Posted by: natsevs | August 12, 2010

Laide to Ullapool

A cold night led to another sunny morning and I set about my usual mornning routine rather slower than usual. When I did start it wasn’t majorly interesting to start with but soon got a bit better.

I walked up a hill to come to a stunning view over the bays and sandy beaches. Gruinard Bay beach is particularly impressive (in the sun anyway). There were quite a few people about down there but I was bound to the road to get over the cliffs unfortunately. On top of a hill I stopped for some lunch before my steak slice got too much warmer.

Once down the other side I headed over farmland to get around a headland with no road or path. A big bull stood right in my way but thankfully moved on without need for persuading. After hitting the first point the ground started upwards as I continued.

Suddenly there was a massive bird in front of me. It spotted me at the same time, took a hop forward and took off. It was a sea eagle and had been really close. I was so shocked and chuffed that I only remembered my camera in time to get a rubbish photo. As I tried to get a better photo of it flying above, crows mobbed it and it was off.

I carried on in a good mood and got around to the road at Badluarach easily. Going along there, a guy about to go on a cycle ride chatted to me to put off starting for a bit. In Durbamuck was a shop that was basically the back room of someone’s house but it was actually a pretty well stocked one. I made good progress down the road to Dundonnel at the loch head. Once there i cut through farmland and across the river to start climbing the hill the other side. I got to the road without finding a good campspot but here it flattened out and was less boggy so I set up in the field.

I had a bad sleep meaning that I slept until 8.45 but wasn’t in a major rush today. I somehow managed to eat all my cookies whilst packing up which wasn’t the best idea when there wasn’t going to be a shop until the end of the following day.

The road to Badrallach goes inland then back out so I cut across as soon as I could. This route was boggy as usual and the clegs were out in force attacking me. I got to the campsite and went to the reception where the woman gave me £5 of the £6 fee back for the charities. I was staying in their bothy so went and dumped my stuff.

It started to rain so I held off from doing the headland for a bit. When I did set off it was just spitting a little. I had my sandwiches in the bothy so only had an orange for the walk around the head. The path along the hillside was good with great views up the loch and the sky was pretty too.

Soon I reached Scouraig which is only accesible by this path and boat. I wandered through and there was a fake lighthouse in the middle that you can go in and it has displays on their village life. I went along the track to the end of the village past the jetty then set out off path towards the point. There were loads of horses which I haven’t seen for a while. The going was fairly easy with tracks most of the way along through the heather. It was scenic in today’s weather as the rain cleared a little.

All the summer isles were out in front and buzzards were flying around really close by. There was a weird building at the point which I investigated. Apparently it’s a lighthouse but was basically a cube. I carried on round then met a track which took me along then over back to the village. Then it was back to Badrallach along the same path. I was joined at the bothy by an old guy called Nert who had completed the munroes and was 6 Corbetts short of completing them, as well as three blokes from Nottingham who were a laugh.

I slept up on a platform which was quite cool. I was awake at half 7 but waited until half 8 to get up to not wake anyone else. The Nottingham guys were only just getting up as I left. It was a really grimey day with misty rain and I could hardly see the loch. The road up to where it turned seemed to take ages but once there i was able to set off down a track to the other side of the peninsular. It was mostly downhill so easy going to get there and then the track split so I could follow it along the side for all of about 10 meters. There were cow tracks for a bit from there through boggy fields.

There were the inevitable ups and downs but generally not too bad going. I came down to a beach and it looked like I could get along the front instead of being forced up on the cliff through trees and rubbish. The first bit was a pretty much straight cliff in the end but got along clinging to it then at the other end I had a bit of climbing again. When I reached another beach I had an outcrop to get over with serious bogs around. Once I made it over I took a path up to the road then was on road the rest of the day.

I was caning it a bit to try to make Ullapool before the supermarkets shut as it was Sunday. I got to the loch head in good time but had to go even further in because of the river there. I definitely wasn’t going to make the supermarkets. Around 3pm I had cut open my squeezey jam bottle and was getting the remnants of it out. Bit of a low moment.

I got to Ullapool just after 4 but couldn’t book in until 5 so wandered around town and got some snackage. I was tempted by the ice cream parlour so got myself one before I headed back to the hostel. The hostel was quite busy with a lot of foreign people there on holiday. I showered then headed out to the chippy which was apparently the best in Britain (in Nov 2004). It was slightly disappointing but I’d bought a whole chocolate Swiss roll to enjoy as well. An old guy from Torridon hostel was there as were 2 Scottish lads on holiday with their dad who were pretty funny.

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Responses

  1. After several days I have just finished reading your blog, great reading, love your sense of humour especially when things are going from bad to worse.
    Good to hear you met some really kind people who helped you out on your travels.
    I must agree with you when you say:- “I was not and I am still not a fan of the forestry commision. They are the enemy of the long distance walker. Yeh sometimes they have paths but these either lead to dead ends or go round in a circle so you’re screwed if you want to actually get anywhere.”
    I hate them also, and continually get lost in them, why people want to walk in them beats me?

    I seriously think that you should write a book when you finish. When I was in Airigh cottage south of Applecross, John had book writen by a couple who had also walked the coast of Britain, I think it was called “the sea to our Left” or something apt like that.
    Anyway thats all for now, keep going, we will be willing you on. Alan & Ele


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