Not the most inspiring of walks with the weather was forecast to be overcast with heavy rain, coupled with doing some of the walk in the dark!
This was to be my last section in “filling the gap” caused by an injury six weeks before and the shortest walk of my three-day trip. The problem really was the public transport situation. The earliest time for a bus to/from my end point was about 11:00, which meant I would not be walking until 11:30. Although I could have completed the walk in the hours of daylight available, I did not want to be kicking my heels for 5 or 6 hours while I waited for a bus. So this is what I did.
I had slept in the back of the car at a small pull-in on the Bealach na Ba mountain road the night before and set my alarm for 05:00. It was pitch black when I set off down the road to Tornapress. I had brought my bike up on this trip in the event of public transport not being available. I chained the bike to snow gates and drove into Lochcarron. I set off from Lochcarron down the quiet cul-de-sac road to Ardaneaskan a 06:00. I expected the road to be very quiet at that time of the morning. For the first couple of miles there was street lighting although no pavement. I would not have been happy about walking along the main road in the dark, but I felt ok about walking along this road.
I was wearing my hi vis vest and a strobing head torch. I also carried a hand torch, with bright LED lighting if any traffic approached. I met only 3 cars throughout the entire length of the road and two of them were where there was street lighting. The rain started after about a mile down the road and would continue off and on for the rest of the day. At Port na Fearna, the street lighting ceased and I was in the dark. It would be another hour and a half before any reasonable daylight was available. I turned my strobe light to the energy-saving red light and continued on in the dark. I have always liked walking in the dark, at least along pavements or roads.
I passed through the hamlet of North Strome, nearby to where the ferry used to go to Stromeferry across the loch. As I walked along the road through the Old Scots pine plantation near Leacanashiel, I was able to switch my torch off. The public road ended at Ardaneaskan, by which time the greyness of the morning was apparent.
I headed up an Estate track and dropped down to Loch Reraig. I was heading North East now and followed the Reraig Burn. I was looking for a footpath sign that branched off from the Estate track after 1 km. I got to a point where I knew I had missed the sign for the footpath. I retraced my steps and found the sign albeit surrounded by high dying bracken. The footpath climbed gently over open moorland and down into Loch Kishorn to the village of Achintraid. I was back on a metal road and continued through the hamlet of Ardarroch which soon joined the A896 Kishorn road. I plodded along the main road for a couple of miles until I came to my chained up bike at Tornapress. I was rather relieved that the bike was still there, having been on show since 5:30 that morning.
I began the 6 mile cycle ride back to Lochcarron and to my surprise I only had to get off and push three times. As I arrived back in Lochcarron the bus which I originally had planned to take was departing for Tornapress, which made me feel pretty good. However, I still had the small section to walk from Strathcarron to Lochcarron, a few miles. This I did by cycling out and walking back…pushing my bike.
Not a great walk with few photo opportunities and poor light and heavy rain, but satisfying that I got the walk done in good time and had finally plugged a gap that had been bugging me.
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 = 16 miles
Total distance = 4,390 miles