264. Stoer to Gleann Ardbhair

 

I saw a potential weather-window opening up for 7 days which I decided to go for. Its getting a real long way up north to drive, so I decided now was the time to try and get the west coast of Scotland completed. With some rough planning I could see that I could maybe make Cape Wrath and even walk out to Durness. But before that I had three tough days of walking before I could begin my final onslaught.

Again I drove up during the preceding day and reached near Inchnadamph where I pulled over and slept in the back of the car. Since leaving Inverness I had been listening to the Liverpool v Barcelona game on the radio. A pulsating game and by the time I had reached Inchnadamph, Liverpool had won the game!

In preparation for the first days walk I had to call Rapson’s motors and arrange to be picked up at the Viewpoint in Drumbeg at 06:50 . I was quite surprised to Kenny from Lochinver driving the bus. Kenny was the accordion playing “star” in the film Edie and had driven me a few times on my previous trip. We did not have long to chat as the distance to Stoer village hall was only about 7 miles. I bid Kenny goodbye and continued down a narrow road heading through the small settlement of Balchladich. I turned off down a farm rack and re-joined the minor road a few miles further on and continued on towards the lighthouse at Stoer.

The early morning sunshine was very nice with superb views across The Minch to Lewis and south down to Applecross and Trotternish on Skye. The lighthouse car park was quite busy with about 8 motorhomes. I set off along a good track above the cliffs towards the Old Man of Stoer (A columnar sea stack). The path was very dry underfoot and although I had my walking boots in my rucksack I continued to use my NF Hedgehog trail shoes for the rest of the day.

After a few miles of walking the Old Man of Stoer made an appearance. I headed towards The Point of Stoer and then veered east and south towards the gentle slopes of Sithean Mor. The summit trg point provided a great 360 degree panorama. Unfortunately most the Assynt hills were still in cloud. I then headed  SE towards a track running alongside Loch Ciul Fraioch. I continued onto a road through the settlement of Culkein. I soon left the road and proceeded around the small hill of  Meall an Tulaich and then a small bay called Port Achnancarnan. I passed around a few more small headlands before arriving at the settlement of Clashnessie. Here I re-joined the B869 and the NC500. I knew this because I could see, either direction, a motorhome followed by four cars in tow. The less said about the five miles into Drumbeg the better, although the scenery was stunning.The road was very busy with a regular flow of motor homes, vans, cars and motor bikes….lots of them!

At Balchladich
Looking back with Suilven out of cloud
The lighthouse at Stoer
Heading along the Stoer peninsular
The Old Man of Stoer
Looking towards Suilven and Cul Mor from Sithean Mor
Near Port Achnancarnan
Old ruins near Achnacarnin
Clashnessie beach

No public transport runs east of Drumbeg, so I decided to do an out and back to Gleann Ardbhair, using my bike and walking. The road was very ‘twisty and turney’, with large drops and steep rises. Having the bike on this section was difficult because of the narrowness of the road and the difficulty of traffic to pass me when I was cycling.. I was accompanied along this section of road by my first cuckoo’s of the year. The late afternoon saw the arrival of wet and windy weather which was in for the rest of the evening. After returning to Drumbeg and my car I set off towards Scourie where I was booked into the campsite for two nights.

On the road to Drumbeg
“Sky Hook” lifting deer fence posts to difficult terrain
Looking down into Gleann Ardbhair

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=24540

 

Distance today =  22 miles
Total distance = 4,786 miles

 

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