195. Achateny to Achosnich

It had been late October since my last visit to Scotland due to a number of frustrating reasons. I had even opened up a “second front” continuing south from Berwick-Upon-Tweed down the Northumbrian coast. This trip would hopefully see off almost all of the Ardnamurchan section on the Ardgour peninsula. Although I did not achieve my 2017 goal of getting to Mallaig by Christmas, I have now set myself new goal for 2018 by reaching  Cape Wrath by December. This will be a significant milestone hopefully  having completed the whole of the West coast of Scotland, including Skye.

I had travelled up the day before in order to get a reasonable nights sleep in the back of the car. I managed to catch the penultimate Corran ferry on Sunday evening and drove on towards Kilchoan. I parked in a small car park 7 miles from Kilchoan. That night I got out of the car to have a look at the night sky. Wow! It was probably one of the best views I have ever had of the Milky Way. I don’t think I have ever seen such a night sky with so many stars! Although it was a freezing night (-6deg coming over Rannoch Moor) it was not unduly cold in the back of the car.

In the morning I set off very early to drive to Achosnich to park the car. I then walked back down the road to Kilchoan. This meant re-tracing part of my previous route that I did last October. I waited at the Spar shop in Kilchoan to catch the 7:50 bus #506 for the short journey to the Achateny road end.

It was light when I got off the bus and started walking towards Achateny. The view north was quite amazing with the snow-capped peaks of Rum and the Cuillins dominanting and drawing the eye for the majority of this walk. In addition , although clear of snow, was Eigg and Muck which were the closest islands to the north. Although the sun was out, it was a bitterly cold day, made worse by a strong easterly wind, which fortunately, was at my back for most of the day. I passed by the small hamlet of Achateny and continued along the public road to another small settlement at Fascadale. Here the public road ended and I picked up a rough track and continued westwards. Although the ground was frozen in most places, I got the impression that this area would be very wet to walk over in warmer temperatures.

Looking across to the snow-capped peaks of Rum with Eigg on the right
Looking into the far distance at the snow-capped peaks of the Cuillins on Skye, Eigg is left
Early morning sunlight on the Rum peaks
Looking across to Eigg from Fascadale

The track, what there was of it, disappeared after a couple of miles heading SE down Glen Drian. I picked up feint deer tracks and headed WSW over boggy ground. I soon spotted Sanna in the distance.  After I passed the old ruined  settlement of Plocaig, I managed to cross a large burn that was too wide to jump. I then had to negotiate quite a large bog, which meant weaving my way in and out to try to get myself to the road. The public road ends at Sanna and in summer it is quite a popular place because of the white beaches. Today the place was quite deserted. I spent some time studying an Info board describing the unique  geology of the area in the shape of the volcanic ring dykes and  calderas that exist close by. I must admit I had forgotten the term Eucrite (a type of slow-cooled Gabbro) which form most of the extrusions in the area.

I picked up a reasonable track which gradually disappeared as I made my way to the next hamlet of Portuairk. I walked through Portuairk heading for the last house of the public road, which had a footpath leading up and behind the houses. Climbing above Portuairk I had a beautiful back towards Sanna and with a backdrop of the Small Isles of Eigg, Muck and Rum and Canna. I was now heading towards  the B8007 which would take me onto Ardnamurchan Point. However, I first had to get around a caravan sites which had a deer fence all the way around it, topped with barbed wire and a locked entrance gate, also with a coil of barbed wire along its top. I chose to walk around the site, which resembled a Stalag Luft POW camp. On reaching the road I now had an out and back over 4 miles to the lighthouse.

The route ahead westwards across trackless terrain
Approaching Sanna with the Isle of Coll in the far distance
The ruined settlement of Plocaig
A deserted Sanna
White sandy beaches at Sanna, the Isle of Muck is centre left
Approaching Portuiark
Looking back at Portuiark and Sanna

Ardnamurchan Point is popularly known as the most western point of mainland Britain. However, the actual location for the most westerly point on mainland Britain is Corrachadh Mòr, lying a mile to the south of Ardnamurchan Point. I visited the lighthouse, which has a visitor centre; but it was closed and there was not a soul in sight. I retraced my steps along the B8007 and continued onto Achosnich.

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=23978

Stalag Luft IV caravan park
Approaching Ardnamurchan Point
The granite lighthouse at Ardnamurchan Point
Jacob sheep at Grigadale

Distance today = 18 miles
Total distance = 3,464 miles

 

 

 

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2 thoughts on “195. Achateny to Achosnich”

  1. Hi Ruth, I sometimes get frustrated with the quality of my photographs. I have a Nikon Coolpix S33 which is cheap and cheerful. But in low light and for distance views my photos become very grainy. I think I will get a better camera sometime this year.
    I must admit I prefer to walk in colder weather, as you can generally get warm by fast walking or adding additional layers; as opposed to a scorching hot day where, well you can only go down to your skin.
    Walking in the pouring rain for multiple days is not much fun, but my main concern is the road conditions. Having the “second front” on the east coast and my re-doing the Devon/Cornwall ferries gives me options where to walk each month.

    Like

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