Posted by: natsevs | August 18, 2010

Achnacarnin to Strathchailleach

It was a misty and miserable morning as I packed down and got onto the road. At the end of the road was a path down the valley then that path ended and I carried on along the coast.

It was fairly easy going, along sheep tracks and down to Clashnessie. The gate to the farm there directed me to use a non-existent stile so I went over that, through the field and onto the road. The road stuck right to the coast at first and I could see right up to Cape Wrath. It went inland slightly after a while and towards Drumbeg. The shop there had been advertised all over so when I arrived I was severely disappointed. The biscuit selection was hobnobs and that’s it.

Staying on the main road I got to the Kylesku Bridge surrounded by picturesque lochs and waterfalls.

From the bridge was a steep climb upwards and I was soon starting to look for a camp spot. Unfortunately, the options were bog or rock so I had to keep walking. When I reached a point where I could get off the main road I was hopeful. I was disappointed. The path was an old road, so tarmac and the rest was more of the same. The midges were also out in force so I was getting a little fed up.

I got all the way back to the main road and down to Badcall and was considering camping on the verge. About 3 miles on was Scourie, and a campsite so I decided to try my hand at hitching. My mate Tom was arriving in the morning so I could get a lift back to where I stopped. The first 2 or 3 cars went past but a young couple took pity on me and took me to the campsite. I arrived there at 8.30 but on the plus side the girl at first only charged me £5 to stay there, then gave me that back as well. I pitched up, ate and went straight to sleep.

I started to pack away in the morning but then thought it might be wiser to stay another night. Tom was driving up so we could leave the car and our bags at the site and hitch back. I asked the girl if she thought we’d be able to do that and she seemed to think we would have no problem at all. Tom had got lost looking for a shop in Inverness so was running late so I set off towards Badcall, where I had stopped yesterday. As I neared badcall, Tom drove up with perfect timing and we headed to the site so he could set up his tent. When we parked up the guy came out of reception and was a little arsey at first but warmed to us slightly. We definitely had to pay this time though.

After nipping into Spar we got onto the pass over to Tarbet. After initially being quite a good path, it started to fade out a little and the weather was pretty rank. Once we reached Tarbet, which is basically a restaurant and nothing else, we headed around on the road via Fanagmore before reaching the main road. Just after Laxford bridge we stopped for some lunch in the rain. At Rhiconich we headed out onto a b road along the edge of loch inchard. This took us through some really rough looking places like villages that were basically  scrap car graveyards.

The rain had really started getting worse and we were both soaked as a result. It was 7 when we reached Kinlochbervie and initial hitching attempts were severely unsuccessful. There were very few cars even passing as the road is ultimately a dead end. We walked up to the hotel to ask if they knew anyone who would take us back. The response we got was ‘you won’t be getting out of here tonight’. Nice. She was quite helpful and tried the taxi man in case, despite the fact that he only worked 9 til 5. When everyone needs a taxi.

That was unsuccessful so we went back to the road and considered walking back to the main road. An accomodation check by my brother found everywhere was full. There was a b&b sign so we went to try our luck. They had no room because there was a big 80th birthday party at the hotel but the woman offered us a lift. Whilst we waited for her husband to bring her car up she rang the riconich hotel. They had a twin room, for £48 each. We didn’t really want to be in a hotel and especially not at that price so we politely declined. We were driven back in a jag and gave her some petrol money. It was 8 when we got back so we went straight to the on site pub hopeful to get food before they stopped serving. We were just in time and sat there soaking waiting for our food without money for a drink as well. After that, once we’d dried out and recovered, I found some money so we had a pint or 2.

Tom’s tent was flooded slightly and he hadn’t bought a roll mat so I could hear him moving about restlessly whenever I woke up. I got up and had porridge and he eventually emerged later on. Today’s plan was to walk to Sandwood Loch, stay in the bothy there tonight then I would go on and Yom would return to his car in the morning. It was only a short walk. Once we had packed up and got supplies we drove off up the road. Instead of going towards Kinlochbervie though we carried on to Durness to check it out. It wasn’t that impressive so we just found ourselves a cafe and got some food. Tom had an omelette and I had a seriously disappointing scone, I didn’t even get cream with it.

Back to walking, I was dropped off at the hotel whilst he drove on to the car park at Blairmore. I caught up with him there and we headed out along the path to sandwood loch in more miserable weather. There were a fair few people on the path though, which was fairly flooded in parts. When we got to the loch, the building I thought was the bothy had no roof. The actual bothy was a few miles further on so on we went as we weren’t about to share my tiny tent. You can appreciate it would be a great place to go in the sunshine.

Along the beach we reached the river and after failing to find a decent place to cross we had to just walk through. There was a hard climb out before a lot of bog. The bothy loomed up eventually and in we went. It was quite a spooky place especially in the eerie weather. It had once been lived in by man named sandy and his picture was on the wall. There was also a file with ghost stories about the bothy and sandwood in. For some reason I read this. The worst thing was the pictures sandy had drawn on the walls whilst living here alone. Scarey eyed women and allsorts. We set about trying to get the peat fire burning which occupied us fir quite a while.

We’d just about got it burning well when a Scottish couple turned up with there dog. Our stuff was spread everywhere so we set about getting it together slightly but kept the wet stuff hanging up and by the fire. They were nice people and we all say chatting in front of out well tended fire. Much later a young german couple arrived absolutely soaked so the tiny place was now pretty full but on the plus side it had completely lost it’s eeriness. We shared the room with the Germans whilst the Scottish couple slept in the kitchen.

Posted by: natsevs | August 17, 2010

Ullapool to Achnacarnin

The dorm was way too hot and I woke up sweating after just an hour then at least every hour from then on. After having a breakfast which included Swiss roll I went out to the supermarket. It wasn’t the biggest of shops but it did the job and I got well stocked up.

Back at the hostel I found space in my bag for everything then set off. As I did I bumped into the guy and his sons who said they were going out to do the coastal path so we would pass each other at some point. On the way out it started pouring down as I was on the phone to my sister so I hid by a house to get my waterproofs on. It was all main road to Ardmair then there was a gate earlier than expected.

