Posted by: natsevs | July 15, 2010

Invasion bay to Ardtoe

My camp spot wasn’t exactly completely flat so I woke up a fair bit in the night. In the morning, the gap between my tent layers was crawling with midges so porridge was definitely out of the question. Salmon farm traffic started at 6am too so all in all a great spot.

I packed away in the tent then ventured out fully anti-midged to pack down the tent. I set off then stopped for a choc spread sandwich when it seemed safe. I came to Laudale house with it’s garden full of deer before joining a road. The single track road merges with the A road and that took me to the head of the loch. Once round the head I took the turn down the opposite side along to Strontian.

I arrived at Strontian before 1pm and popped into the shop on the way in. I had the lion bar straight away, the shop was a little expensive and not brilliantly stocked. I should have waited because there was a better shop in the village proper. I got a few more things there and had 40p to spare so got some little sweets.

I had lunch at a picnic table and took off my boots. They were almost dry, although the plastic bags over the socks trick failed miserabley. I switched socks to dry out more. I set off again all re-sugared up but still couldn’t stop eating. It was all road and not too exciting, although I did stop at a nice picnic site for a little break.

I was due to meet up with Gil Campbell who has walked the Scottish coast but he rang not long before I got to Salen to say he was stuck in traffic and had no signal on his mobile. It was really sunny by now and the last bit of  walking to Salen was quite pleasant as a result. I was still expecting Gil so I went to the pub/hotel to wait for him. After two nursed drinks I was asked if I was going to eat. Very politely though and I think mainly because they were going to stop serving. I saw a campervan pass twice and thought it may be Gil so I headed out after it. That’s when I got a voicemail saying he wouldn’t make the ferry today even though my phone had said I had signal the whole time.

I headed down the road in search of a camp spot and a guy asked if I was lost. I got chatting with him and his wife and they ended up offering me a night in the caravan on their drive. They were Mark and Jan Drury and had moved there only a few weeks before to run the jetty. They were really nice and I had a cup of tea and chat with them and their kids in their house before retiring to my comfy caravan bed very grateful.

When I ventured out of the caravan at 8.40 Mark was already in his workshed. I went back in the van after saying good morning and made myself a batch of porridge. I was on my way in good time with pretty much dry boots. It was mostly road walking and at around 11 Gil drove up in his camper. Once he had found a place to park I caught up with him and had an orange juice and chat. Gil then drove on whilst I walked with plans to meet up just past Glenborrodale for lunch. When I got there he’d sorted me out a pretty good spread and generally seemed a good bloke so I was looking forward to a few days with good company.

After lunch we nipped into the cafe for a drink then I was off again, with only my day sack obviously so feeling very light. My route initially took me along the road but then over a pass to Kilchoan. The views northward were something special. It was really windy up there but despite no real path being evident it wasn’t too much hard work after the initial climb. There were loads of deer up top, does with fawns who all scarpered as I approached. A bit further on though, the does had got over the deer fence and the fawns hadn’t so mums and little’uns alike were panicking as I approached. Then one of the fawns broke off and ran straight at me. Stopping a few feet away he started snorting and obviously warning me off which was very ballsy. He kept it up for a while as well until I was safely away.

The way down threw up some more great views and then I was blocked by a locked gate in the deer fence. It was about seven foot high which made me glad I just had my little pack on to climb it. Once through Kilchoan, now on the road, I continued on out towards the lighthouse at Ardnamurchan point. Supposedly the most westerly point on the mainland but I’ll let them and Land’s End argue it out.

The last bit of the walk presented me with proper sea! I hadn’t seen uninterrupted sea for so long and it looked good. Gil was already there so I was able to hide from the now very strong wind. We had some pasta and wine for tea which was a major change from my usual. The wind got up so much that we ended up moving the van lower down, and conveniently right next to the start of tomorrows path.

I slept well on my makeshift bed and in the morning made myself porridge. It was still windy as I set off on the path to Portuark, past some really nice beaches. Going over the top the wind nearly threw me over but I managed to get down to the hamlet before taking a second path to Sanna. Sanna has a beautiful beach and I had lunch in the van there even though it was only 11. There was no path out from Sanna but it was croft land to start with so the vegetation was largely under control. Just after a valley there was the ruins of a crofting village in the middle of nowhere. I soon got to a point where I could head in along a stream to meet a real path that took me to Fascadale.

I was quite hungry, had no food and it was very likely that I wouldn’t be passing a shop. I crossed a field with really long grass over to Kilmary and jumped over a wall onto the road. The road took me all the way to Ockle which is a house more than a place. Five dogs sprinted out at me but were all friendly. There is a pass through the hills behind Ockle that I took, winding it’s way through the levelest parts. It was really boggy but surprisingly had bike tracks going through it, or a bike track. No idea how they got through.

Once through I came to a U-shaped valley and soon came to a dirt track to take me down to Gortenfern. From Gortenfern there was a gate into the woods at singing sands, apparently full of unexploded military debris. The woods were nice and sheltered from the wind. There were more lovely white beaches around here before I came out to Arivegaig and the road. The road took me inland slightly through bog then I cut across to join the b road towards Ardtoe. It was a very very long road taking me past Kentra up to a jetty with a great outlook back into the bay. A trip over a hill took me down to Ardtoe where Gil was just putting some tea on. After tea we headed to the pub in Acharacle to watch the rugby, for 2 minute intervals in between football. It was a nice pub with mostly English locals as usual. Chatted to the barmaid and a few locals so was a pleasant evenin,g finished with frozen wine back at the van.



  1. Scotland N56° 24′ 30.5”
    Ordnance Survey letter to me 17 March 2004: “Land’s End 5° 43.03′. The Point of Ardnamurchan is therefore further West.” However, OS letter 28 September 2004: “both our Chief Surveyor and our Geodetic Advisor have looked into your enquiry and confirm that you are correct. Corrachadh is further west than Point of Ardnamurchan.” From precise grid references sent by OS, I have calculated the following longitudes: Corrachadh Mor W6° 13′ 40.59731” Land’s End W5° 43′ 1.55270”.
    In longitude (at the latitude of Land’s End) Corrachadh Mor is 22.725 miles / 36.573 kilometres further west than Land’s End. There is more information on the Wikipedia Corrachadh Mor article; in particular on the discussion page, which is my work. OS 17 March 2004: “The westernmost point of the Isle of Skye is therefore further West than the equivalent on the Isles of Scilly.”

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