251. Aultbea to Poolewe

My first walking trip of 2019! I spotted some reasonably decent weather of about three days and set off for the North West of Scotland. However, before I set off I had to sort my accommodation out and plan my walking sections within the constraints of diminished daylight hours and public transport availability. I used AirBnB again and manged to find a single room in a cottage in Laide, with Tania as my host. At circa £20 a night, you can’t get a bunkhouse for that in some places. I should say that Tania was a terrific and welcoming host.

The daylight and transport situation meant that any long walking sections was out. These three days would be short walks, within the logistics of getting the sections done safely and without  busting a gut. The good news was that although I had brought my bicycle along I would not be needing it on this trip.Hooray for public transport.

I drove up on a Tuesday afternoon and headed for Inverness. By the time I refueled at Tesco it was already 20:00. Because I was catching a bus from Poolewe the following morning, I went via the Incheril car park in Kinlochewe where I stayed the night in the back of the car. Although it was cold overnight there had not been a hard frost.  The following morning I drove onto Poolewe and parked up. I caught the 08:00 #700 Westerbus, which took me the short distance up the A832 to Aultbea.

Aultbea is situated at the nape of another peninsular that juts out into The Minch. I could have added a few extra miles to the days walk, but this would have meant re-doing part of the walk on subsequent days.I got off the bus at the pier in Aultbea and started walking back down the road. It was just beginning to get light, but I still needed my hi-vis vest and flashing strobe head torch.

The whole area around Loch Ewe has many reminders of the role it played during the Second World War as the congregation point for the Russian Arctic Convoys. Not all naval activity has disappeared though from the Loch, as there still remains a Nato re-fuelling depot at Aultbea, which is linked to the nearby Oil Pipeline Agency oil storage tanks.

The road down to Poolewe was very quiet, with only the occasional vehicle passing. I was rewarded with excellent views into the Fisherfield, with the  hills of  a’Beinn Airigh Charr, Beinn Lair, Beinn a’Chaisgein Mor and A’Mhaighdean each showing a light dusting of snow. I dropped down to Loch Thurnaig and soon arrived at the National Trust gardens of Inverewe. With this being a quite shortish walking day I should have maybe visited the gardens as I am a Scottish NT member. After Inverewe a pavement soon appeared and I was soon back at the car in Poolewe. I then drove the short distance to Laide where my Airbnb room awaited.

Early morning light in Aultbea
Looking back down to Aultbea
Looking down on the Nato re-fuelling depot with the Isle of Ewe in the background
Looking south the murky Torridonian hills
The hills of Beinn Lair, Meall Mheinnidh and a’Beinn Airigh Charr
A few of the many WW2 buildings which surround Loch Ewe
Approaching Poolewe
Crossing over The River Ewe which drains Loch Maree

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=24453

Distance today =  8 miles
Total distance = 4,507 miles

 

4 thoughts on “251. Aultbea to Poolewe”

  1. Happy New Year and glad to see you are back up on the coast. I wish I could just go on a whim as you can, when the weather looks good, but with work commitements mean I can’t sadly. Still glad to hear you had a nice walk and I too was pleased to find there is a bus along this part of the coast – and from your experience that it does indeed run too!

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  2. Well done for your first walk of 2019. Hope you don’t get too cold sleeping in your car. I’m looking forward to taking The Beast up north again – but its heating system is very erratic and rarely works, so I’m waiting for warmer nights and longer days!

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    1. Hi Ruth, its been uncommonly warm in Scotland, so far this year. In winter I use a Vango Nitestar 450 sleeping bag, its comfy down to -15c. My main criteria, weatherwise, for making the journey north in the winter, is about snow (at low level), icy driving conditions, wind and rain. As long they are not too extreme then I will travel.

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