I went through it and the overgrown path led to a house who’s ground I was forced to walk through by a fence. I got onto the track quickly and followed that along the shore to get over a river bridge. I started down the other side then climbed up a bank to get on another track. This track was dug about 3feet down in the peat to the solid rock as Richard Smith had told me it would be when I stayed with him in Portree.

The map shows the coast path going out from the track but the deer fence to my right started worrying me thanks to previous experiences. After a while I headed back to get through the gate I had seen earlier. It was nailed shut so that was a fun climb over. When I got down to where the path does actually come out there was a nice proper gate there.

There was a lot of climbing for the first few miles in miserable weather. There was a definite path at least, even with bogs interrupting it now and then. I stepped down one dip to lose both legs up to my knees in one of these bogs and had to pull myself out. My feet were obviously soaked after that. The scenery was great but my camera wasn’t working again. Overall I wasn’t happy.

When I reached a gully the path went inland but a second worn path went over the fence and down to the beach. I took that one hoping for easier going. It was fine to start with, then rocky, then some proper climbing. I had to get up onto a platform blocking me off completely. It was hard going and I had to throw my bag across a gap to get up then manouvre it again so I could get down without the weight. It was a right hassle and knackering.

After that I climbed up a rock fall to reach the proper path and from there it was ok. The journey so far had taken a lot longer than expected though so when I got to Acheninver I decided I would stop at the hostel there to dry out and take advantage of a bed again.

A German couple turned up later who blanked me when I said hello. Then later the woman asked if it was my ‘red’ clothes in the room. ‘Red? No I haven’t got any red clothes’, she went on to say they were making the room smell. Firstly, she wasn’t even staying in my dorm, her partner was and secondly, hostel rooms smell, especially ‘rustic’ ones like this. I realised she had meant wet but I hadn’t understood her accent and therefore they were my clothes. Not that I would have moved them anyway.

The other people staying at the hostel rocked up at 1am so who knows what they’d been up to. I nabbed some free porridge from the spare food shelf for breakfast and was away by 9. The path comes out to the car park on the road and it was along the road that I continued. When I reached Achiltibuie I went into the local shop to be presented with the usual massive choice of top quality food stuffs. The woman behind the counter was jolly though which went some way to make up for that.  I took another road off towards Reiff, immediately passing a really nice beach with tents set up along the grass behind it. Felt slightly like I’d missed out on a good camping spot.

Whilst walking past a pub in one of the villages, a little dog ran out barking at me. It was one of those tiny rattish dogs with inferiority complexes. As well as barking it went for my feet whilst it’s owner shouted at it from the decking, drink in hand. The little bugger ran off before the temptation to kick it grew too big.

Along the way I was passed by a car with REIFF as it’s number plate. That’s real pride in your village. Reiff itself was quite nice with a lovely holiday cottage right on the beach. I got to the end of the road there and started along the path along the edge of an inland loch. There was a really nice beach and bay further on then I had to make my way from the end of the path across. It got pretty boggy and the weather came in in a serious way. Wind and rain lashing at my face whilst my feet sunk into spongey pools.

I made it to the road as the rain cleared and followed that round a nice bay and past Loch Oscaig. Off from Loch Oscaig was a steep hill as I now headed in the direction of Lochinver. Once over the first hill I came to a valley and took a road and track to Inverpolly lodge then a path along the coast. At a bay the track stopped with a river in front but there was a place to cross and a vague path onwards from there. The path disappeared quite regularly but it was easy to navigate through and I reached a second river. Crossing it to get back onto the road. Some more serious rain looked iminent so I was eager to find somewhere to camp. Half an hour’s walking took me to a parking and picnic area by a river where I stopped and set up the tent as the rain started again.

I woke up around 2am which isn’t unusual but this time my feet were wet. Considering I had socks on, then my sleeping bag, this was quite worrying. I felt the floor of my tent and it was very wet, then I put my hand out the door and found I was now camped in a puddle.

The rain was still coming down so I got on my coat, grabbed my torch and ventured out to see if there was a dry spot around. Across the car park was a non flooded spot so I set about moving my stuff over to the other table, then putting the tent down and up again in the new spot. All of this was done with my torch in my mouth as my headtorch had died. I was back in the tent and drier at 3.30 and settled down again.

Needless to say, I was knackered in the morning. It was still raining as I made my way along the road to Lochinver. When I got there I stocked up on food majorly before also popping into the pie shop and cafe there. All of the pies looked and sounded really good but I went for the beef stroganoff to go in the end. I wasn’t disappointed.

Carrying on around to Baddidarach where there is a path over to Ardroe. It was actually a real path as well, on which I saw a few boar foraging away. That reached another road and a steep hill before going down to Achmelvich bay. The sun had turned up now and the bay was very pretty. I spoke to a guy and his son there who had offered me a lift the day before. Another path took me to the coast road to another nice bay at Clachtoll where I stopped for a little sit.

When I recommenced I made my way to Stoer, taking road and tracks to the lighthouse. There were a good few people up there even though it was around 5 and the rain was back again. A path took me along the coast a bit before carrying on along pathless terrain round the headland to Culkein. The going was boggy and there was now misty rain and the air was completely still. Perfect midge weather. It was horrible. I finally made Culkein and took the road along the front then started cutting across land between roads. I stopped on top of a hill in the hope of it being less boggy and to make sure there was no chance of flooding tonight. I set up as quick as possible to minimise midge attacks but the citronella candle I bought in Ullapool seemed to work quite well.

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.

Posted by: natsevs | August 11, 2010

Redpoint to Laide

Despite rain in the early hours it was a sunny morning when I popped my head out the tent door. I packed away straight away and got a few midge bites but wasn’t about to waste sunshine whilst I had it. I then cooked and ate my porridge on the beach.

Immediately after setting off I got onto a dirt track up to a car park and the road. At the top of the first hill, I could take in the view and the scenery had definitely changed for the better. The relentless lochs and boring coast had given way to beaches and cliffs with open, uninterrupted sea beyond.

