I had spotted a weather window which offered a three-day dry spell with light winds and looking reasonably warm for the Gairloch area. I then decided to try my luck with local accommodation in and around Gairloch, as being stuck in the back of a car or in a tent for three nights was not very appealing. I searched on the AirBnB site and was surprised to find a number of reasonably priced accommodation. I selected “Bob’s Place” which was newly listed on AirBnB and based in the centre of Gairloch. Bob is a keen and avid walker, and enjoys both high and low-level walks; so much so that he recently relocated to Gairloch from his Bristol home. Bob has accumulated an amazing volume of walking kit and equipment which is well on a par with any reasonably stocked Tiso Store! I had my own room at Bob’s Place for two nights at a fantastic rate.
The Gairloch area unfortunately does not have the best transport links, but with my bicycle, a school bus and a lift from Bob I could make a serious stab at getting to Poolewe after three days of walking.
I drove up the day before and reached the car park at Incheril, Kinlochewe , where I slept in the car for the night. The place was empty again and I had a quiet night. I set my alarm for 08:00, but it was still quite dark when I looked out of the window, so I drove very slowly down Loch Maree waiting for it to get lighter. I arrived in Gairloch and parked at the Community Hall.
As soon as it was just about light to begin walking safely, I set off. I popped into the local McColls shop to get a coffee and continued along the A832 pushing my bike. Because no public transport runs out to Red Point I was going to have to do an out-and-back, using my bicycle for the return leg.
Gairloch is quite a strung-out community and merges into another local settlement of Charlestown. I enjoyed walking on a good footpath alongside the main road to the far edge of Charlestown, although the road was not particularly busy at 8:45 in the morning. After Charlestown I was walking along the verge for a few miles until the turn off for the B8056 which pointed me across a bridge over the River Kerry and on to Red Point.
I soon arrived at the small hamlet of Shieldaig, confusingly spelt the same as the Torridon Sheildaig and with its own Loch. I got superb views over Loch Shieldaig back towards Gairloch. I climbed out of Shieldaig and followed Loch Bad a’Chrotha, which had originally been dammed, but was now breached at its western end to allow outfall from the Loch. I descended into another village, Badachro with its own popular Inn and jetties offering shelter to yachts and boats. I climbed out of Badachro and followed the shoreline of the freshwater loch of Loch Bad na h-Achlaise. I then passed through a series of widespread settlements with a range of white houses scattered either side of the small single tracked road. I passed through Port Henderson, Opinan and South Erradale.
The road rose again for the final time before dropping down to Red Point. I had excellent views looking east towards the Flowerdale mountains, south-west across to Rona and Skye. Although I had occasional patches of blue sky, the sun did not make an appearance all day. At Red Point I simply turned around and began cycling back to Gairloch, where I arrived back at 14:45 with the light disappearing fast.
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 = 13 miles
Total distance = 4,472 miles