Posted by: natsevs | July 19, 2010

Ardtoe to Inverie (four weeks ahead of schedule)

I managed to sleep until nine so I got up and ready pretty sharpish. I headed off along the road before turning left after the bridge and up along the river on a dirt road. There were jetties sticking out from all the gardens and in the morning light it all looked very pretty.

At the end of the road there is a footpath past the castle and along the shore line right to the loch head. It was fairly up and down but there were plenty of pink and purle flowery trees and it was all very idyllic. Some foreign people of unknown nationality obviously didn’t think so, they passed me as I was having a break at the start then were coming back five minutes later.

I came to a bay and lost the path by going straight across because the tide was out. What I thought was the continuation of the path was in fact deer tracks which ended quite promptly. I stuck to the shore though and it soon came back out to meet me. At the end I nipped through a dip and over a stream to get to the road and head in the opposite direction.

It took me past the Seven Men of Moidart, of which there are only three still standing, then over a pass to Glen Uig. Gil was there and we had a coffee in the cafe/bar/bunkhouse the Glenuig Inn. The owner was a really interesting bloke and a big kayaker so was knowledgeable about the forthcoming coast in particular. We had some lunch in the camper, then I had all road walking for the afternoon up to lochailort. Gil fancied a trip up to Mallaig so we drove up there and he treated me to fish and chips.

In the morning, we headed to the tea room for a drink. It is also the hostel I was booked to stay in the following night. We got back to Lochailort at 11 and I said goodby to Gil who was off back to Glasgow. It had been really nice to have company for a few days but now I was back on my lonesome once more.

It was all coast road up to the turn off to Druimindarroch with nothing really worth telling. After coming off the road I took a dirt road along for a while before meeting a small road to Arisaig. I realised by now that I could probably make it to Mallaig tonight rather than the following one, so I decided to ring and book the hostel and see if they had a free bed. It was a beautiful day by the time I arrived in Arisaig and the village itself is quite pretty. I got myself some lunch in the shop and sat on a bench to eat it. I got chatting to a mountain rescue guy from Oban there, who was on a journey of his own. Or on his way back really. He ended up giving me money for the charities as I left which was really nice.

After Arisaig there was a coast path round to a small road and the silver sands. There were loads of beautiful beaches along here and even more campsites. I stayed mostly on the road but took one path to stay closer to the coast. That ended with me slightly confused by multiple options but I got back to the road and headed up towards Morar. I was back on the A road from there which took me all the way to Mallaig. The hostel did have a bed by the way but the guy I was put on to didn’t sound like he would understand a booking change so I just made a new booking. That was hard work enough and he had the cheek to have a slight attitude.

Going along the road the silhouettes of Rhum and Skye were looking particularly picturesqe. I got to Mallaig just before 7 and dumped my stuff before heading straight to the shop for goodies and something for tea. After tea I watched some of the world cup and chatted to a welsh and a scottish guy.

Typically for a hostel there was a snorer going for it all night so i didn’t have the good nights sleep I was expecting. It actually made me feel a little ill it was so bad. I had no need to rush in the morning but was still up at 8.30 and having breakfast in front of the tv.

Most people had already left although an old fella was still wandering the room, I think he may have been the snore culprit. After a shower I saw the girl who looked like the boss so I went to ask if my package from home had arrived. It turned out they were 1 bed overbooked for that night so she was more than happy to give me my money back and let me leave my stuff in the room until the ferry to Inverie. I had decided after the advice of Gil and other people to get this ferry rather than walk the coast out of mallaig. It didn’t look easy on the map in the slightest and the ranger of Inverie had said the coast was impassable and I would have to walk miles in land and go a very long way out of my way indeed, so I figured it would be wise to be sensible seeing as I had the choice.

The ferry wasn’t til 2 so I got myself a paper and some lunch and found a nice bench in the sunshine. Part of the package was a radio to replace my dead iPod so I listened to that, very pleased to have music again. On the ferry I met up with Tommy, the ranger at Knoydart, who gave me some advice on the next day or two. He also said I could use the campsite for free. Inverie is the most remote village on mainland Britain so was a must to stay at. The only other camper was a Swiss guy called Marcel who is on a big trip, for an indefinite time it seems, searching for a better country to live in. He isn’t a fan of Switzerland apparently.

The campsite had a lodge to cook in which was very handy. After some tea I headed to the most remote pub in Britain, as confirmed by Guinness. When I arrived it was mainly locals in there with one or two obvious visitors like myself. As I neared the end of my pint though it was getting very full of people with posh accents and Regatta jackets. It seems it’s quite a popular place to sail to. I was reminded of how much easier this would be on a boat. I only stayed for the one pint, any more than that when drinking alone seems a little wrong.

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