scenery was lovely though, we stopped at one of the rivers and soaked our feet for half an hour in the sun.


P1030322.jpg



P1030324.jpg



Runival
P1030325.jpg



We reached the asphalt at Kinloch Hourn about 18:30, Andy had mentioned there was somewhere to pay and camp with basic facilities so we were on the look out, as we walked past a farm a lady came out and gave us directions. We found the gamekeepers cottage and paid a bloke from Pudsey a pound to sleep next to the river. Big Easy Gumbo for tea followed by lemon cheesecake and that was me out for the count.


Distance - 20.2km




Tuesday 26th August


Another bright start to the day, although neither of us were in a hurry to get up, we had a lazy breakfast and broke camp. The guy from the cottage called by for another natter, it must get lonely round these parts.


P1030330.jpg



We followed the track back down to the cottage and up through the cedar forest, the smell was amazing, we picked up the Allt Coire Sgoireadail as we climbed through another beautiful glen.


P1030332.jpg



P1030334.jpg



P1030335.jpg



We dropped down into Wester Glen Quoich then turned north up the Bealach Duibh Leac, the descent was easy enough but the path soon disappeared as we climbed the bealach. The haul up the western flank of Creag nan Damh nearly killed me, tussocky boggy ground with lots of undulation whilst still trying to climb 300m, by the time we reached the top my legs had gone.


P1030338.jpg



P1030339.jpg



Shiel Bridge in the distance
P1030340.jpg



The descent from the bealach was steep in places but well drained and easy to follow, we reached the Allt Coire Toiteil and had a long lunch whilst soaking our feet.
P1030341.jpg



We followed the very pretty Allt Mhalagain down to the A87 and road marched round to Shiel Bridge, it was stiffling in the sun and dodgy on the busy road.


P1030342.jpg



We called at the shop on the way past, I fancied a couple of cold ciders for that night plus a bag of marshmallows to scoff on the walk round.


A calm Loch Duich on the way to Morvich camp site
P1030344.jpg



We hobbled into the campsite just as the warden was locking up for the day, we got booked in but when we inquired about our food parcels we'd sent up we found only mine had arrived, doh! With Pete's parcel still awol we looked at what we still had surplus, probably enough to get by for a few days but certainly not enough to get us to Kinlochewe and our next resupply. We looked at the maps and came up with a plan, still hoping that postie would bring Pete's parcel first thing the next morning we had a plan B in case he didn't.


Distance - 22.4km




Wednesday 27th August


The warden had said postie normally arrives around 10:00 each day, with this in mind we had a lie in, I still woke fairly early though and took a walk up the road to where I began my TGO in 2012, Gleann Lichd looked a lot different in the sunshine.
I sorted through my new food parcel and repacked the food bag, we packed up slowly and then sat around twiddling our thumbs waiting for postie. I think it was around 10:30-11:00 by the time he arrived, Pete quickly intercepted him and began repacking with his new supplies. It was gone midday by the time we were ready to leave, our 23km planned route was out of the question now so we put plan B into action. That was a bus from Shiel Bridge to Kyle of Lochalsh then a train to Strathcarron where we would pick up the western alternative route on the Harveys map we had. We'd miss the Falls of Glomach but we didn't have much choice unfortunately.
I grabbed a full Scottish at the Jacobite while Pete took a wander over to the beach to enjoy some of his new supplies, we caught the 15:00 bus to K.O.L, enjoyed ice cream and other junk before getting a train into Strathcarron for around 17:00.


P1030347.jpg



Leaving the station we followed the river Carron along the valley to Coulags before turning north up the Fionn-abhainn, it was midge hell in the last of the daylight and camping options weren't great, so we pressed onto a bothy we'd spotted on the map.


P1030348.jpg



P1030349.jpg



P1030351.jpg



The bothy was empty when we arrived and with darkness fast approaching we settled in for a quiet night. Pete cooked with hexy in the pot belly stove which worked really well, I fired up the Jetboil and tucked into Dotties Chicken and Dumplings stew. Not long after nightfall we crawled into our bags.


Distance - 10.5km




Thursday 28th August


With another short day ahead we both enjoyed a lie in, at breakfast we were joined by a couple we'd seen a few times along the way, they weren't camping but carrying day packs and using hostels and hotels, covering serious mileage each day they looked a bit confused when they turned up and found us there already.


