Day 70: 01 Jun 2014; Strathcarron to Kinlochewe

Day 70: 01 Jun 2014; Strathcarron to Kinlochewe
Walk descriptor LEJOG2014 Day 70
Date Sun 01 Jun 2014 Start to end time 06h 32m
Start point Strathcarron End point Kinlochewe
Miles today 18.85 Cu miles 1,288.24
Ft today 2,061 Cu ft 180,440
Route miles left 218.18 Route ft left 24,652
Today’s weather Overcast, drizzly and humid most of the day. Brighter in late afternoon. Light Southe Westerly breeze. About 15C
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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)

“The trouble with walking north east when you’ve got a light south westerly breeze behind you is that it enables anything in the atmosphere to travel effortlessly along with you. In my case this morning that was midges, and as I set off from Strathcarron, I soon found myself immersed in my own private bubble of pain. I hoped that either wind would pick up so the midges would overtake me, or die down, so I would leave them behind as I walked. But neither happened so I had to don protective gear again, and sweat it out till I reached a suitably windy spot later in the walk, where, finally, they were blown away.

Midges aside, today’s walk was a pleasant and reasonably straightforward excursion over the hills to Kinlochewe, though the overcast skies and general murk mean the views weren’t as spectacular as they have been over the last few days. And the walk had a bit of a sting in the tail – and also a bit of a whatever the opposite of a sting in the tail is called, too.

As I was walking along the banks of the Carron river, I spotted a herd of red deer. Other walkers I’d met spoke of seeing “hundreds” of deer, but these were the first I’ve encountered. Their numbers are, actually, a bit down on normal as a result of last winter’s weather. A local had told me that many had perished in the mild wet weather – deer apparently find it harder to cope with the wet than with cold snowy weather.

The route I’d plotted after the river headed up into forestry commission woodland, before aiming for the Coulin Pass. I immediately hit the first obstacle – the path was closed due to “ongoing forestry operations” (i.e. chopping trees down) so I was forced to take an alternative route. Fortunately the diversion was well signposted and reasonably clear on the ground, so it didn’t cost me too much time.

Once over the pass, I descended to the Ghairbhe valley and then down the single track road to Kinlochewe. On the way down, I was treated to spectacular views of Ben Eighe and Liathach – beautiful and imposing bulks, brooding on the skyline. Again, the road walking was easy, and the road itself was fairly quiet. I prefer to walk on paths in the hills if I can, but now I’m quite keen to complete the hike as quickly and painlessly as possible, so rather more road-walking than normal features in my itinerary.

In Kinlochewe, there is a nice caravan park which advertises itself as not accommodating tents. There is a rough semi-wild camp for tents (i.e. a field with a tap) two miles further up the road at Taagan, and that was where I’d planned to spend the night. But on passing the caravan site I thought I’d take a chance and see if they happened to have anywhere I could pitch my tent. And lo and behold they did – there are five spaces for 1 man tents (which they don’t advertise) and I got one of them. So I had 2 miles less to walk today, 2 miles less tomorrow, 2 miles less to the pub this evening, and hot showers to boot. This was the “opposite of the sting in the tail” to the day. What’s not to like!

The sting in the tail, though, is that I have just realised that my destination for tomorrow, the Dundonnell Hotel, is not the “Dundonnell Ho” shown on my map. The “Ho” stands for “House” not “Hotel” and the “Ho” I want is 2 miles further on. Just as well I saved 2 miles today, then!”

Today’s photos (click to enlarge)
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The fishing spots on the River Carron all have their own names. “Big Anne” obviously held a special place in the affections of whoever named this particular one! At Achnashellach railway station. This tiny line conencts Inverness and Kyle of Lochalsh and takes visitors to the Isle of Skye. Today, being Sunday, it was quiet but the “waiting room” provided a great bit of shelter to have lunch!
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Rhododendrons grow in profusion on the hillsides. Beautiful, but just like Giant Hogweed, a foreign introduction which has become a pest, as it chokes out native wildlife Looking down towards Ben Eighe from the Coulin Pass
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Native Scots Pines growing near Coulin. When you see them in serried etiolated ranks in forestry commission woodland, you cometimes forget that, if left to theoir own devices, they can grow into “proper” trees, too Farm at Coulin – this is available to rent, apparently, as a holiday cottage. Stunning views
Panorama over the Torridon hills – Liathach in centre left, Ben Eighe to the right
The previous day’s blog follows below the blue line
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