After a good nights sleep we awoke to a beautiful morning, only slightly marred by the presence of midges which as soon as the wind dropped were out in force. Breakfast was taken against a stunning background and we were reluctant to break camp and start our walk to Barisdale. William did a bit of scouting to see if we could follow the shoreline now the tide was out while I busied myself striking camp.
As far as William could see there was a route around the loch side to take us to Kinloch Hourn. We set off along the narrow stony beach towards the headland in the distance. On arriving we saw that the water went up to the shoreline, so we scrambled up the hillside, pushing our way through the luxuriant vegetation clothing the hillside. We quickly gained height and found the track that leads to Kinloch Hourn, with some fantastic views.
With the steep scramble and the morning’s heat, we welcomed a cool drink from a mountain stream, filling our water bottles after gulping slugs of water.
The track gently made its way down to the collection of two or three houses which make up Kinloch Hourn. With the tide out we walked along the causeway.
Attached to one of the houses is a room containing a public pay – phone. There had been no mobile phone signal since leaving Shiel Bridge (and in fact there would nothing until we arrived off the boat at Malliag). I wanted to let Mary know that we were going to alter the route some what because I felt that William may not be able to walk all the way to Glenfinnan. During the trip I let Mary know we were OK with my Spot 2.
We made our way round the loch to the other side from where we started passing the small B&B near the car park. Although the weather was excellent and this was the Jubilee weekend there were only a few people about. Maybe 22 miles of travelling on the narrow, twisting road to this car park accounts for this.
A short stretch of tarmac gives way to the rocky path hugging the shoreline leading towards Barisdale.
Now some where I read that this is one of the world’s greatest coastal walks. I sure that there are more worthy candidates, but it is a particularly attractive route which gets more beautiful the further you head down the loch. One thing is certain; the map can look deceptive as the route appears quite gentle and the 7 or 8 miles to Barisdale you think you can easily do in a few hours, but there lies quite a bit of up and down between Kinloch Hourn and your camp for the night.
We met several people on the way, walking in the opposite direction. We stopped near a large wooden bridge after crossing the Allt Coire Mhicrail and coming towards us were the biggest packs I have ever seen. Two sets of couples with the blokes which I can only described as “beasts of burden” carrying their gear and their girlfriends gear as well. I noted that the girls had day packs and were sauntering along, whilst these “beasts of burden” puffed and panted as they edged up the hill towards us.
The sun was now lovely and strong enhancing the beautiful surroundings. After another ascent we stopped for lunch and then just laid out on some large slabs of rock, making the most of the good weather.
After lunch we carried on westwards, frequently stopping just to admire the stunning scenery, until the loch opened right up in both directions with a picture postcard view of the 3 little islands near to Barisdale Bay.
The path now dropped to sea level as we rounded the headland into Barisdale Bay, it was beautiful. How lucky you Scots are to have easy access to all of this and how senseless some of your countrymen are to want to despoil beautiful landscapes with industrialisation in the form of wind- farms. There are none here at the moment, it would a tragedy if any made here – I just cannot understand the Green lobby over this. A Joni Mitchell lyric came into my head ‘Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone’
Soon we came to a sign informing us where we should camp. I suppose we could have ignored the sign and legally camped anywhere, but I can understand the sentiment behind the request. We carried on and saw a flock of sheep, a few sunbathing on the beach:)
A short walk along the bay brought us to the campsite. This is not a campsite in any real organised sense. A few tents camped near to a bothy. £1 a night per person. William and I quickly set up camp and sorted out gear and our evening meal, settling down to some relaxation in the lovely evening sun. Once again the wind dropped later in the evening forcing us back into the tents. It was warm lying on my sleeping bag just watching the view and the slowly setting sun – a great end to a perfect day’s walking.