P1030352.jpg



P1030354.jpg



We enjoyed a nice clear and dry path all the way up the glen beyond Loch Coire Fionnaraich, turning NE over the Bealach Ban


P1030355.jpg



P1030356.jpg



P1030358.jpg



Coming over the other side of the pass we were greeted with one of those views that'll stay with you forever, the clouds even lifted just in time for us to enjoy Liathach and Beinn Eighe at their best.


P1030359.jpg



P1030360.jpg



P1030361.jpg



Moi
P1030362.jpg



West towards Loch Torridon
P1030364.jpg



Wow
P1030365.jpg



P1030366.jpg



As we dropped down to the Ling Hut we scouted out a few possible campsites, nothing too good so we carried on, eventually settling for some nice flat grass beside a ruin not far from the car park. The midges were a bit full on at times so I broke out the Beatons for the first time.


P1030369.jpg



P1030371.jpg



Distance 11.2km




Friday 29th August


It felt a bit cooler when I woke, looking out of the Trailstar I could see we had grey skies for the first time on the trip, I was toasty in my bag but got up and had breakfast before packing up, Pete stirred not long after.


P1030374.jpg



I'd penciled in the route for today during the planning stages, it was going to be a nice to have if we had the time, as it turned out the amended route and parcel cock up put us right there, bonus.


Climbing up between Liathach and Beinn Eighe
P1030375.jpg



P1030376.jpg



P1030377.jpg



Beinn Dearg and Sgurr Mor
P1030378.jpg



Wild
P1030379.jpg



P1030381.jpg



P1030382.jpg



We climbed the decent path around the back of Sail Mhor and the Beinn Eighe massive up to the hidden loch
P1030383.jpg



Loch Coire Mhic Fhearchair
P1030384.jpg



A nice lunch break in the sunshine was spent eating shortbread and Nutella while Pete repaired a tear on the collar of his pack with Hippo tape, as we packed up and headed down from the loch the skies darkened and it began to rain, on with the waterproofs. To coincide with the downturn in the weather the path also became very sketchy and we were soon back to bog jumping and heather bashing. Trying our best to contour the slopes we got suckered in by a faint path and ended up way off route, a slog uphill to get us back on track but we still couldn't find a decent route. We resorted to taking bearings until we reached a path a couple of kilometers further up the glen, totally soaked and fed up we strolled into Kinlochewe.
We were booked into the bunkhouse the following night but were confident they'd fit us in a day early, as it turned out there was a cycling meet on the next day so they were full, we called in at the caravan site and were dead chuffed when they said they had space.
Once we were setup and a few bits of clothes laundered we headed round to the pub, we missed the food but a couple of Guinesses went down very nicely before collecting our next food parcels and heading back to camp for dehydrated rations and an early night.


Distance - 19km




Saturday 30th August


With an awful weather forecast we decided to take the day off, get some admin chores done and give the feet a rest, we had the night in the bunkhouse to look forward to and a table booked in the hotel for some proper grub later. After recovering clean washing from the excellent drying room we left the camp site, sent home some supplies at the post office and took a gentle stroll up the river. We stopped under a bridge for an hour or so while the heavy showers came in waves, we watched the river rise a couple of feet during the time we were there, we were glad we weren't on the hills.
The pub grub was okay, nothing to write home about and probably not worth the price we paid, but still better than eating out of a plastic bag. I hardly slept at the bunkhouse, the bloke above me snored like a lancaster bomber and kept me awake all night. Earplugs and MP3 player didn't have any effect, give me a bog and the Trailstar anytime.


Distance - not a lot




Sunday 31st August


Morning couldn't come soon enough, despite hardly sleeping when I saw Pete walk out of the room I got up too. It must have been around 05:30 but we were both packed and ready in no time, out the door and back on the trail. Leaving the Torridian hills behind us we followed the Abhainn Bruachaig up towards the Heights of Kinlochewe, we still had low cloud and it looked like it would rain anytime.


P1030386.jpg



It was warm and muggy as we turned north up Gleann na Muice, the midges were loitering and pounced whenever I stopped for a minute.


P1030387.jpg



P1030388.jpg



Our nice dry track would soon run out as we reached the lochs at the top of the climb, where we had to take a bearing over the Bealach na Croise between Sgurr Dubh and Beinn Bheag.


P1030390.jpg



Descending down the other side we dropped into another beautiful glen, we took a break by the river for half an hour.