By midday I had eaten all my food supplies but it wasn’t going to be a long day before reaching Gairloch. It was all road so the most noteworthy thing to happen was the same red van passing me 4 or 5 times. The loch itself is more like a bay and I could see across to where the hostel was quite early on. When I reached Charlestown I got a drink as my water had run out a while back and soon I was coming into Gairloch.

The first shop wasn’t great but there was a second one in the square which had homemade pies. I got a steak and guiness and some potatoes so I could have a half decent tea for a change. It was only 3pm so I went into the cafe opposite and got an expensive mocha with all the trimmings (those were free) to ease away some time. They had some awesome looking scones on show but the day I’m able to pay £3 for a scone is a long long way off.

When I set off again I saw an ice cream place called Sweets and couldn’t resist the temptation to add a flavour to my list. Then it started to rain and cursed my timewasting a little bit. Not that I’d have been able to check into the hostel before 5 anyway. As it was I still had half an hour to wait when I arrived. Everyone else there seemed to be French and I realised quite quickly how little of the language I could remember from school so i stuck to polite smiles instead. Pie and mash was good but it needed extra gravy for sure.

The drawback of free tea is that it takes me ages to get to sleep. I really need to learn that lesson. When I got up there wasn’t another soul around so I had breakfast in complete peace. Packing was an issue in a room full of sleeping people though. The sun was gone and it was a dark and very windy morning as I headed towards Big Sands.  I walked through the campsite there to the village then there was a path out to North Erradale.

It started off as dirt track but was soon quite boggy. I could always see it though and that’s a win in Scotland. I walked straight through North Erradale and out the other side to pathless terrain until I joined the main road going up the headland. I was on that all the way to Melvaig and had to put on my coat in the end just to keep the wind out.

From Melvaig was a single track road out to Rua Reidh lighthouse and every car that passed me on that road was full of miserable people. You would have thought they were the ones outside in the horrible weather. Not one of them thanked me for moving aside or managed anything near a smile. A way along there was a ring of smoke in the air on front of me which was odd. Later a helicopter appeared though and once I’d got to the lighthouse I learned that a little boat was being rescued. I assumed the smoke had been from a flair sent up by the idiot sailing a tiny boat in the wind and rain.

I found this out from the woman at Rua Reidh and a family there from Aberdeen who I had got talking to at the visitor centre. The woman also told me it would take about 3 hours to get across the top of the headland. It was going to be a long day to get to Poolewe. I left the lighthouse at 1.30 on easy path initially but soon I was leaving that and joining sheep tracks.

I had a lot of uphill walking to get up over the top of the cliffs and the wind was sending me everywhere. It was hard work but I had managed to get to the ruin after the cliffs a half hour quicker than expected. From then on though it was really boggy with big gullies everywhere. I hit a river and had to find a half decent crossing spot but my feet still got wet obviously. After what seemed like ages I got to a beach and from there were tyre tracks through more bog to the road. I got there around 4 then started the long walk down to Poolewe. I nipped into the shop then on to the camp site to crash for the night.

When I got up in the morning the sun was shining but it was soon clouding over. I paid another visit to the shop before packing down my tent and setting off at 10. The sun managed to battle it’s way back through but the wind was quite cool so ideal weather. It was boring road and my radio wasn’t picking up radio stations so not ideal. The road was soon climbing up a fair size hill though and at the top was a great view and buzzards were swooping about.

Once down I got off the main road at Aultbea and got along to Mellon Charles. At the end of the road was a dirt track to the top of a hill. I carried on through heather to the ruins at Slaggan with a successful and dry river crossing along the way. There was a lovely beach there but the walking was slightly boggy.

There were sheep tracks though and making my way along the low cliffs with open sea beside me in the sun was very satisfying. A lot more like what I was hoping for than scrabbling over sea weed covered loch sides. I soon got to Opinan then along roads down to Laide. The campsite was overpriced at £10 but I paid it for some reason. I’m still not sure why now.

Posted by: natsevs | August 9, 2010

Airigh Drishaig to Redpoint

I managed to  set up my tent on a lump again so slept badly. Nothing had dried over night, so on went the damp shorts and t-shirt, followed by my waterproofs. The rain was really going for it as I packed up then I had the river to get over immediately. It was a challenge to find a decent crossing but even when I did my feet still got wet. Or wetter.

The path goes up and over a deer fence and was surprisingly clear but that’s probably because most of it was now a stream. The rain stopped but it was really miserable still and now the midges were out as well. I got down to Toscaig around midday and was able to take a road along from there. It looked really scenic around there even in the gloom. A family wearing some awesome jumpers were loading a shed from their car then offered me a lift when they drove past.

I branched off through a village before Applecross and came to a shop. Fortunately I went in because it was the only shop I passed that day. The bay at Applecross was another attractive place. It was a long slog along coast road from there but with pleasant views. There was a hamlet every hour or so and in the last part of the day it got quite sunny with a decent wind. For the last half hour I was looking for a camp spot with little success. Everywhere was either boggy or lumpy. After getting through Fearnmore, I found a flat, dry spot finally. The wind was a problem setting up and was really testing the tent once I was in it.

Thankfully my tent survived the wind and I actually slept well for a change. It was getting a battering again in the morning though so I packed away before I was blown into the sea. Once I had started, the weather got really annoying. There were showers on and off so I had my waterproofs on but in between the rain I was boiling. The constant hills didn’t help with that either. It was all road walking again and not majorly interesting although I had one or two phone calls to break up the day.

I got to Shieldaig after 1 which was later than I was hoping but looking at the road sign it was also a lot further than I’d thought. The shop there was open even though it was  a sunday luckily. I carried on to Torridon from there with a lot of hills along the way again. The Torridon mountains were really impressive as I neared them. I got to the hostel at the foot of them just after 4 but the reception didn’t open until 5 so I made myself comfortable in the reception. I took off my boots and socks and checked the blister damage on my right foot. When I did check in the guy was really helpful and the hostel was a good one.

