180. Ardgour to Locheilside

It rained most of the night, but I was really hoping that when I came to packing away the tent, the rain would cease. False hope i’m afraid, the rain increased and in 10 minutes of putting the tent away my last dry walking clothes were soaked. I ended up throwing the half-dismantled tent into the back of the car.

Crap weather aside, today would be unique in that I would use a combination of public transport (train, bus & ferry) to get to the start of my walk. I’m pretty sure I have never combined all three means of transport in a single section before. I would also begin walking in, what I’ve always referred to as Ardgour, which is actually just one of a number of districts (including Morvern, Ardnamurchan, Sunart and Moidart) that make up a very wild and rugged area of Western Scotland. The area also has a fine collection of mountains, often ignored by the masses, because of the absence of Munro’s.

I park up at the small Locheilside station. A brief respite in the rain allows me to rearrange the my half-dis-assembled tent and also to find some clothes that are not already soaking. I catch the 7:00 train from Mallaig into Fort William and then walk the short distance to the bus stop where I catch the 7:50 #44 bus to Corran Ferry. At Corran Ferry I utilise the frequent ferry service across Loch Linnhe to Ardgour. The ferry is run by the Highland council and is free to foot passengers and pedal cycles.

At Ardgour I begin the long walk north along the A861 single-track road which hugs the Loch Linnhe shoreline. For almost 30 minutes there is no rain and I begin to think I could be in for a dry spell. Wrong! It starts to rain incessantly for the next 5 hours. Even though the weather could be better, I enjoy the peace and quiet of the road where I can relax and think without having to jump onto the verge every few minutes. As I approach Fort William from the opposite side of Loch Linnhe, I can see a large cruise ship is docked in the middle of the loch. This is the MS Black Watch, a Fred Olsen owned vessel and currently on a 8 day cruise around the northern tip of Scotland before returning to Leith.

The Corran Ferry heading back across Loch Linnhe
Crushed Rock caused by movement along the Great Glen Fault at Rubha Dearg
Crossing the River Scaddle at Inverscaddle
MS Black Watch at Fort William

At Camasnagaul I pass a small jetty that a passenger ferry service operates across the loch to Fort William. Initially I had planned to make use of this ferry service, but my planning had bypassed this service entirely. I now enter Loch Eil, an eastern extension of Loch Linnhe. I can see and hear the wood processing yard a short distance across the loch at Corpach. As I near the head of Locheil, the rain briefly stops for 10 minutes. However, as I pass under the railway bridge and join the busy A830, normal service is resumed. I have another 2.5 miles of walking along the road to the rail station at Locheilside.

Camasnagaul ferry jetty
Looking across Loch Eil during a brief respite in the rain

On reflection these three days have not been particularly enjoyable, however, this trip was really about clocking up some miles, 60+ of them. It would have been nice to have had some views, but the lasting memory would be of rain…lots of it.

NB: I also publish all my Scottish Blog entries on the excellent Scottish Hills website, I use the same narrative, but larger photos and a few extra ones. They can be found here:

http://www.scottishhills.com/html/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=23781

Distance today =   23.5 miles
Total distance =  3063 miles

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