P1030393.jpg



Loch an Nid
P1030394.jpg



P1030395.jpg



P1030396.jpg



The path down the glen was boggy in places but easy to follow, we reached a hazel wood at the bottom and considered camping with the cows.


P1030398.jpg



P1030400.jpg



P1030401.jpg



P1030402.jpg



Pack shot
P1030403.jpg



Following the Abhainn Strath na Sealga towards Shenavall bothy
P1030404.jpg



Five minutes from the bothy and we get a soaking from a shower coming up the glen, nice one
P1030405.jpg



Bothy in the distance
P1030406.jpg



P1030407.jpg



When we reached the bothy there were folk there already, they looked like they were stopping for a week by the amount of food they had with them. They were all sleeping outside in a tent so we had lots of options for sleeping, we took the small room at the end.


P1030408.jpg



P1030409.jpg



Distance - 26.9km




Monday 1st September


Despite us finding a cosy room we hardly slept, a mouse decided to try and raid us in the night and spent hours chewing through a wad of plastic bags we'd rammed into it's hole, Pete spent the night punching the skirting board every time it started. We were up at first light, packed and away up the hill before 06:30.


Looking back down to the bothy and Beinn Dearg Bheag and Beinn Dearg Mor
P1030410.jpg



P1030411.jpg



An Teallach disappearing behind us
P1030412.jpg



I'm not sure why but I didn't take many more pictures on this day, the walk over the tops from Corrie Hallie to Inverlael wasn't very exciting, mostly land rover track with a dodgy bit at the end. We were supposed to leave the hillside through a plantation, but after what looked like storm damage, the whole place was a mess. We should have taken a right hand turn but instead decided to follow the route on both our maps, I'm glad to report the cuben pack survived the gorse, brambles and holly bushes unscathed.


Inverlael and Loch Broom
P1030413.jpg



When we reached the A835 we took a break at the river and then began the seven mile road walk to Ullapool, after about 3km we'd had enough and rang for a taxi. The cab dropped us at Broomfield campsite where we booked in, got the shelters up and headed straight to the chippy for fish supper and Irn Bru. We walked up to Tescos later for baccy and I had a craving for fresh fruit and greek yoghurt, weird!


Distance - 20.4km




Tuesday 2nd September


Despite the earlier hiccups and change of route we still decided to take a zero day at Ullapool, after a lie in on perfect family campsite grass we took a wander up to the outdoor gear shop and had a mooch in town. I needed two more 100g gas carts and Pete was concerned about radiant heat in his Bulin so treated himself to a Pocket Rocket.
We had another clothes washing session in the afternoon followed by another jaunt up to Tescos, the weather was lovely so we decided to shop for a BBQ on the beach later.


Can anybody ID this? I had a few of them visit over the course of the trip
P1030415.jpg



P1030417.jpg



Several Rekorderligs, sausages, garlic mushrooms, sauteed tatties and burgers later we called it a night.


Distance - not a lot




Wednesday 3rd September


Another great nights sleep on the campsite and we were both up fairly early, yet another visit to Tescos on the way out and we were on our way again. We followed to route up through the quarry and into the pretty Glen Achall, evidence of the recent flooding at every burn, tide marks around the loch a good two metres higher than normal.


P1030420.jpg



P1030421.jpg



We stopped for lunch next to the river beyond Cadubh, the midges were out in force again so we didn't hang around for long.
P1030422.jpg



P1030424.jpg



Knockdamph was tidy but it was too early to call it a day, we had a brew and carried on.
P1030428.jpg



At a ford crossing near the confluence of Rappach Water and Abhainn Poiblidh we got well and truly mugged by clegs, mossies and midges, I'd planned to camp here but we binned that idea and pressed on to the Schoolhouse bothy.


The Beatons Boys
P1030430.jpg



P1030431.jpg



P1030432.jpg



Schoolhouse bothy, immaculate
P1030433.jpg



P1030434.jpg



It was only around 16:00 when we stopped for the day, Pete had a siesta while I did some admin, we ate early and retired ahead of a long day tomorrow.


Distance 24.8km




Thursday 4th September


Without heavy snorers, annoying mice and AC/DC we were both well rested when we woke, cinnamon porridge and a couple of brews and we were away down the track through Glen Einig.
P1030435.jpg



When we reached the A837 at Oykel Bridge I was hoping to grab another breakfast, we timed it badly and just missed it, we settled instead for a fresh coffee and giant slab of lovely homemade flapjack.