I had breakfasted and packed by 9.15 and walked down the road out of Torridon. The shop was at the end of the road just after half 9 and it was closed. There was no sign saying the opening hours but two woman across the road were kind enough to shout ‘it’s closed’. One then came over saying it wasn’t open until 10.30 and you have to be patient around here. Patient and unemployed apparently.

She told me the nearest shop was Shieldaig, only 8 miles back on myself. I had no food left on me so I headed back to the hostel to wait it out. Matt, the hostel guy, kindly offered me the remains of a loaf but I would be needing snackage too. When I returned the shop was open. And rubbish. It was also expensive so I bought the minimum and the minimum is what they were offering. I love snack makers who put the rrp on the packaging because shops never over charge on them even though everyone who goes in knows they are charging well over the rrp on everything else anyway.

Shopping done I headed down the road and was throwing on my waterproofs in no time as the rain lashed down. After a while I took a track along passed Torridon house. Stopping for a wee in a quiet spot to look up and see a security camera pointed at me from the top of a post. Oh well.

The track took me to the next village from where there was a path to Aligin. There was then another path from there to Diabeg which wasn’t signposted but I found it easily enough. The start was in thick bracken but that thinned out and it became craggy and boggy terrain. It was quite an interesting walk but would have been much more pleasurable in the sunshine. Progress seemed slow even though I was gunning it and I had the usual problem of wearing waterproofs to keep out the rain but sweating underneath them. A house turned up in the middle of all this rock with no obvious way to it but it’s residents were there and gave me a wave. After that there was a lot of uphill and climbing before Diabeg became visible in front and below me.

The path went down a bit but then started rising again which was slightly confusing. It then stopped abruptly with a drop of about 4m at the base of which, it started again. I’d been warned in the morning about this by a guy who’d walked it the previous day. I had to climb down even though I could see no route. It was pretty hairy getting down and my bag was a real hinderance. Once I had managed it though, it was easy going to get to the village. Unfortunately I then had a stupidly steep road climb up just as the sun came out to boil me.

At the road end was the path to Craig and Redpoint. The path was really good for a change and there were a fair few people on it. By this I mean two women and three boys. I passed the woman then one of the boys was so determined to stay in front of me that he kept running ahead and looking back. It kind of made me feel uncomfortable. He eventually got knackered though and let me pass giving me a proper evil whilst he did. Then one of his brothers called me mum as I approached them. Not sure what that says about his mum with my beard well and truly back.

The sun was properly out now so I was able to take my waterproofs off and instead of stopping at the bothy at craig I walked on to Redpoint. I did pop in though and met a nice couple and one of the guys from the hostel was there. I reached Redpoint in good time and set up close to the beach by a derelict fishing hut. I cooked on the beach and had a little paddle then walking back to the tent saw a pick axe lying on the ground. Further on was a sledgehammer. If a nutter turned up the I was going to be in trouble.

Posted by: natsevs | July 29, 2010

Loch Ainort to Airigh Drishaig

I realised pretty quickly once in my tent that I had set up with a hump right in the middle of the floor. The new roll mat did a good job though. It was a windy morning so I was safe from midges for packing away and breakfast. I managed to eat the rest of my cereal bars as I packed away.

It started raining just as I was ready to pack up the tent so was delayed as I put on the waterproofs. I got straight onto the A-road and was on there for most of the day. The rain was constant but varying in intensity, just to keep things interesting. As a result I wasn’t taking any breaks and was going for it as I had a hostel booked for the night.

My radio headphones were already breaking but they also act as an aerial so I can’t just get a new set. There was a path to Broadford next to forestry and once there I went into a little shop then two seconds later there was a proper one so I went in there too. Suddenly, Skye was full of shops, you’re screwed if you don’t have a car though.

The busy and boring road took me from there to Kyleakin and Skye was completed. I was at the hostel at four so had to wait an hour for the reception to open, but I was able to wait in the communal area out of the rain. I stayed in one of the caravans this time as it was cheaper and the place was almost fully booked because of tours stopping there. I ate early to avoid the rush then relaxed for the rest of the evening.

As I was in a hostel there was the guaranteed snorer in the room. Add to that the guy that came in at 1, complained about the snorer then didn’t shut up for an hour and I had a rubbish sleep.

I got up at 8 expecting the kitchen to be empty like last time but it was overflowing. I hid in the lounge. It started clearing and I took my chance before heading back to the room to get sorted. It was raining obviously. It wasn’t long before I was on the beach and feeling the relief of leaving Skye though.

I had to go through Kyle of Lochalsh again then out along the road towards Plockton. Between rain showers it was too warm so I was sweating under my waterproofs. From Plockton I took a path to a castle then single track road through woods.

It was here that I saw a fairy. If a psychiatrist asks, it was an insect, but in my opinion: definitely a fairy.

I had bought a pasta pot in Kyle so had that a bit further on which was a major treat. My boots had started rubbing now they’re kind of dry and I had developped a blister on my right heal that was giving me serious jip.

Down the south shore of loch carton were road works which always confuse me a little. I never know if I’m allowed within the cones or not as that is the safest place for me. I then had a very steep hill to go up and down where I was offered a lift as usual. Once round the loch head I came to Lochcarron the place around 6 and missed the campsite. I did find it when I went back on myself and checked into the Wee Campsite. It was very wee and only £4 so happy days.

The night actually got quite cold so I had to add an extra layer to get a good sleep. In the morning, I went to the village shop which is apparently the best in Scotland, amongst other awards. It was actually quite a good one as well. I stuck to the coast road out of the village past a tartan shop and down to North Strome. The road goes all the way to the end before it stops. At the end I was able to get onto a track around a little loch then inland slightly to meet a path that goes over the top to Kishorn. It was a fairly good path for a change and I got to kishorn easily.

It appeared to be one big building site. Another road took me around the head of loch kishorn and onto the Applecross road on the other side. I came off that before it climbed over the top to stay on the lochside. A dirt road took me down past an industrial site, then I was blocked off by fences of a fish farm.

I went round the edge in slightly boggy land forcing me uphill a bit. When I reached the quarry there was a deer fence in my way stretching right up the hill. I wasn’t about to go up there so I nipped over the fence into the quarry. There was no one about at this time so it was pretty safe. Getting through the site was easy and out the other side there were the remnants of a track for a very short while. I had to get over a river and managed better than I had with most lately.

