Todays walk was out of sync due to transport constraints. The weekly bus service from Gairloch to Ullapool run by Graham Nash coaches, only runs each thursday, so to avoid having to cycle to the start/end point I opted to walk this section out of turn.
The cottage I was staying at was only a stone’s throw away from the Post Office/Stores/Petrol station in Laide and also where the bus normally stops. As I was waiting for the 9:40 #707 bus to take me down the road to Badcaul, a farmer was driving his large flock of sheep up the road. They passed onto the main road, which fortunately was quite quiet. When the flock was about 100m away I noticed one of the sheep had snook away and was hiding behind a car by the general stores. I shouted up to the farmer that he had left one behind, he shouted back that he would come back for it. After 5 mins he reappeared with another chap and I assisted these two in trying to round the stray sheep up. Well three blocks trying to catch a sheep was never going to work! The sheep dog that had passed me by earlier had disappeared. As I was keeping half-an-eye out for the bus, that was due imminently, I noticed the whole flock coming back down the main road unattended! As the bus passed through the flock I was quite glad to be away from the this, but it was quite funny. The talk on the small mini-bus was about the oil Rig which was moored off Greenstone Point and a number of conflicting theories as to why it was there.
I got off the bus at the Badcaul road end. Although it was quite grey and overcast the view down Little Loch Broom from the elevated road was impressive. The first few miles of the walk were along a quiet road that ran out to the remote hamlet of Badlaurach, where the public road ended. I had excellent views across Little Loch Broom to Scoraig and it’s almost hidden lighthouse set amongst some trees. I could also see the impressive Summer Isles at the mouth of Loch Broom.
After leaving the public road I followed an ATV track that soon disappeared. The going was not that bad, if a little wet, but the slope was gentle and I made good time out to Stattic Point. I rounded the small hill of Carn Dearg Ailein and had good views across Gruinard Bay towards the Oil Rig moored off Greenstone Point. I could hear the dull thud of the engines of the accompanying tugs.
As I passed below the crags of Carn Dearg an Droma I spotted two large Sea Eagles above me circling the crags. I was unable to get a decent photograph of the birds for a number of reasons. I headed for Bagh Mhungasdail and then the A832 at Mungasdale. The A832 was very quiet and it was actually quite pleasant to walk along it, as I made the long walk around Gruinard Bay. Most of the topography around Gruinard Bay is very ‘gnarly’ with lots of steep rocky summits. I crossed over a bridge which spanned the River Gruinard and I remembered parking there back in 2012 when I did a tough walking day into The Fisherfield Forest.
I passed close to the sandy beach at Little Gruinard Bay before the steep climb up to Creag Mhor. The view back down to Gruinard Bay was quite amazing, although as I passed over the top a squally shower blew in and obscured the view somewhat. I then passed through the strangely named Second Coast and First Coast hamlets, the meaning and derivation of which is difficult to find. The rain finally disappeared on the last two miles into Laide.
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 = 4,521 miles