384 Doirlinn (almost) to Kinlochteacuis

[This walk took place on the 29th of March, 2019]

There is a wide tarmac space at the end of the road to Kinlochteacuis, but a sign informs me it’s a turning area and I must NOT park there. So I turn round and drive back until I find a flat enough patch of grass to leave my car.

I walk back along the road towards the Loch, keeping an anxious eye on the black clouds ahead. Oh dear, it looks like another dismal day. I just hope I don’t get too wet.

Here’s the end of the public road, and the turning area. Tomorrow I will carry straight on, down a private road towards Loch Sunart, but today I’m turning left to walk along the shore of Loch Teacuis and get back to Doirlinn.

The track is flat and curves around the end of the loch, giving access to a couple of houses. From their shuttered looks, I guess they might be holiday homes.

After a mile, the track heads slightly inland and begins to climb.

Today is another there-and-back trek and, technically, my walk doesn’t begin until I reach Doirlinn, So I tell myself not to take photographs on the way out. But, with a dramatic light and a beautiful view across Loch Teacuis, I just can’t help taking a few shots.

Ah, a rainbow, and with a very low arch. Of course I must stop for another photograph.

I think it must be something to do with the latitude and the angle of the sun’s rays, but all the rainbows I’ve seen in Scotland tend to be rather flat. In fact, I saw a beautiful one across Loch Lomond on the way up here, but it’s arch was lower than the surrounding hills.

There is grey cloud ahead. In fact, I can’t even see the end of Loch Teacuis. There must be rain coming.

I put my head down and get a move on. No stopping for any more photographs.

The track becomes a path, and the path gets narrower and narrower, until – eventually, 5 or so miles later – it crosses a rickety bridge and ends, somewhat abruptly, at a bench. But the bench is situated in front of a curved fence, obscuring the view of the end of the loch.

How weird. Why would you sit on a bench to look at a fence? It takes me a while to realise the place is set up as a bird hide.

I peer out through the gaps in the fence. Can’t see any exciting birds, but I do spot some seals lying on a mud bank. They look as though they’re sunbathing. Shame there’s no sun..

I eat my picnic lunch, then use the bench to perch the camera for a self-portrait.

After that, it’s time to try to find a way through to Doirlinn, my end-point from yesterday.

I leave the hide and cross back over the rickety bridge.

The instructions on the Morvern Undiscovered web site mention heading for the ruins at Gleannaguda. Trouble is, I can’t see any ruins. Just a lot of silver birch and plenty of boggy wasteland.

Ah, suddenly I think I spot the route. There’s a wooden post and, beyond that, a vague little path leads off up the hill.

I follow the path, treading carefully because the ground is very uneven. Was this the way that other coasters came? How many walkers, exactly, does it take to make a path? I seem to remember not very many. Well, now my footsteps are contributing to the path too.

But, to my surprise, the ‘path’ ends in a boggy puddle. A deep puddle. Almost a little lake. Why on earth would walkers choose a route that goes through a patch of deep water? Doesn’t make sense… until the penny drops.

It’s not a human path, after all. It’s a deer path!

The deer obviously come to this pool to drink, and now I feel really foolish. I look around hoping to find another way forward, but all I see is thick undergrowth and patches of murky water. Oh dear. Dead end.

I turn back and spend the next few minutes worrying that I won’t be able to find my way back to the real path. The trouble with narrow paths is you can’t really see them until you stumble over them. Thank goodness I spot the wooden post again, and use it as a guide.

Here’s the path!

Further up the hill, I spot some stone walls just off to my right. I must have missed them on the way down, because I think these are the Gleannaguda ruins.

I check my map. From here, to get to Doirlinn, I would head north-northwest. It’s less than a kilometre away. I look around to see if I can spot a path. None. And I look at the hills ahead, because apparently I should make my way towards the hill called Torr na Doirinne. But, there seem to be lots of lumpy-looking hills.

Oh dear. I hesitate. I really, really don’t want to try to find a way over that rough landscape. But, if I don’t, then I won’t have joined up my walks and I’ll have broken my rule number three, – the rule that says I should start my next walk from the point I ended my last walk.

But… it just seems too difficult. And too dangerous. What if I fall into a deep bog and can’t get out? What if I twist an ankle or break a leg? What if… oh, dear. And I haven’t got a phone signal.

In the end, after a lot of dithering and several false starts, I abandon the idea of making my way back to Doirlinn. I will simply have to accept a 1 kilometre break in my otherwise continuous coastal trek.

It’s silly to feel so disappointed. After all, they’re my rules and I can break them if I want to, but I do feel very frustrated and cross with myself for being such a coward.

Onwards, then, back along the path. I go through a pretty grove of silver birch. Love these brave little trees that manage to grow where others daren’t put down roots. Braver than me.

Out from the trees, and I cross a patch of open land and pass through a deer fence. I never know which side of the fence the deer are supposed to be on. I haven’t met any today.

The path leads up to some high ground, with great views back down Loch Teacuis. Or, the views would have been great if I could see clearly. Shame about the weather.

On this ridge of high ground, I pass the remains of an old fire, and a flattened area. Has someone been camping here? Maybe another coaster?

Quintin Lake was the last coastal walker – that I know of – who came through here in December. Maybe he camped here?

Onwards. The path climbs up through a little valley, clinging close to moss-covered rocks and roots.

This is a lovely path, and I must forget my disappointment and enjoy the rest of the day.