From there it was slippery beach walking but I managed to stay upright. After a while though I was forced upwards and followed pylons along the top. I thought I was making good progress but a map check proved otherwise. Then came a second river. This one was a torrent and definitely not easy to cross. I walked up and down it looking for a dry way over then just looked for a safe way that wouldn’t result in me being dragged down to the sea. I found the best looking spot and successfully got over with very wet feet.

After thar it was more or less beach and rock until I saw the house that meant I was below the path to Toscaig. The climb up was really boggy and the midges were already going for it. I found a flattish dryish spot and set up for the night wet, cold and tired. It’s amazing how cosy a tent can feel when it’s  miserable outside.

Posted by: natsevs | July 28, 2010

Uig to Loch Ainort

I was woken by some very loud people going to breakfast so I got up and had my first full English for quite a while. I packed up whilst watching the Hollyoaks omnibus.

It had been raining since the early hours and was really going for it as I left. I still had 20minutes until the shop opened though so I waited it out in the public toilets. They had no bread or fruit in there, the shop I mean, not the toilets. I was getting pretty desperate for some slightly healthier food now.

After that I headed out along the road climbing up the back of the bay. It was a main road to start with but after I had sat on a fold out chair in a bus stop I went down a lesser road out to a farm. Out of the end I walked along the coast through farmland and bog so my feet returned to their standard state of soakingness.

At the village of Bornesketaig a little road took me back to the main one. This took me past Flora McDonald’s grave then up to the ruins of a castle. There were a lot of people parked up to do the 5 minute walk to the castle now the rain had stopped.

I went out then down into the bay before heading out to the most northerly point of Skye. If I’m completely honest I didn’t go right out because I really didn’t want to.

I returned to the road via a cow field and followed that for the rest of the day. The sun turned up and everything looked a bit more scenic. I stopped for a bit where a couple of dogs came and made friends with me.

When I arrived in Staffin it was a little bit weird. I’ve never seen so many churches in such a small village. Out of there was a campsite but I only had £5 left on me and I didn’t need the facilities. There is a viewpoint just past Elishadder at kilt rock where there is a waterfall and stuff. A few cars were parked up with people milling about but there weren’t any no camping signs so I decided to stop there. The people left but I went over the river and outif the way still to avoid being disturbed. It was a good job as there was a steady flow of people coming and going for a while. Just when my noodles were done the stove fell over so I had to recover half out of the grass. I then had porridge for pudding to make sure I didn’t get too hungry overnight.

People started turning up at the viewpoint surprisingly early. It wasn’t raining then but that soon changed. I was fed up as I set off along the road and it was boring walking. It was clear enough to get a good view of the old man of storr for a few minutes.

Coming up to the car park heading for the walks up to there a whole flock of sheep ran out into the road in front of a nice sports car which gave me some amusement at least. At the Storr lochs, there was a footpath sign saying Portree was 8 miles so I headed onto the side road down which it was pointing. This took me to the other side of the lochs and right onto the cliffs.

Once at the end of the road there was a gate and one sign post pointing in the direction of Portree. If I had continued in that direction I would have walked off a cliff but there were no more signs and definitely no path. I attempted to follow the coast for a while but the map showed some serious cliffs in the way which soon came into view. I carried on midway between the lochs and the sea gradually getting nearer the lochs so that once they terminated I could head to the road and take a route where I knew I wouldn’t encounter any problems.

Coming down into Portree the weather was improving at least. I went to the co-op and bought real food then head to Harbour View seafood restaurant which my uncle;s friends Richard and Claire run. They had kindly said I could stay with them so Richard showed me in and got me a cup of tea and gave me the tour. It’s a lovely little restaurant. After I had showered we headed out for tea as they were closed today for their day off. I was treated to a meal and ordered a soup followed by a lamb casserole.

It was so good to gave real food even if it was only going to be for one night. On returning to the house Claire sorted me an apple pie with some of their elderberry ice cream as well so I was a very happy and grateful traveller.

My mum had sent a parcel with the next lot of maps in and more excitingly the new roll mat I had ordered. I would be sleeping well again and it was smaller than the last one! That is a very exciting thing for someone who wants to shove as much food as possible into their bag.

I had the best sleep I’d had in a long while which obviously made me feel really tired in the morning. A very good cooked breakfast soon sorted that out though. I went to the post office to send back all my broken kit then spent a bit of time chatting to Richard, Claire and their chef Catherine. If it hadn’t been for some of the people I had met on Skye I maybe wouldn’t have got round with my marbles still in tact.

When I set off the sun was actually shining. I had told myself I wasn’t going to buy any chocolate for a week and managed to resist the temptation of the waffle and ice cream parlour.

Unfortunately just out of Portree I went into the garage for a cold drink and came out with a kitkat chunky caramel as well. Only one though.

After turning off the main road to go along the coast to Braes I actually got ghe sun cream out. At the end of that road was a path along the edge of loch Sligachan to Sligachan itself.

It was actually  a path that existed and a little way along it even had people walking on it. The result of stocking up on food is that I end up constantly eating as I walk so generally I have one good day then I’ve run out again. I need better self control.

I passed the brewery and hotel at Sligachan which were both quite busy then took the main road up to Sconser. Out of Sconser is a headland with a single track going around it. This took me through a quarry at the beginning then it was really quite boring. There was however something that I have seen in England and Wales as well that I keep forgetting to mention.

On these roads in the middle of nowhere there are quite often holes in the metal road signs. I can only think that they could be made by bullets? It’s unnerving to see and I have consciously made sure I never camp near them in case someone is out for target practice and misses.

At a layby was a really arsey message about not camping there or there’ll be prosecution blah blah, don’t touch this sign or I’ll get you blah blah. My immediate reaction was that I really wanted to camp there to see what happened and maybe have a chat with the author, but it was a rubbish place to put a tent up.