P1030437.jpg



P1030438.jpg



The route along the glen was pleasant, all of it on good land rover tracks so progress was good. We came across a CWT sign for the first time and followed the blue blazes up a bog and onto a disused forestry track, the first few kms weren't too bad but eventually my bruised foot started to ache on the stony surface.


P1030439.jpg



But we still made good time and eventually the river led us to Loch Ailsh and the quaint houses beside Benmore Lodge, I had us for camping around here so we tracked the river northwards looking for somewhere flat and dry'ish. Leaving the forestry we found a nice flat area right next to the confluence of the River Oykel and Allt Sail an Ruathair.


Benmore Lodge
P1030441.jpg



P1030443.jpg



P1030445.jpg



The gentle breeze seemed to swirl around in all directions where we'd stopped, just enough to keep the midges away but as soon as it dropped they were out. We thought they must be related to the commando midges we experienced at Shenavall.
More Packit Gourmet delights and another early night.


Distance - 24km




Friday 5th September


It had rained several times during the night, it woke me up a couple of times, the river had risen a few inches when I looked over. It was flat calm with bugger all breeze, it made for a hasty breakfast and pack up when the flying teeth appeared.


Running away from the midges
P1030446.jpg



Following the River Oykel
P1030447.jpg



As the glen closed in under Breabag the track turned into path and then petered out, we bog jumped our way for a couple of kilometers until we stopped at the outlet of Dubh Loch Beag for a second breakfast.
P1030448.jpg



P1030449.jpg



P1030450.jpg



P1030452.jpg



At the end of the glen is a fairly steep climb up tussocky grass, we picked out a good line from the bottom and soon made it up to the pass under Breabag Tarsuinn and Conival


P1030455.jpg



P1030457.jpg



P1030459.jpg



P1030461.jpg



As the bealach drops down the other side we picked up deer tracks that carried us down the pretty Gleann Dubh


P1030463.jpg



Gleann Dubh, Inchnadamph and Loch Assynt
P1030464.jpg



P1030466.jpg



P1030468.jpg



P1030469.jpg



We were booked in for the night at Inchnadamph Lodge and arrived there early afternoon, it's a fantastic place with everything you need laid on, even free tea and coffee. We spent the afternoon doing laundry and sorting through our third and final food parcels.


P1030470.jpg



The lodge became busy in the evening with various walking and geology parties turning up, luckily we had a bunk room to ourselves so we enjoyed a quiet and restful night.


Distance - 14km
 
Last edited:

Shewie

Mod
Mod
Dec 15, 2005
24,259
21
46
Yorkshire
Saturday 6th September


With heavy rainfall overnight and more forecast for the day we looked at the maps and decided to take the road walk over to Kylesku rather than going round Glencoul and Glendhu. It was a tough decision as it was a great stretch of the route, we'd pass the highest waterfall in Britain at Eas a Chual Aluinn before spending the night at the secluded Glencoul bothy, but with one if not two big river crossings to make I didn't think we'd be able to cross them. We talked about catching a bus north but then decided instead to walk the A894 over the tops beside Quinag and down to Kylesku. It was a horrid walk, it rained most of the way, relentless s-bends for what seemed like forever, the only thing that kept the spirits up was the dumb sheep that walked in front of us for a couple of kms.


P1030472.jpg



P1030473.jpg



P1030475.jpg



Looking down to Glencoul
P1030477.jpg



We stopped for a tea and scones on the way through Unapool before continuing down the hill to Kylesku. I'd arranged with the hotel to camp in their grounds but as we passed through we didn't fancy it, we carried on through the woods until we eventually found somewhere big enough for a bivvy and a Trailstar, between showers and a setting sun we got set up.
P1030481.jpg



Under the bridge lol
P1030482.jpg



Distance 15.4km




Sunday 7th September


I slept great again, despite a visit from a noisy mouse during the night, it was our longest day of the trip so far so I gave Pete a shout and we got up. We'd both heard dolphins clicking and squealing around first light, with a resident seal nearby and the otters that came to see us off, camping under the bridge was actually quite nice.


P1030485.jpg



Quinag still in cloud
P1030486.jpg



A very quiet Kylstrome harbour, not like I remember it as a kid in the 80's
P1030487.jpg



We made our way along the forestry following the northern shore of Loch Glendhu before reaching the big waterfalls at Maldie.


