Posted by: natsevs | July 22, 2010

Port Mhealaraigh to Camasunary

The morning brought no change to the midge situation and typically I needed to drop anchor in poo bay. I got all anti-midged up; hoody, trousers, headnet, socks and gloves, then got my bum bitten to buggery.

I packed away as quickly as possible while they tried desperately to feast on me. Despite it being a really misty and damp morning I didn’t put on my waterproof trousers for some reason. So when the path became surrounded by bracken my legs got absolutely soaked in no time. There was more boggy path to start with but then I reached the drover’s path which was much better.

Once down to Kinloch, I had to go a fair way inland to reach the road. It was dull but provided major relief and the weather was threatening to improve at least. I was hoping for a shop at Isleornsay, the book said there had been one in 1998. I was disappointed. I walked on and cooked porridge on the beach instead.

At the end of the road a landrover track went out behind the last house so I followed that. It took me to a bog and disappeared. The bogs had been dug up for peat but I couldn’t see the holes through the vegetation so every now and then i would lose a leg down one of them. I made it to a loch and was able to get my bearings.

Another landrover track led from the loch side to a locked gate in a deer fence. I had to climb that then the track went the wrong way so i went over bog to get down to the shore. I was able to get along the front for a while but came up onto the road via someone’s driveway. I made good progress to Armadale where I went into an overpriced and understocked shop and promptly walked out again.

Half a mile on was Ardvasar with a really good shop and friendly shopkeeper more deserving of my money. I properly stocked up, then while I was packing stuff in outside I saw a poster for the RBS mobile cinema. Apparently, the bank has a truck that drives to the villages with a screen in the back showing one or two films in a day.

On from there it was single track road to Aird and very up and down. I was exhausted but desperate to make up time. The previous day was the first time I had stopped short of schedule since the first few weeks. I got to Aird and through to the end of the road. The sign said the Point of Sleat was another 2.5 miles so on I went. I finally got to stop once off the dirt track and onto the path to the point. I had to wipe off the film of dead midges from the underside of my tent after the previous nights onslaught. Once set up I headed out to the point.

On the way was a gate to the farm with an honesty cafe set up. It was basically a table with tea coffee and sugar, a big hot water dispenser thermos thing and a tin with scones in. I thought it was quite cool and helped myself to a scone for £1.

The following morning was a good one midgewise and it looked quite clear. Back in the tent the rain came though and I cooked breakfast in the porch. I decided the rain wasn’t going to stop so I had to get out and pack the tent away.

There was a path to the bay but from there it was off track again up to Taskavaig. It was nowhere near as bad as I had expected though. There were plenty of sheep and cow tracks near the shore and a lot of the heather had been burned leaving mostly grass. And the inevitable bog obviously.

The weather perked up and I was able to take off the waterproofs but despite being easier, progress was still slow. Not helped constantly stopping to eat biscuits. I have now banned myself from buying foxes choc fudge crunch because i am completely incapable of not eating the whole pack once it’s opened. I picked up a stick at some point and for some reason decided to keep it. It was a nice stick and was helpful when crossing the river/canal halfway along.

There are some really nice beaches round there and there were plenty of seals about. Onward the progress was quicker and was mostly up along cliffs. Just after 2pm I came down to Achnacloich beach and had an orange for refreshment as my water had run out. The road then took me past a few villages to Ord.

It was really muggy and the road was ridiculously hilly so I had a good sweat on. I filled a water bottle at a stream before Ord then went through the village and onto the rocky shore. I made quite good progress but was getting tired and has soon drank all the water I had just treated. I was climbing down a drop and my feet went again, this one was quite high though. As I fell down it my bag turned me slightly so that I landed rib first onto a boulder. I lay there waiting for the pain fully expecting a breakage but inexplicably it didn’t come. I got up slowly and plugged on.

At Drumfearn I filled my water again and carried on to the loch head where I set up in the first half decent spot at 7.45. Exhausted again and now that the adrenine from the fall had passed, the pain was coming.

It started raining at 2am and didn’t stop. Added to that it was windy and my rib was now showing the results of losing a fight with a boulder. Apparently it’s quite likely to have been a little bit broken but thankfully it wasn’t in a place where it was aggravated by the bag so it hasn’t been very bad during the day.

I set off and was soaked in no time. It was a mixture of rock and sheep tracks round the top then down the other side to heaste. From there was a sign saying Boreirag was two miles away but any hope of a path was soon dispelled. My waterproofs definitely were no match for the rain and I was soaked through. The advantage was that when I decided to fill my water up in a pretty waterfall it didn’t matter that the water was mostly landing on me.

Boreirag is a clearance settlement and as a result felt quite eerie, especially in the weather I was experiencing. I was surprised to see someone coming in from the other direction even though there was a path that way. I wouldn’t have been out in that weather if I wasn’t doing this. The path was a good one, seemingly maintained by the sheep. It ran right along the base of the cliffs before taking me up onto the top.

It made such a nice change from the constant lochside walking I had been subjected to for the last couple of months. At Suisnish it became a dirt track and I switched off into day dreams whilst my eyes and a tiny part of my brain kept me stuck to the path. That is why paths are so much better. The track started inland and I kept on it but soon risked destroying my map to see where I was. It was good timing as I was at a spot where I could cut across on a dirt track to get to the main road round the loch head.

Getting round to the other side was a cafe and I went in to investigate. It was empty but for the owners, English like everyone else in Scotland. I got myself a take away soup and bread for £3. I resisted the urge to inform them of how much soup should be mainly because I’m a wuss but also because I really wanted some soup.

It was all road for a good while and was taking a lot longer than I had been expecting. I hit a bit of a low again as a result and the fact that I’d been pushing myself so hard probably didn’t help. On the up side, by the time I got to Glasnakille the cloud had disappeared and the sun was giving it a go. This meant that when I got over to the to Elgol I had the classic view of the cuillins in front of me almost completely cloud free.

The Elgol shop was closed though and my supplies were running thin. It was 6.45 and the sign said Camasunary was 3.1 miles of difficult path ahead. I was finally able to free my legs from my waterproof trousers on the way, not quite believing just how drastically the weather had changed. I was now sweating. On the way I smacked my head against a branch twice but made it at 8.10.

As I crossed the river I washed my face and dropped my hat into the flow. No way was I losing another one. I dumped my bags and ran downstream and got onto a rock in the middle to rescue it.

This was to be my first bothy experience and it was very welcome. I had the place to myself and so spread out all my stuff, tent included, in the hope that it might dry. I also lit a fire help the process along. Camasunary is an amazingly picutresque spot especially when the sun is shining after being subjected to some serious rain for most of the day.


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