Day 66: 28 May 2014; Invergarry to Kinloch Hourn
|Wed 28 May 2014
|Start to end time
|Route miles left
|Route ft left
|Overcast and dull most of the day; sunny evening. Humid, very little wind. Abpout 16C
|Today’s location (the red cross in a circle shows where I am at the moment)
|GPX based track of today’s walk (click here to access to access downloadable file)
This update is brought to you courtesy of a satellite uplink..
“Today was the third of the four “big days”, post-West Highland Way. It involved a 25 mile road walk from Invergarry to the very remote hamlet of Kinloch Hourn – the “dead-end” of the road, with nothing but sea and mountains beyond. As it turned out, as with many of the events that I’ve expected to be challenging for straightforward reasons – in this case the sheer length of the walk – it was challenging but not in quite the way I’d expected. In fact the hardest part of the day was right at the start – in getting up and packing away my gear.
I could see the midges massing themselves outside the fly-screen in my tent, and they went on the attack the moment I stepped out. Despite full protective gear, they were truly awful – probably the worst I’ve ever experienced. There were clouds of them everywhere (to the extent that when I unpacked my bag this evening, a large number, which I’d transported with me from the start, flew out again).
I packed and got moving as quickly as I could – once you’re walking, the slight breeze you create seems to dispel them, I kept my insect-proof gear on for as long as I could stand it – rapidly becoming drenched in sweat and discovering that Gore-tex is actually about as breathable as a hermetically sealed plastic bag.
The majority of the walk was along a narrow single track road which skirted loch Garry and then Loch Cuaich, both of which are reservoirs linked to hydroelectric schemes. The going was straightforward, and what little traffic there was on the road soon dropped away, and I pretty much had the road to myself.
Despite the overcast and generally rather gloomy skies, it slowly brightened up and the views, particularly to the remote mountains to the west, became increasingly impressive. The road got lonelier and lonelier, as the views got better and better. Along the way I encountered engineers building additional hydroelectric schemes; smaller ones, to complement the main one attached to Loch Cuaich.
The reservoirs themselves were pleasant enough to look at, but they do have a slightly unnatural look, with stark shorelines eroded as the water levels go up and down. They are definitely a reminder that hydroelectricity does come at a bit of an environmental price. I’m staying tonight at a B&B – café at the head of Kinloch Hourn. It’s a real gem and although it’s only 2 days since my last B&B I don’t feel too guilty about it, having walked 53 miles in the interim.
Tomorrow is the last of these 4 “big days” – the remote trek over the mountains to Shiel Bridge. I reckon it will take about 7 hours, bit will be making an early start, to allow plenty of time. So an early night tonight beckons!”