P1030488.jpg



The climb over the tops was bland I thought, luckily we had a soft spongy land rover track over peat so the going was very easy, apart from having to stop and get small stones out of our shoes every mile or so.


P1030489.jpg



P1030491.jpg



P1030493.jpg



P1030494.jpg



P1030495.jpg



Reaching the top of Bealach nam Fiann we were pleased to see the descent into Lochmore
P1030497.jpg



Pete getting friendly with the locals
P1030500.jpg



We still had a long way to go and frog marched along the tarmac to Lochstack Lodge and our path to Rhiconich


Arkle over Loch Stack
P1030502.jpg



The track we followed from the lodge would eventually bear north behind Arkle and this would be our get off point, it didn't look too bad on paper but the next five or six hours would be hell. in hindsight we should have stuck with our guts and stayed high but we ended up down at the side of Loch a Garbh-bhaid Mor following a pretty shoddy path. Pete jammed a pole between two rocks and snapped the bottom section clean off, the heather routes and endless bog meant we were both pretty hacked off. I didn't realise until the next day that I also ripped a hole in my Roclite, presumably in the heather roots. We both took tumbles and slips along the so called path, we'd eventually reach the river Garbh Allt which stopped us in our tracks for a while. It was flowing fast from the recent rainfall and despite a search upstream we couldn't find a decent crossing. With no camping options nearby we went for it anyway, it wasn't as deep as we thought, only knee height but still flowing fast.
Both soggy and knackered we carried on, more of the same for the next few kms until we reached Rhiconich. The area I'd marked for camping was a field of waist high bracken, we tried the hotel but it looked shut. With the light fading we trudged along the B801 towards Kinlochbervie, looking for anything flat and big enough for our shelters. We checked out the local BT exchange building but we pushed on, eventually coming across a layby and picnic area just outside Achriesgill, perfect. I couldn't be bothered to cook, I made a couple of brews and hit the sack.


P1030503.jpg



Distance - 33.4km




Monday 8th September


Both excited to reach Sandwood Bay we were packed up and down the road shortly after first light, the road walk up to Kinlochbervie was quiet, we called at the London Stores shop on the way through and got some very useful info regarding transport options from the lighthouse at the Cape.


P1030507.jpg



When we reached the main harbour in Kinlochbervie it was only around 08:30, we tried to buy booze for Sandwood from the wee Spar shop but they couldn’t serve us until 10:00. We made use of the local amenities and killed time until we could stock up on Magners, Baileys and red wine, with the important supplies sorted we continued on the road northwards.


This made us giggle, plonk a bench in a bog and make the hikers feel welcome
P1030509.jpg



The road wound itself along the coast, small hamlets of derelict buildings and empty holiday homes were dotted around.
P1030510.jpg



Reaching Blairmore we took the path over the moors to Sandwood, at only 4.5 miles it seemed to take ages before we got there, the fresh water Sandwood loch coming into view first
P1030512.jpg



After a final small rise we were greeted with views of the magnificent Sandwood Bay, we wandered down through the dunes and made for some rocks exposed at low tide, sitting in the sunshine we could feel the trip was nearly over.


P1030513.jpg



P1030516.jpg



P1030518.jpg



P1030520.jpg



We walked to the far end of the beach where the fresh water loch ran down into the sea, we thought it would be easier to try and camp around here rather than carting water supplies back and forth. We found some really nice pitches and settled on a raised area of grass topped rock behind the dunes.
P1030521.jpg



P1030522.jpg



P1030523.jpg



With two days at Sandwood we settled in and made an attempt to get through our remaining rations, booze and gas supplies.


P1030524.jpg



P1030531.jpg



P1030532.jpg



The rest of the day was spent exploring the beach and dunes, listening to the waves crashing on the shore and generally chilling out around camp. It was a great way to finish off a trip and reflect on the journey.


Distance - km


Tuesday 9th September




Today was another day off, the morning started cloudy and quite cold with a stiff westerly breeze, I swung the door round slightly on my Trailstar as the wind direction had changed during the night. Getting back inside I enjoyed West Memphis Grits Souffle from the comfort of my sleeping bag, a couple of coffees and I got up. As the morning wore on the weather began to improve, by lunchtime we had blue skies and glorious sunshine once again.


