Posted by: natsevs | July 20, 2010

Inverie to Ardintoul

It rained a fair bit overnight and was still cloudy in the morning. When I woke my roll matt had deflated, apparently it had developed a hole. Some rough nights ahead then.

I had a bit of a faffy morning so was just ready when Ranger Tommy rocked up at 10. He gave me the Skye book and we had a quick chat before I set off over the beach to the village. I though it had taken me quite a long time to do quite a short distance but I checked my phone and it turns out my watch had stopped. Before the last house was a clearing with a skeleton in it, I didn’t stop but it didn’t seem like a sheep. Probably my mind paying tricks though.

From the one beach there was a pass between two little hills to get to another sandier beach. It had lovely white sands and was nice to see even in cloud. I climbed over the rock to the next bay and repeated that a few times. Each beach just as nice as the previous. There was a big flat rock lodge above the beach so I tried to get a picture of me on it using the timer. After 2 or 3 failed attempts at getting up onto it in 10 seconds I gave up.

At one of the bays was a shed covered in skulls of various animals which was pleasant to come across in the middle of nowhere. When I reached Sandaig I took a path which climbed up to the road and that took me all the way to Airor. From there was a dirt track to Inverguseran which was just a farm. There was one river crossing along the way but fortunately it was quite low and there were some decent stepping stones.

From there to Croulin the path was more typical and disappeared a fair few times. I was able to get the football on the radio so that kept me entertained. It soon started to rain that misty annoying rain that soaks you in minutes.

Out of Croulin was easy as it was quite flat and I was able to walk on the beach a lot. Sadly I then hit a vertical cliff in front so had to climb up the almost vertical slope to get up above the cliff. There were a few slips on the way up and it was a proper climbing job.

Coming down the other side was worse. I face planted a couple of times and generally stumbled all the way down. It was back to beach once down, then rock. I was managing alright for quite a while but did slip on a flat rock, smacking my elbow and hip against in. Soon another cliff loomed up ahead so it was back to climbing up through mainly dead trees. Plenty more slips ensued and I also had the misfortune to grab a branch which came off in my hand and flew straight into my mouth. It was hard going but not the worst I’d had so far, although my boots were full of water and my trousers wer soaked.

I set up my tent up on top looking over to Arrisdale on the other side. The rain had finally stopped so out came the midges to add to a not brilliant mood. On top of that, my flat spot wasn’t that flat and in one of my many falls I had managed to smash the screen of my camera. I was dry at least.

My roll matt definitely had a hole. The midges weren’t too bad at least and packing up wasn’t a major chore. I started the day with a climb when I realised I couldn’t go along the edge. Once over that I could go down to the shore. My hip was aching after yesterday’s fall. I could walk the beach a lot of the time but was alternating between that and being forced up into ferns or trees.

Borrisdale didn’t look too far or hard to get to on the map. That wasn’t the case. A little farm had put up a deer fence right to the shore. I had to swing round the outer post on rocks to get round then later the fence trapped me in trees so I had to climb over it. When I got to the point where there is a little island there was rock jutting out into the sea. I started climbing it and just as i got a view of Borrisdale over the top my feet slipped. Hanging there by one hand there was no way I was pulling myself up so all that I could do was let go. The rock was covered in mini barnacles so it was basically like sliding down sandpaper, as my trousers and arms showed.

There was plenty more hard walking from there to get to the bay. I had to come up along deer tracks a lot with sheer drops below. In one of many falls I went right over myself somehow but managed to cling onto the heather still and stop myself rolling right down the slope. I wasn’t having fun. At the bay I couldn’t be bothered to go all the way in and out again so walked straight across, taking my boots off to cross the river and staying bare foot until reaching the other side. I had a spot of lunch there then carried on along… path!

Very happy to have path. A little way along someone said hello and there was a guy called Marcel sat on a rock. I stopped and chatted to him for a bit before carrying on. It actually got sunny so off came the waterproofs. The path was still hard going and I was knackered by this point but the last bit was nice. It took me right along the edge to Kinlochhourn and road. The road lasted round the loch head before I was back onto path heading up the hillside onto a pass over to Arnisdale. It was a ridiculously steep climb up eating cereal to keep going. I needed a shop. There were some fantastic views over the loch. The path was a good one over the top and I finally found a campspot at 6.45 absolutely kanackered. I finally gave in and ate the chocolate pudding meal thing I’d carried with me since the start. Even cold it was good. Really good.

It was another rainy night again but slept ok despite the roll matt. I had a look out and there were midges all over my door so I decided against porridge and opted for soreen loaf instead. The path follows the river along through Glen Arnisdale. It soon reached the lochs which were pretty but it was a rank day. I started downhill past an impressive waterfall then over a bridge with warnings to cross at your own risk. Even though there was no alternative.

There was another really steep ascent before a lot of up and down leading to a final descent. At the bottom of that there were loads of higland cows on the path with calves. As well as a bull that looked more bear than cow.

They were all harmless though and soon I was coming out to the Arnisdale road. I was hoping for a shop but had to make do with porridge on the front. My phone started ringing for the first time in 48+ hours which was a shock. I managed to knock over my pan on the first batch then the gas ran out but eventually I had my lunch. It was all road and boring from there. I was happy with boring for now though. On a break I was sat on the road side and a couple parked up in a flash car to go for a wander to look at the views. As they started to go over the bridge the woman very audibley asked the guy to lock the car. Maybe I looked dodgy.

The road was really up and down and I was tired but plugged on slowly. There was quite impressive views of Skye and the Sound of Sleat around Sandaig. After eating my orange I no longer had any available food and was hungry. I reached Glenelg and headed straight for the shop. From there to the pub I ate my sausage roll. I gota much needed pint and also got my water bottles filled up.

Back on the road there were loads of caravans on the front at Bernera otherwise I might have stopped there. As it was I carried on the ferry terminal then up onto the coast path. The midges were suddenly everywhere and I was walking through forestry land. Finding a camp spot was hard. The first possible one was really boggy and midges were everywhere. I stopped quite a few times but none were any good. I ended up walking an hour to Ardintoul and setting up by the beach among forestry operation territory. I cooked my noodles right by the sea but the midges were still bad. In wasn’t cheered by the fact that my sensible friends were heading off on holiday or to a sunny Glastonbury that weekend.

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