198. Lochailort to Mallaig

I was not really looking forward to this walk, as heavy rain all day was forecast, plus I would be doing more than half of the walk along the A830.

I caught the 7:10 #500 Shiel Buses service down the A830. The bus met up with the #502 service from Acharacle, which I had caught yesterday. It was even darker this particular morning, with heavy rain clouds threatening to discharge their load at any minute. I set off down the road with hi-vis jacket and strobes, lit up like a christmas tree! On my drive up yesterday I could see that apart from a 2km section, there would be a very good  roadside  verge to walk along – and so it turned out to be.

The poor light, strong winds and showery outbursts caused me to keep my head down and keep on the move. I passed over and under the railway line a number of times. I did not expect to see any trains, as the derailment last week  due to a landslide  at Loch Eilt further down the track was not repaired yet, or so I thought. I was therefore surprised later in the day to see trains travelling up and down the line.

My first notable location was the Loch nam Uamh railway viaduct, the central pillar of which contains a horse and cart that fallen backwards in the cavity during construction in 1899. A little further down the road I came across The Princes Cairn, the traditional spot, Bonnie Prince Charlie left Scotland for good in 1746, bound for France.

Up till this point the walking had been easy, with a large flat grassy verge to walk along when traffic approached. However, for about a mile, the verge disappeared leaving me to keep a careful eye open for traffic, which mercifully was very light. I passed Beasdale Station, situated in the middle of nowhere and continued down the road half a mile, where a proper footpath appeared. However, I would not be making use of this footpath, as I turned off the main road and followed the old drovers  road to Arisaig. The old drovers road was a joy to walk along. When I reached Arisaig I popped into the local shop which sold warm pasties and coffee, which I consumed with delight (the chippy in Mallaig was closed the previous evening!).

Loch nan Uamh viaduct – the large cenral pillar contains an entombed horse and cart
The Prince’s Cairn
A deserted Beasdale station
Drovers track into Arisaig

I stayed on the B8008 for the next six  or seven miles as it wove its way through the Back of Keppoch area and other small shoreline settlements. On a normal clear day I would have been rewarded with views across to Rum and Skye, but not today. Instead I could still make out the distinctive shape of Eigg, which now appeared behind my left shoulder, progress indeed!

The B8008 did eventually join up with the A830 at Morar close to the bridge over the River Morar. I opted to take the small loop through the village. A smaller bridge carries this old road also across the River Morar which was in full spate as Loch Morar disgorged huge volumes of water through the narrow gap. I soon joined up with the main road again, which continued for a further 2 miles into Mallaig. By the time I reached Mallaig, the heavy rain which was forecast was throwing itself down backed by gusty winds.

Back of Keppoch beach
Deserted boat house and toilets Traigh Beach
On the bridge over the River Morar, above waterfalls
At last – only a month late!

My attention now turned to my next walk, which would be into Knoydart and at another time.

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=23999

Distance today = 19 miles
Total distance = 3,519 miles

 

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