P1030534.jpg



P1030538.jpg



We took a walk along the beach and explored the rocks at the southern end
P1030542.jpg



P1030543.jpg



P1030544.jpg



P1030546.jpg



P1030547.jpg



P1030549.jpg



P1030550.jpg



P1030554.jpg



Pete snoozed in the afternoon whilst I destroyed three Packit Gourmet courses, the lemon cheesecake being a bit too much after tortilla soup and tuscan beef stew. As the night drew in we finished off the booze and sat on the beach listening to the waves crashing, thoroughly relaxed we call it a day.


P1030555.jpg



Distance – not a lot




Wednesday 10th September


The final walk to the Cape looked interesting both from the ground and on the maps, perhaps it was going to be a final sting in the tale. We’d booked two seats on the minibus from the lighthouse to the ferry, with a pick up time of 13:15 we had plenty of time to get to the Cape but we were both still up early doors. We packed up and took the path from the beach up onto the cliff tops.


P1030558.jpg



Looking back to Sandwood Bay with the early morning sun hitting the dunes
P1030560.jpg



We came across a shelter midway over the crossing, it was probably a good retreat once upon a time but now it was barely upright.
P1030561.jpg



We got glimpses of hidden coves and beaches, stirring up thoughts of revisiting sometime with the boats.


P1030562.jpg



P1030563.jpg



P1030564.jpg



We’d rung the live firing hotline a few days previously in Kinlochbervie, luckily for us they’d scrapped their plans for the week.
P1030566.jpg



Reaching the track we were left with a short walk round to the lighthouse
P1030567.jpg



Bingo
P1030568.jpg



The cafe opened just as we arrived, we grabbed a coffee and retired outside to sit in the sun until the minibus arrived. Despite us booking two seats a couple of days previously, when the bus arrived it was full, one chap kindly offered to stay behind for the next one which meant Pete could grab his seat and I got to enjoy 11km of rough track sat in the footwell of a battered LDV van. We made the short ferry crossing but then had just 35 minutes to beast 4km round to Durness to catch our bus to Inverness, we made it just in time for what turned out to be another interesting journey. Pulling over for a five minute break at Lochinver the bus driver was tinkering under the bonnet, a few minutes later he switched the ignition off and then couldn’t get it going again. After getting a jump start from a passing land rover we were on our way again, a few miles down the road and the fuel pump and turbo went, we limped into Ullapool where we were stuck in a taxi to Inverness, our next connection was to Fort Bill to collect Pete’s van and head home.




Distance – 12.3km
 
Last edited:

Danceswithhelicopters

Full Member
Sep 7, 2004
500
60
Scotland
Let me be the first to say what a fantastic read and a very well done on an arduous walk. So many places I have been to but never connected them up with your wild walking. I did the Great Glen Canoe Trail last month and this brought back great memories of good company, food and wild camps.
 

Goatboy

Full Member
Jan 31, 2005
14,956
14
Scotland
Excellent trip and report Rich. It's a stunning art of the country to head through. Shame Andy had to pull out, but sensible when going somewhere remote. Sounds like you'd planned it all really well - I know what a pain re-supply can be up there. And lovely to see Sandwood Bay again. It's been too long for me. Cheers for posting up, I feel kind've guilty with a short reply after you took the time to write an epic :eek:.
Again brilliant stuff,
GB.
 

cbr6fs

Native
Mar 30, 2011
1,620
0
Athens, Greece
Any thoughts on the Arc blast?

Been thinking about replacing my Exos with one for a while now, bit concerned about comfort and durability with the Arc blast though.

Is yours the 52l?
 

Shewie

Mod
Mod
Dec 15, 2005
24,259
21
46
Yorkshire
Any thoughts on the Arc blast?

Been thinking about replacing my Exos with one for a while now, bit concerned about comfort and durability with the Arc blast though.

Is yours the 52l?

I went for the 60L, it's going to be my winter hammocking pack with plenty of room for quilts and clothing, but due to the large food parcels I chose to take it, it was a toss up between the AB and my Ohm, the weight saving swayed my decision.

A couple of gripes, the carbon frame system doesn't keep it's arc tensioned very well, as loads increase the slip is more noticeable. I just don't think the Line-Loks are the best solution. I can pre tension it when empty, setting a nice 1.5" arc and the centre, load it up and head out, by the time I've covered five or so miles the tension has slipped. I met an American lad in Kinlochewe who had over 2500 miles on his AB and he said the same, and he'd heard the same from others in the US. But I will say the frame still distributes the weight nicely into the hip belt and gives the pack some structure, even with the slip it's a great pack to carry.
The other moan is the padding, on both the hip belt and shoulder straps Joe has used quite a firm padding, wrap that up in a couple of layers of hybrid cuben and it's quite a solid lump. I have got used to it over time, coming from big spongy ULA packs it took a few trips before I was happy with it.

