A small meteorological High had formed off North West Scotland which presented me with at least two days of good weather; so off I went to Ardgour.
Public transport is quite infrequent in this part of Ardgour, so I took along my bike, just in case. I drove to and parked at a small isolated car park at Loch Uisge. As part of a recent hydro scheme the original Loch was dammed to allow a larger Loch to form.
My plan was to cycle the two miles up the B8043 to where it meets the A884. There I would dump the bike out of sight and catch the #507 bus to Strontian, then the #506 to Ardgour. I waited some 20 minutes after the bus was due, until it slowly dawned on me that it was not coming. I quickly revised my plan. I retrieved my bike and headed towards the Carnoch Bridge, which the #506 bus would pass in 40 minutes time. But I needed to cover the 8 miles in that time in order to catch the bus to Ardgour. Unfortunately, there was a long long pull up the road to the bealach, which meant getting off and pushing for most of the way. By the time I was descending at speed down to Loch Sunart, I knew it was touch and go if I could make the bus. I could see the Carnoch Bridge in the distance and I kept glancing across the loch, looking for signs of the bus. With about 400m to go, the bus appeared, I had missed it by 2 minutes! Bugger! I then locked the bike up at the bridge and tried thumbing a lift. No joy, there was there was very little traffic. So I unlocked the bike and cycled the remaining 12 miles to the Ardgour Inn. I had cycled 22 miles that morning and I still had a 19 miles walk ahead of me! It also meant that I would have to push the bike back along my walking route; either that, or be faced with a 40 miles round trip to retrieve the bike.
It was all road back to my car at Loch Uisge above Kingairloch. For the first 6 miles it was walking back down the A861 alongside Loch Linnhe. I decided to divert down the old ferry road which passes through the nearby village of Clovullin. I popped into the local to buy some food and enquired why the bus from Lochaline had not run that morning. She said that it was half-term for two days – so no bus. Schoolboy error on my part I think!
The walk down the A861 was quite quiet, punctuated every 30 minutes by a small flurry of traffic as the Corran Ferry disgorged its occupants. At Inversanda I noticed a large bird fly gracefully overhead. At a distance I had always thought this type of bird would be a Buzzard. However, this bird was definitely a Golden Eagle and I was very happy as this was my first confirmed sighting of one. Soon after, I turned off the A861 down the even quieter B8043 which hugs the shoreline of Loch Linnhe for most of the way. I catch a final glimpse of the mountain Garbh Bheinn, a superb hill, west up Glen Tarbert.
The walk along the B8043 was very easy and I managed to fix my rucksack to the bike and push it along. I had beautiful views across and down Loch Linnhe. All of the high hills were cloud-free and I had a gentle breeze to keep me cool. I turned into the small loch inlet of Loch a’Choire and had an excellent view up Glenmadale to the twin Corbett peaks of Creach Bheinn and Fuar Bheinn, which I climbed back in 2008.
I arrived back at the car and started cooking my meal. Although I had brought my tent, I knew it would be more comfortable sleeping in the back of my estate car. The occupants of the car parked next to mine in the car park returned from the hill. We spoke at length and I learned they were staying in one of the Estate Cottages. As it was the stalking season I decided to call an Estate number to enquire about stalking activity the following day. I was advised to call back the following day.
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:
Distance today = 19 miles
Total distance = 3,139 miles