In the end, I stopped at the head of the loch, loch Ainort, just off the single track road in a slightly boggy but flat spot. Before I stopped I saw a car driving really slowly along the road. When it came to where I was I saw that it was a couple ‘walking’ their dog and they had the cheek to look at me like I was odd for actually walking with my legs. The stupid thing is that it was the first half decent day for 3 weeks so anyone else would be desperate to get outside.

Posted by: natsevs | July 27, 2010

Dunvegan to Uig

The wind was up during the night and my rib gave me a fair bit of grief. Thankfully, there was a break in the rain whilst I packed the tent away.

I set off into Dunvegan village and came across a bakery where I got myself a sausage roll and warm scone. The scone was really good and I had just finished when I arrived at Jan’s cakes. Jan is over charging seriously for her cakes but was friendly. I treated myself to one slice of chocolate orange brownie for £4.25.

After that I went to the actual proper shop and got real supplies. I ate the brownie as I set off and it was good. It was road up to Claigan where I was subjected to idiot drivers who think I’m six-foot wide. From Claigan was a path to the coral beaches at the head and there were plenty of people out to walk to them.

It was kind of sunny walking out there and the beaches were quite impressive actually. The path stops there but I carried on through fields over a fence to get round the head. Once round the corner I could go up onto the cliffs or risk going down along the bottom. It looked ok down there so I went for it and thankfully didn’t hit any blockages. It did get quite tight at times.

The last mile to the loch head was all up and down in bracken. which was a pain. Then I had a river to cross with no stepping stones yet again. So I ran through past a dead sheep. On the other side I went uphill through a field to Bay and joined the road up the Waternish peninsula. The weather had picked up a bit although the wind was ever-present. At the top of the road, I got out onto a dirt track that took me right along the coast to the point. It goes through some ruins and stops in a field. Once through the fields, I hit bog and and was hoping to be sheltered from the wind. It wasn’t so now I had even worse camping conditions. It was hard walking with bog, heather and tussocks and my legs were getting heavy. There were no decent campspots to be found so I ended up in a semi-dry, semi-sheltered sloped spot.

The wind died down a bit at least but the uneven ground was a problem, especially with a dodgy rib. In the morning the wind had stopped and there was a bit of rain. The midges were really bad when I packed the tent up as a result. The rain was a nice addition to the hard walking. I was almost at Geary and had another bloody river to get past. I ended up walking above the village and had to come down through someone’s garden to get onto the road. I was searching ahead for a bus stop or something to check my map in as it was almost destroyed already. I ended up squeezing into a phone box where the map showed no alternative but to head into forestry land.

Further on was a house with a Jan’s Cakes honesty box outside so I helped myself to a gingerbread man for £2 or something. A guy from Inverness drove up and offered me a lift, it was one of those very tempting times but I managed to decline. We had a chat though and he was a nice fella. I took the turning through another village and out along a dirt road to the forest.

Thankfully there was a cliff path to start with but that soon went inland over bog in a clearing before joining another forestry track. I followed the track back towards the coast and along a bit but it inevitably stopped in the middle of nowhere as they do but I’ve already had that rant.

I was already soaked through from head to toe and was now making my way along a very boggy fire break. There were loads of cleggs about which were constantly blindly flying right into my face. I was starting to lose the plot again slightly. A stream blocked my way bur I got over it ok. Unfortunately there was then a full on river with no decent crossing place. I figured I’d have to just walk through, after all I couldn’t get any wetter. Except if I slipped and ended up kneeling waist deep in it. I gathered myself, stood up, walked out and then lost it properly. I was roaring and shouting and pleading pathetically with the flies to leave me alone. I scrambled through the now dense trees falling over and waving my hands around like a mad man.

Then I came to open land. It was marginally better but I had a steep climb and kept having to go higher because of cliffs. Going back down there was loads of bracken but I made it to the beach and the sun came out. Much too late. I regained some sanity but was still very depressed. Not helped by a river blocking my way for what seemed like the hundredth time on Skye. I got through, poured the water out of my boots and rung out my socks.

The road was a major relief. I did have to take another path but it at least had a bridge over the river I came to. Soon I was in Edinbane which had another abandoned shop. I made the choice to stop at the campsite just out of there and was very glad I did. When I paid I was also able to get some food from the shop then as I set up the tent a guy from one of the caravans offered me a cup of tea. His son was obviously very intrigued by me and brought his toys over. It was really good cup of tea. A woman then came over and said as the guy had already got me a cup of tea did I want some food? She made me some bacon and egg sandwiches. When I took back the plate her husband invited me in and I ended up staying in there until 12. Their names were Linda and Paul and they were lovely. I had a cup of tea then a beer and chatted to them for the evening about them moving up here, the walk and more besides.

Linda and Paul had offered to take my bag on to Uig where there plot is and where I was stopping in a b&b as the hostel was booked out. The morning was a very sunny one at least but my phone had finally had enough of the rain and died on me. I had another cuppa before setting off a lot lighter and also with some snacks they had kindly given me. I was on the road most of the time but there were a few tracks I could take instead. At Skeabost there was a path which headed right into the river. There was however a bridge further down.

The track on the other side went to some houses and then there was meant to be a path which had obviously been purposefully covered up and blocked off. I went through fields and across someone’s garden to get to the next road up to try another path. Walking out there, mum rang so I stopped on the bank to talk to her. A car drove up ad stopped in front of me so I moved my stuff in. It still sat there so I stood up and moved back. It still sat there. Then it drove up and the English woman driving informed me that it was private land.

Her very embarrassed husband told her I knew that and was probably walking to the footpath and directed me to it. Poor man is all I can say.

As it happens the path was nonexistent again but there was a track for the last bit. There was a footpath sign off the road but when I reached the bottom of the turn off there was no sign of it. The farmer there was nice though and said there was no path yet but told me how I could get across to the next settlement.

From Earlish I took a path back to the road round to Uig. The post office shop closed as I walked up to it at 5.32. There was a shop in the town proper but apparently the closed post office was the only place with a cash machine. Linda and Paul had left me £10 for tea at least. I had no money for the b&b though and they didn’t take card. The pub would give cashback apparently so I went there for tea but there card machine wasn’t working. I went back, put on my boots and walked the mile back up the road to another pub. It wouldn’t give cashback and the food was minimum £12. I went back and ate the steak slice I had bought for tomorrow’s lunch. The b&b owners said I could send a cheque as well so they were nice about it at least. The following day was Sunday by the way so the post office wasn’t opening. Needless to say I thought it was ridiculous.