2.5 weeks of hauling anything from 7.5 to 12kg and it performed really well, no signs of any stitching coming away on the shoulders strap connections or haul loop, watertight too. i got bashed off rocks, dragged through gorse, brambles and bracken and doesn't show any nicks or wear.

I think if you get one you'll love the weight, probably half the weight of your Exos? The first trip out might leave you wondering if you wasted $500, by the second or third you'll love it :)
 

Grooveski

Native
Aug 9, 2005
1,707
10
51
Glasgow
Fantastic Rich, well done the pair of you. :35:
We were wondering how you'd got on.

Just had a quick scan through - about to settle myself down with the map on the other monitor and have a proper read. :)
 

cbr6fs

Native
Mar 30, 2011
1,620
0
Athens, Greece
I went for the 60L, it's going to be my winter hammocking pack with plenty of room for quilts and clothing, but due to the large food parcels I chose to take it, it was a toss up between the AB and my Ohm, the weight saving swayed my decision.

A couple of gripes, the carbon frame system doesn't keep it's arc tensioned very well, as loads increase the slip is more noticeable. I just don't think the Line-Loks are the best solution. I can pre tension it when empty, setting a nice 1.5" arc and the centre, load it up and head out, by the time I've covered five or so miles the tension has slipped. I met an American lad in Kinlochewe who had over 2500 miles on his AB and he said the same, and he'd heard the same from others in the US. But I will say the frame still distributes the weight nicely into the hip belt and gives the pack some structure, even with the slip it's a great pack to carry.
The other moan is the padding, on both the hip belt and shoulder straps Joe has used quite a firm padding, wrap that up in a couple of layers of hybrid cuben and it's quite a solid lump. I have got used to it over time, coming from big spongy ULA packs it took a few trips before I was happy with it.

2.5 weeks of hauling anything from 7.5 to 12kg and it performed really well, no signs of any stitching coming away on the shoulders strap connections or haul loop, watertight too. i got bashed off rocks, dragged through gorse, brambles and bracken and doesn't show any nicks or wear.

I think if you get one you'll love the weight, probably half the weight of your Exos? The first trip out might leave you wondering if you wasted $500, by the second or third you'll love it :)

Fantastic thanks.

So if i'm picturing it right in my head there is a line-lok on each side of the pack that are there to provide tension or bend the carbon frame stays?

I did need to faff about with my exos as the frame was bent in transit, it was a one time adjustment though, i've not needed to mess with it again, if the AB is the same can't you tie a knot at the stop position?

Looking at the manf's weight it'll be over half the weight of my Exos, even if i add 2 hip belt pockets and shoulder pouches.

My Exos is 1185g the AB with the extra pockets and hiking pole loops should be around 544 grams.
That's a fair old saving IF it's as comfortable.
 

Shewie

Mod
Mod
Dec 15, 2005
24,259
21
46
Yorkshire
Fantastic thanks.

So if i'm picturing it right in my head there is a line-lok on each side of the pack that are there to provide tension or bend the carbon frame stays?

I did need to faff about with my exos as the frame was bent in transit, it was a one time adjustment though, i've not needed to mess with it again, if the AB is the same can't you tie a knot at the stop position?

Looking at the manf's weight it'll be over half the weight of my Exos, even if i add 2 hip belt pockets and shoulder pouches.

My Exos is 1185g the AB with the extra pockets and hiking pole loops should be around 544 grams.
That's a fair old saving IF it's as comfortable.

If you look at this pic it'll save me a lot of typing ...


The square mesh panel in the back has cord attached in all four corners, that cord then runs to a Line-Lok sewn onto the pack. The idea is you flex the empty pack to the arc you want, then cinch down the cords through the Line-Loks. It looks fins when you set it but I've found mine slips when I'm covering miles.

It's a shame you're so far away as you're welcome to try mine on
 

Hultafors Outdoor knife for Sale

We have a a number of Hultafors Outdoor Knives with Firesteels for sale.

You can see more details here in this thread OUTDOOR KNIVES The price is £27 posted to the UK. Pay via the paypal button below.