265. Gleann Ardbhair to Scourie

No public transport ran east of Drumbeg towards the A894 at Kylesku and only a seasonal bus further on from there. So it was looking like I was going to have to do and out and back with my bike, something I was not looking forward to. Kenny, the bus driver from the previous day had given me a name, Harvey, who apparently drove a school bus from Scourie to Drumbeg each day to collect children and ferry them back to the main road where they would get the main bus to Ullapool. I made some enquiries at The Anchorage, the cafe/bar attached to Scourie campsite, and got a phone number. I called and spoke to Harvey’s wife, who said a lift would be no bother and to be outside the campsite at 06:45 the following morning. Harvey duly arrived and we sped off along virtually deserted roads towards Drumbeg. I got off the bus above Gleann Ardbhair and bid Harvey goodbye, after he refused any offer of money, what a guy!

As I set off the morning was very sunny and still. I could see the mountains had had a fresh dusting of snow overnight. I followed the twisty/turney road towards the A894 at Kylesku. Mercifully the NC500 brigade had not risen yet which made the walk very enjoyable. I soon realised that I had not packed any water in my rucksack, which was a pain, as there would be no opportunities to buy water further ahead. The walk was only 17 miles which I thought I could manage ok?

As the twisty/turney road joined the main road I was afforded spectacular views up to gullies of Quinag, a mountain with superb views which I can vouch for having climbed the hill some 10 years ago. The main road was  quiet and had a flat and generous verge for most its way. I walked into the small hamlet of Kylesku, just off the main road, in the hope of buying some water, but no joy. I remember crossing over on the ferry from Kylestrome to Kylesku back in 1974; but today Kylesku has a superb bridge, which was built in 1984.

I continued up the A894 where the traffic began to slowly increase, with large groups of bikers completing the NC500. A few miles on from Kylesku a walker passed me on the opposite side of the road at speed. I was quite surprised and decided to hang onto his coat-tails which I barely managed to do! I was hoping he would going a good distance as he was a great ‘pacer’, so we continued on for a few miles withme  a couple of hundred meters back. Then he disappeared without trace….probably hiding from me. LOL. My pace slackened and my thoughts returned to getting hold of some water.
I had intended to make a couple of small diversions off the road, although there were few if any paths towards the coast and all stopped at dead ends. I was glad to reach Scourie. With a water supply now available I could have gone on, but with tomorrows walk starting off on a remote footpath, it would have been difficult and impractical to continue. I simply rested.

The twisty-turney road in Gleann Ardbhair
Looking east towards Quinag
The double buttresses of Quinag, Sail Gharbh (left) and Sail Ghorm (right)
Looking down Loch Glencoul with the Stack of Glencoul (centre)
Quinag from a tranquil Kylesku
Crossing the Kylesku Bridge
Looking towards Quinag over Loch a’Chairn Bhain
Looking back at the Kylesku Bridge
Some of the impressive road cuttings through Lewisian Gneiss
At Scourie looking across to a snow-capped Arkle

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=24544

Distance today =  17 miles
Total distance = 4,803miles

 

 

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3 thoughts on “265. Gleann Ardbhair to Scourie”

    1. Yes I wondered the same. Another coast walker perhaps. But it wasn’t me, it wasn’t you and I don’t think “helpful mammal” has quite got this far yet!

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  1. Ah I wondered how you’d do this walk. Durness Bus run a bus to Kylesku but only in the school summer holidays so I timed my walk for then. Well done on managing to find altnerative transport. There is meant to be a “Dial A Bus” service along the road from Drumbeg, but I was never able to get an answer on the number listed so gave up with it. As a result I did the walks from Kylesku to Drumbeg and Drumbeg to Clashnessie as “there and back” walks along the road, which was a bit tedious (and of course, doubles the mileage). The shop in Scourie is very useful, used it a few times. A bit late for you now but there is a hotel in Kylesku at the end of the dead-end road almost beneath the bridge. I imagine you could have got a drink there, but a bit late now for you! They do boat trips from there too into the loch.

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