Posted by: natsevs | July 26, 2010

Carbost to Dunvegan

I woke up feeling well rested for once then went about making eggy bread for breakfast. As I found myself in an empty kitchen I may have borrowed someone else’s milk for cereal but in my defence the shop only sold 2 pint cartons.

When I made myself set off it wasn’t a great day but the rain held off for at least 10minutes. I did pop into the shop again but only for some chocolate which was polished off straight away. I was banking on a shop in Struan to stock up properly. At the loch head, I left the road on a supposed path over to a farm track. That went through a river, not over it, that was in quite heavy flow and there were no stepping stones. I carried on with soggy feet past the farm and was made to go up the hill to meet the road again.

I was slightly hindered by a fence that I went to climb over only to find with my hand firmly gripping the wire that it was electric. I backed up and got over a nicer bit and had a really steep climb up. At the top, the path disappeared but I carried on parallel to the road in boggy fields before heading diagonally over to it. Almost there I was blocked by a river forcing me over another electric fence.

The road was much easier although boring. I arrived at Struan at 2ish and there was an outdoor shop (selling outdoorsy stuff, not a shop outside) so I went in there to get a replacement for my leaky water bottle. I asked the guy where the shop was and he told me it was only open Fridays and Saturdays. It was a Monday. The nearest one was Dunvegan, two scheduled days away but he sold flapjack. I got a few of them, then he said the garage might sell some things. When I got there they had mars bars and cans of coke and that’s about it but it was better than nothing.

Disappointed but not surprised, I carried on along the main road then turned off to Ullinish along a loop around the headland. From Cabost to Ose I was off road on a vague path then there was a single track road around the Harlosh peninsular. I came off that to walk right on the shore on the way back down the other side in the hope of spotting a camp spot. It ended up that I went right to the loch head as I saw a hotel sign and thought it may be a pub hotel. That would have been perfect given my food situation but unfortunately not it wasn’t the case. The woman was kind enough to fill up my water bottle though. I camped in a field along the other side of the loch, and was relieved to hear from Internet research at home that Glendale had a shop, I was due to pass by there Wednesday morning so could take a little detour.

On top of the rain there were some very odd noises outside overnight. The rain carried on as I packed up and set off along the front. I came in at Greep towards Orbost then south out of Orbost onto dirt track and path. This started off through forest where the whole Scottish midge population seemed to be hiding from the weather.

Out of the woods the path carried on parallel to the coast, through a valley and round the headland to Macleod’s maidens. These are a group of stacks out from the headland and were impressive to see. Unfortunately the path from then on was non-existent. The map showed it right on the coast so maybe it has fallen into the sea. The whole 10 miles of it.

The combination of no path, gales and rubbish terrain meant progress slowed from then on. There were also loads of annoying river crossings resulting in my feet being yet again soaking wet. It was not going well and the rain was gradually getting worse. Vague tyre tracks took me inland a fair bit round a hill and left me really lost. The bog became pond pretty much.

I was seriously depressed and going just a little bit crazy. When you start shouting at the wind and Skye and Scotland in general in the middle of nowhere, it’s a good idea to pull yourself together. I didn’t do that just yet though. I finally came through a gap to hit the the Largill valley and some slightly better walking. For about two minutes.

I came to a proper river and just walked straight through rather than risk being blown off half submerged rocks. There were loads of cows on the other side huddled together looking almost as miserable as me. There was no path up the hill but I finally came to a track taking me to Ramasaig.

The wind was now beyond serious though and the rain was lashing around. Walking along the road I realised I wasn’t going to be able to camp tonight and decided I would walk into Glendale and find a b&b instead of heading towards Neist point. When I told mum my plan she said she’d look up b&b’s there. The first one she rang said they would come out and pick me up. So as I was approaching Borrodale their son, Paddy drove up and rescued me. Getting into the warm car I realised I was freezing. The B&B was called Glenview and us owned by the Gibsons. Some of the nicest people ever. They sorted me some tea of pizza and chips, dried my clothes for me and were generally lovely. I sat downstairs chatting with them most of the evening.

I slept really well then had a cracking breakfast so felt well recovered when I was ready to head off. I got a lift back out via the shop. Because there is only one road out to neist point, Mark said he’d take me out there and I wasn’t going to argue. It was ridiculously windy out there again as I got out of the car. Along with all the help they gave me they also didn’t charge me and I couldn’t believe it. It was another of those moments when you’re faith in people is restored slightly.

I walked out to the point along with a few tourists braving the weather. At the point is a lighthouse then walking beyond there are rocks sticking out into the sea with stone stacks all over them created by Druids. They definitely added to the prettiness in my opinion.

Once back up to the car park I started off along the road through Waterstein. I came off over a boggy bit to Milavaig then got to the coast proper and followed it round the head of loch Pooltiel. There was a bit of road around the head and I stopped for a roadside wee only to see someone in the next field who waved at me. I decided to pretend I hadn’t seen them in embarrassment.

Off the road out on the headland the walking wasn’t too bad at all. There were generally tracks around and the grass was nicely sheep cropped anyway. The waterfalls were still being blown upwards rather than down by the wind but at least the rain wasn’t around. I hada long steady climb as the cliffs got higher up to the point where I was at the start of a steep climb to the top of Skyes highest cliff, 1000+ feet up. The wind was already pretty serious and I was steering clear of the edge. As I neared the top I was being blown around the hill rather than getting up it. I got as near as possible then dived into the tiniest of dips to get some shelter. I left my bags there and crawled my way to the top to get a photo. Up there I had to hold onto the trig point to stay stationary.

