I had planned to sleep in the back of the car close to the Lochaline ferry jetty, but bright lights and the hum of a nearby generator serving the Cal Mac ferry berthed up for the night, meant I would get little sleep. So I drove around to the deserted road to Kinlochteagus and parked in small Forestry Commission car park at Aoineadh Mor, close to the site of a village emptied in 1824 during the Highland Clearances.
The following morning I set off on my bike to cycle the 2 miles to the A884 road, park my bike and catch the 8:15 school bus #507 to Liddesdale. I was walking the route in reverse because of the public transport timings. The bus dropped me off at the end of the road to Laudale. I followed the public road alongside Loch Sunart for 2 miles, where it became a private road on the Laudale Estate. It was a very dark, grey and gloomy morning with a very gusty wind. I felt it would begin raining at any moment, but true to the forecast, it never did.
When I reached Laudale House a polite notice asked walkers pass around the house via the shore route. I rejoined the main road track which snakes its way north-west along Loch Sunart. I could make out Strontian, Resipole and Salen across the loch and the area where I would be walking on my next trip. I pass a recently forested section and pass some diversion signs for Walkers walking the Coffin Track. At Rubha aird Earnaich, Loch Sunart turns to the south-west and I continue to follow the Estate track for another 4 miles. The track is in good condition and appears to have vehicles driving up it. I am only offered some glimpses of the Loch as the foliage, which although turning brown is still extensive.
I make good time as I enter the Glencripesdale Estate and come across a Landrover heading towards me. I chat to the Keeper, who says my intended route up to the Bealach Sloc an Eich (below Beinn Ghormaig) was in a bad way with a great deal of blown over trees. He said a couple of blokes who came over that way last year, said it was very difficult to find any path. He offered an easier, quicker(?) but longer route on one of the Estate roads which would go all the way to Kinlochteagus (where I was heading). I had a quick think and set off in the direction he suggested. He was going 3 miles up the same road to do some work and offered me a lift which I politely refused. I was slightly uncomfortable in that this route would be going off my map, but I persevered. Almost an hour later I met up with the chap again and he gave me the final pointer, which was quite straightforward. However, I did have second thoughts about this route, due to its up and down nature and the fact I had climbed far more in height and walked some 3 extra miles than my original route. I was now heading for the Bealach to the right of the hill that was now dominating my view – Beinn Iadain (571m). Beinn Iadain is a striking hill with its prominent rock bands of basalt and Upper Cretaceous sandstones, shales and mudstones.
For Shills: I first thought this hill was the one Rounsfell wrote about in his recent report …… although the report was about Beinn na h-Uamha (some 110m lower than Beinn Iadain). Its quite amazing how similar in shape, aspect and geology these two hills which sit just two miles apart.
I emerge from the forest and climb a deer fence to pass from the Glencripesdale Estate over into The Rahoy Estate. Its all downhill now as I follow the Estate track down to the isolated hamlet of Kinlochteagus, with its scattering of cottages. I still have almost 2 miles to walk back up the road to the car park at Aoineadh Mor.
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 = 21 miles
Total distance = 3,216 miles