Posted by: natsevs | July 5, 2010

Barcaldine to Corran

I slept badly for most of the night in Barcaldine until the last three hours before I forced myself up just before 9am. It was the worst morning yet for midges, I couldn’t do anything without getting covered in the blighters. I obviously didn’t bother with porridge.

My pack was packed whilst in the tent, but then I had to pack that. They were all over face and arms, so on came the headnet. I started off along the road as soon as possible towards Creagan where I passed over the bridge. It had started to rain a little so I stopped in a bus shelter for some fruit loaf and put a plastic bag over the top of my rucksack in place of my missing cover. A single track road took me around the coast to Port Appin in what was a very annoying misty rain.

There was the odd house along the way but otherwise there was little of note. Just before Port Appin I took a path out round the headland, during which time the rain stopped. The path takes you into Port Appin on the coast past a jetty and pub. I had a quick break to go into the shop to get a pasty and other goodies. I left along the road then out onto a path that crosses the estuary via a slightly neglected wooden bridge. It gave a good view of Castle Stalker though.

On the other side I joined a cycle track for a good while. This rejoined the road at a parking bay that had a dirt road leading out of it right against the coast. This led nowhere pretty quickly but was by the old railway line so I tried to walk on that despite the trees all over. I soon climbed up to the road and stuck with it up to Duror.

On the way there was a sign welcoming me the Highlands, except ‘high’ had been taped out and replaced with ‘PAIN’. Lovely.

To stick to the coast I carried on to a single track road round to Cuil then out to a supposed path through the fields. It was non existent for the most part and the one point it was visible it was very boggy. Out of some trees a fox and two cubs stumbled out onto the path in front of me. I climbed a fence whilst on the phone to mum and fell flat on my face the other side. Not soon enough I arrived at some houses and a single track road taking me to Kentallen.

The sun was finally fighting through making it look very pretty. I stopped in one spot to camp but decided to go on a bit and ended up pitching the tent just off a path. It was quite a good spot but had serious midge potential.

It lived up to it’s potential in the morning and my hayfever was really bad too so I was not happy. The path took me to a marina type place and then I wad onto the road from there for a while. A cycle track took me to Ballachulish but just stopped there at left me a little lost. I refound it though to take me to the A82 and down to the bridge over to north Ballachulish. I had only had some fruit loaf for breakfast so when I got to Onich I went to the village shop. My £1.40 only stretched to a small bottle of water and a Lion bar. The final stretch of road to Fort William was very long and boring.

Whilst having a sit someone beeped and made a certain unpleasant gesture to me. Must be near ‘civilisation’ again.

Houses started again eventually, the initial entry into Fort William was constant B&B’s and hotels. I had caught a glimpse of Ben Nevis earlier but once I arrived it had been cloaked in cloud. I was starving so I headed straight to the shops. I ate it on a bench then went to an outdoor shop and got a new bag cover. After that I headed to the my B&B and saw a bit of the World Cup before a little relax and a trip to the sports shop and bought a pack away day sack then onto Morrisons. I spent a good while in there and was very pleased to find squeezie chocolate spread. I also got a pear cider to watch the England game in my room. Waste of time.

Typically I ended up watching rubbish tv until gone 1am. I had breakfast at 8.30am and everyone else was down there as well. I didn’t really talk to any of them though. I had to completely re-pack but also be out by 10. I left right on 10 o’clock with a full pack plus loads of food in my day sack. It was a misrable day so Ben Nevis was even more hidden.

I followed part of the Great Glen way to the start of Caledonian canal. Once over the canal loch, I carried on through Corpach on the main road. The weather was annoying with on and off misty rain but the new rain cover was working well at least. It was very dull and depressing walking. At some point I decided I might make Corran and the bunkhouse there. That was before I looked at the map and realised it would mean a 30 mile plus day. Once I’d got the idea though I was committed…

I finally got to the head of Loch Eil but at 3pm I still had 18 miles to go. The road that side is single track and I sort of zoned out and for the first two hours was doing four miles an hour. Taking my coat on and off constantly got very annoying so I decided I’d rather get wet in the short rain bursts. There was nothing to see really but got around the corner at 6pm. I was slightly flagging and at half 6 it started tipping it down despite looking like it was getting sunnier moments earlier. My coat was still off so I got soaked. Really soaked.

It lasted 2 hours and was heavy enough to flood where I had to go inland slightly. There were sheep stranded on little islands. I couldn’t see very far in front of me and the opposite shore was completely shrouded. Finally I reached Corran at 8.10 and switched T-shirts to try to get slightly warmer and drier. The rain had stopped and I got the 8.30 ferry over sat in the nice warm cabin, hoping it would be drier for the return across the loch in the morning. The bunkhouse was just what I needed. It had a drying room and I had a twin room with ensuite and tv for only £16. Despite the luxury I still had noodles for tea.


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