The first problem I had with writing this TR was what to title it! Probably the correct format should have been “Beinn nam Ban Bealach Circular via Beinn Ghobhlach”, a bit of a mouthful and maybe not the most ‘catchiest’ of title captions! So I settled for “Scoraig Circular” which sounds much better.
The Scoraig peninsular is a thin finger-like piece of mainland that separates Little Loch Broom from Loch Broom. It extends some distance out into The Minch and is guarded on its eastern side by the Graham – Beinn Ghobhlach. Beinn Ghobhlach had been on my radar for some time and although only 635m, it sits close to the sea and therefore offers quite expansive views all around.
I drove up to a small pull-in close to the bealach below Beinn nam Ban. Because this was to be a circular walk, I would be returning to the car from here. Most people walking on to Scoraig or climbing Beinn Ghobhlach would park in the small hamlet of Badrallach, located at the end of the public road. However, I could see that I would be losing a considerable amount of height in descending down into Badrallach. Instead I opted to head due west across open and rising moorland towards Sail Chruaidh, which sits on a broad ridge. This would enable me to visit another Marilyn – Cnoc a’Bhaid-rallaich on my way to Beinn Ghobhlach.
It was a beautiful still and sunny morning when I set off across the open moorland. With the sun at my back I made good progress over the gently rising ground. The going underfoot was wet, but not too boggy. After a few miles I reached slightly steeper and drier ground. I arrived at the summit of the Marilyn – Cnoc a’Bhaid-rallaich some 1.5 hours after setting out. The views although extensive had a thin haze which reduced the visibility somewhat. However, I could easily make out my next objective Beinn Ghobhlach.
I descended down grassy/rocky slopes to the bealach between the two hills. The bealach was strewn with large “groughs” , bogs and peat hags which I had to pick my way through. I arrived at the summit Beinn Ghobhlach at about 11:30 in the morning. The wind had picked up to a stiff breeze and was bitterly cold, this necessitated me to don my walking jacket. Views were restricted again due to the haze. I looked down towards Ullapool, which was easily visible, and could see the Cal Mac ferry making its way down Loch Broom bound for Stornoway. I did not linger too long on the summit because of the cold, I retraced my steps and headed down into Coire Dearg. Once I was clear of the jumble of rocks in the Coire I set off down a long gentle ridge that formed the spine of the Scoraig peninsular for most of its length. The underfoot conditions were not too bad as I passed along Carn na Abrach. I could see in the far distance the small lighthouse in Scoraig which I was heading for.
I crossed a deer fence and continued over a small hill called Carn Achaidh Mhor where I picked up a rocky ATV track, this track connected Scoraig with the small hamlet of Archmore on the Loch Broom side. I followed the track into Scoraig and visited the lighthouse, which had long since outlived its usefulness as a lighthouse, since it was now surrounded by tall trees. However, the small lighthouse now has an alternative use – as an exhibition centre, albeit quite tiny! I opened the small iron doors of the lighthouse to reveal a small room with a series of info boards on the wall depicting life in the Scoraig community. I recently read a small piece on the BBC website about Scoraig, the link is below
As Scoraig and the rest of the peninsula has no public roads, provisions and other essential items are either brought over Little Loch Broom by boat from Badlaurach or on foot along the 5 mile footpath from Badrallach
I sat on a curious seating area which had sayings, proverbs, idioms etc written into the fired bricks it was made of. It was very warm now and I was aware I had a long walk back to the car. I could see that a few vehicles had been brought over to the peninsula, but the ‘main road’ was merely a dirt track which I was now walking along eastwards to Badrallach. Living ‘off grid’ meant that the community had to generate their own power, mainly through a profusion of small wind turbines, which were now turning at speed in the stiff breeze.
I met a couple of other walkers who had walked in from Badrallach who were just visiting for the day. It was not long before the dirt road became a footpath, as I passed through a gate and onto to the footpath proper to Badrallach. The footpath was very well constructed and passed around the steep crags at Creag a’Chadha where there were big drops, guarded by a fence, to the loch below. I eventually emerged at the hamlet of Badrallach, which was basically a strung out community of holiday lets, a camp site and some crofts.The last 2 to 3 miles along the road back up to the bealach and my car was tough going especially after my earlier exertions in the day. By the time I had reached the car the sky had clouded over, with ominous dark clouds forming over An Teallach. Fortunately by the time I had driven back to Ullapool the sun was back out.
A great days walk, especially the climb over Beinn Ghobhlach and the “Postmans Path” out from Scoraig.
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 = 17 miles
Total distance = 4,593 miles