It was a very windy and wet night which continued through to early morning. The original forecast had been for heavy rain throughout the day, but reading the Mountain Weather forecast, that Tony had printed out, it seemed that the rain and wind would ease later on. Both couples, also staying at the B&B, intended to continue on along Loch Hourn, one couple heading to Inverie and the other just to Barrisdale. We all had ate breakfast together and none of us fancied venturing out into the pouring rain! I decided to make the first move and prepared myself for the off. As I stepped outdoors after bidding my farewells, the sun came out!!
I continued on a short distance to the end of the public road with a footpath continuing on alongside Loch Hourn. Personally I had always thought the walk-in to Knoydart from Kinloch Hourn was a sort of Rite of Passage for all serious hillwalkers, so I was really glad to be getting this particular monkey off my back! It was turning out to be a beautiful morning now with the sun out and great views up Loch Hourn to the snow-capped peak of Ladhar Bheinn. However, there was still an awful lot of surface water still about and all of the burns were in full and in spate. However, I only encountered one particular crossing that required some thought, careful footwork and good balance. I also soon met the first people heading towards Kinloch Hourn, a young couple on the Cape Wrath Trail.
It took me almost 3 hours to get to Barrisdale, although I was in no particular hurry. As I turned into Barrisdale Bay the full force of the wind hit me, which I had been sheltered from since leaving Kinloch Hourn. I passed the farm and bunkhouse in Barrisdale and stayed on the path that led to the Mam Barrisdale. Although this path climbed gradually it was still tough going up to the bealach at 450m. When I reached the top of the Mam Barrisdale I recalled when I last stood there, some 15 years ago when I climbed the Munro’s in this area. I dropped down the well constructed stalkers path which dropped down gently into Gleann Dubh Lochain. By the time I reached the loch the path had become a landrover track.
I followed the track towards the Brocket memorial, where Gleann Meadail joined the track from the left. As I approached Inverie the promised showers arrived. I got myself checked into the Foundation bunkhouse and then went in search of some beer to buy from the Community shop in Inverie. I wanted to get a couple of beers for ‘Becs’, the American student who had kindly given me her last beer a few weeks back when I arrived late at the bunkhouse.
Back at the bunkhouse I spoke to some of the volunteers from the John Muir Trust who were currently clearing Rhododendron bushes and doing path maintenance. One of the ladies was trying to change her ferry to get on the first ferry the following day; it seems it had been reported on the Western Isles website that some of the later ferries would be cancelled due to high winds. This alarmed and confused me, as the weather forecast had winds subsiding the next day. This development threw me into turmoil and led to me not getting much sleep that night, trying to reorganise my plans for 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 = 14 miles
Total distance = 3,699 miles