Heading back down was easier and all downhill to the head. Once round that there were loads of gullies and streams to cross culminating in one big one I had to come right in to get across before reaching Galtrigill and the road. I was then following the road for the rest of the day past delights such as the folk and piping museums. I had my radio in for most of the day unsurprisingly. I got to the campsite at Dunvegan just before 7 and set up my tent in as sheltered a position as possible. Along with the wind the rain was still coming in bursts so I cooked in the porch of my tent and settled in for the night.

Posted by: natsevs | July 23, 2010

Camasunary to Carbost

I didn’t sleep amazingly well in the bothy due to the combination of a wooden bed and a deflating mattress. I made an extra large batch of porridge and checked whether things had dried. Everything but my socks and boots had done.

When I ventured out there were really dark clouds over the mountains but blue sky out to sea so the day could have gone either way. The bridge over the river next to the bothy had been washed away a long time ago so I had to walk in to find the stepping stones across. The path from there was clearly visible but slow work still.

I had read about the ‘bad step’ in my book and in the bothy visitor book but was slightly disappointed (and relieved at the same time) when I reached it. I was expecting a thin ledge over a sheer drop or something but it was just a scramble up the rock. The path then took me down to Loch Coruisk where it leaves the coast.

The loch is very pretty, as is the bay it’s tiny river goes out to. I got over the river, past the monument and off the path. From the opposite side it had looked impossible and very steep so I wasn’t looking forward to it.

The first bit was beach then under a waterfall to get round the bay. After that it was slow again but possible at least. I negotiated a mixture of rock slabs on the shore and craggy climbs up and over outcrops. Just out of the bay I spotted some seals on the rocks and more in the sea, then round the corner there were even more, at least 15 in all. They all fled to the sea and their bobbing heads watched me scramble around.

The sun won the battle with the cloud where I was at least but the wind was really strong. Every time I climbed over an obstacle I was smacked full on by the force of it. There were quite a few tricky and slippy sections. One particular occasion was where I was climbing down a rock face and halfway down couldn’t find a single foothold. A few deep breaths and a bit of shimmying rectified the problem but it made me realise I should be more careful out in the middle of nowhere.

Around 2pm I came down onto a really nice pebble beach. As it was sunny I decided it was the perfect spot for some food and a break and took off my boots. When I started again I had a climb to get out and then the cliffs started. I followed deer tracks most of the way but there were a lot of ascents which took their toll.

I got round the corner though and started along the headland just as it darkened above and the rain came. All the waterproofs came on and my just-dried boots started to soak up the water again. Suddenly it wasn’t so fun.

The headland was all long grass, hilly and boggy and I soon hit a massive ravine cutting right across my route. I made my way towards the edge and lost my feet down massive holes a few times before deciding it would be better to go uphill to find a crossing than down. I got across ok and carried on in the glumness.

The rain did start to let off but the damage was done. I started across to the other side falling over a lot in my tiredness. I actually just lay there in the wet grass for a couple of minutes after one fall. I finally got over and onto landrover tracks heading back down the other side to Glen Brittle. The hostel was right in the glen so another mile inland but it was very nice. It has a little shop so I got a bit if extra food although they had no bread.

The free tea meant I didn’t sleep very well again. I got chatting to a guy called Mark whilst I had breakfast then set about packing up again. The boots had dried out again in the drying room, as had my now solid socks. I made my way back to the coast and didn’t even make the beach before the heavens opened up. I was going to go to the campsite shop but it would have been out of my way again. Instead I crossed the river bridge and started along the next headland.

I was following a cow track when my whole leg went down a hole and my hands got covered in crap. It was going to be one of those days.

As I made my way along I was gradually making my way uphill as well before the slope got too steep to manage. It was hard work particularly as I was really tired. I felt pretty crappy in general and it wasn’t helped by the fact that the only food I had for the day was chocolate hobnobs and a mars bar. The slope became cliff and there were loads of gullies to go up and down. The rain then got a whole lot worse and was joined by gales. There were sheets of it flying across.

Then there was a huge gully blocking my way forcing me inland. I found a point to get over the trench and up the other side before heading back to the coast along a very long boggy valley. I could see Eynort now at least and I went along above Kraknish farm before finding the dirt track to the forest.

The farmer came to the gate as I was closing it so I held it open for him to drive through and chatted to him briefly. I got onto the forest track then five minutes later realised I had gone the wrong way. I was meant to have taken a path to a track lower down. I headed back and cut through the trees to the beach without seeing  a path inbetween. The beach was soon blocked by rock so I had to go through the trees before finding a kind of path.

That took me to a neglected forest track. There were fallen trees frequently blocking the way then a wall of dead trees completely blocked my way forcing me into the trees on a climbing mission. I’d had enough. I decided that if I made Eynort I would cut across the headland to Carbost and come back to complete the headland the following day. Carbost was three miles across but it was better than another 10 hour day when I already felt rubbish. I booked into the waterfront bunkhouse for 2 nights and had an overpriced burger in the pub because the shop has closed at 3.

The radiator was on all night so I had yet another bad sleep. I made myself porridge before going over to the shop. It had a rubbish selection and what it did have was severely overpriced. The weather was appalling, a Canadian guy said the wind was predicted to be 50-70mph and loads of rain. I set off with my day sack after eating 150g of dairy milk.

The rain and wind were lashing at me and it was actually painful. There was a road sign that had been ripped half off with the force of it. I thought I knew the way back to Eynort but things started to look unfamiliar. I wasn’t about to get my already suffering map out in this weather though. That’s how I ended up in Talisker instead. I had missed out a cliff section as a result but that was probably for the best in the conditions.

I went out to see the bay then headed back in a bit to meet the path over the top to Fiskavaig. The path was actually a stream today and my feet were soaked. Yet again not much fun. Once I got to Fiskavaig it was mostly road for the rest of the way with a few detours. I got back to Carbost at 2.30 and was able to have a chilled afternoon. The guy doing the laundry was a really nice bloke and I chatted to him a fair bit. The Internet wasn’t working so he sorted it then opened up the charge box and put about £5 back in so I had about 3 hours free. I was finally able to get the photos off my broken camera using his laptop as well.

I had pizza for tea the watched tv in the lounge for most of the rest of the night. I had the room to myself as well so pretty happy with that.

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