Up high again, and through the trees is a view towards the entrance to Loch Teacuis. The Island of Carna – on the left of the photo below – sits across the mouth of the loch, creating two channels. I’m looking up the eastern one.

On a fine day, you would be able to see the hills of the Ardnamurchan Peninsula, but today everything in the distance disappears into a murky mist. Best to focus on closer objects, like this amazing piece of fungi clinging to the beautiful bark of an old tree.

The path begins to drop, slowly, down towards the shore again.

Ah, here’s a bench. I noticed it on the way up, and promised myself I would stop on the way back and make use of it. Time for a break and another snack.

From here onwards the walking is easy. The path widens into a grassy track…

… and then joins a much more substantial gravel track.

At the junction, a way marker sign tells me it is only 5 km to Kinlochteacuis. I’m nearly there.

The wide, gravel track has been built for logging vehicles, of course, and I soon come to a logged area. Mixed feelings. It’s good to grow our own timber, but I hate to see these spoiled areas of countryside.

Looking across the open space created by logging, and there’s the end of Loch Teacuis, framed by another one of those beautiful, low, Scottish rainbows.

I’m walking down into a forested area. Good. Nice to see trees actually growing again.

I spot another way marker. Still 4.5 kilometres to Kinlochteacuis. But, if I turned right here, I could get back to Drimnin via the post track. Ah. So this is the postal route I thought I might take yesterday when I planned a possible circular walk through Diorlinn.

Well, sadly, that postal route is no good to me now. I need to get back to Kinlochteacuis and my car. Onwards. I’m feeling tired now, but this is an easy track to walk along.

I come to a bridge over the Barr River, and here the track forks.

Hmm. This sign tells me that, if I follow the right hand fork, I can get to “Barr Farm and waterfalls”. Waterfalls? How lovely. And only 500 metres away.

I turn right, of course, and follow the new track along the side of the Barr River.

I walk past some ruins, with “KEEP AWAY” signs. Is this Barr Farm? Somehow, I was expecting more.

The road is running parallel to the river, but a little way away from it, and is slowly climbing. Where are these waterfalls. Surely I’ve come more than 500 metres? Perhaps they’re just around the next corner…

… well, they’re down there, somewhere. I can hear them, and spot white flashes of water through the trees. Good thing the branches are bare, or you wouldn’t be able to see the falls at all.

Actually, I feel a little disappointed. There’s no way to get a good view of the waterfalls with the trees in the way, but the road is now high above the river, and I can’t see a path down. Can’t get closer. Shame.

I turn round and head back down the track. The surface seems fairly new, and the gravel is rough and sharp under my feet, so I find the return hard going. Here I meet the first person I’ve met all day, driving past in one of those all-terrain vans. I wonder if he is a forestry worker? Or perhaps he came looking for waterfalls too?

Back down to the bridge…

… and then continuing along the track and through an area of tall trees. I don’t normally like walking through pine plantations – I find them a bit sterile and quite spooky – but these trees are majestic.

I’m back walking through birch and oaks, following a downhill curve. Ah, good, I can see the waters of the loch ahead.

This is lovely. Great views along the loch, as the track continues gently roller-coastering down the slope.

The main forestry track swings off to the right, and my track becomes more overgrown. Softer on the feet. I’m walking along beside the shore of the loch now.

Past the couple of houses. Near the end of the road.

And, here I am, back on the public road again. I stop to look at the sign that marks the start of the private road. It leads to the Rahov estate, and Kinlochteacuis and Kinloch, it says. This is the route I need to take tomorrow when I continue my walk.

Funny how I expected Kinlochteacuis to be a village, or at least a collection of houses. Turns out to be the name of a farm.

I turn right along the public road and head towards my car. The weather has been terribly dull all day, and now the sky ahead looks dramatic and dark.

In some ways it’s been a frustrating day, but I’ve had a lovely walk despite the disappointments, and I’m very thankful it hasn’t rained.

Miles walked today = 12 miles (but less than 6 in the right direction!)
Total around coast = 4,023.5 miles


About Ruth Livingstone

Walker, writer, photographer, blogger, doctor, woman, etc.
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20 Responses to 384 Doirlinn (almost) to Kinlochteacuis

  1. 829b says:

    I suppose we have all heard that the Scottish can be stingy, but stingy Scottish rainbows? Have you stopped using the campervan or is it too cold?


  2. Rita Bower says:

    Don’t be too hard on yourself for missing a small section, though I know how frustrating it is. Despite my best efforts, I’ve missed little bits, but I’ve also done lots of detours, which must make up for it (or so I tell myself!) I’m very impressed how you seem to find your way, despite numerous place names for the same spot & spurious paths… I think I may get very lost indeed, if I ever make it to Scotland!!
    Photos, as ever, are wonderful, despite the grey skies….

    • Hi Rita. Writing up this post reminded me of something I intended to do. I should go back and walk the connecting stretch of road between Lochaline and Kinlochteacuis. That would make me feel better because it would create a ‘continuous’ walk, and that’s been my aim.

  3. Di Iles says:

    This area of Scotland must be like navigating yourself around a piece of lace Ruth. I met Quintin Lake on The Wales Coast Path 2 years ago, nice man, he knew you when I mentioned That I followed your blog. I noticed he’s in Scotland so could have well been his camp spot.

  4. Di Iles says:

    Deer paths!!!! 😫I’ve been caught out so many times in Scotland following those by mistake. Stay safe Ruth and watch out for the ticks too.

  5. Chris Elliott says:

    Hi Ruth – have you ever considered investing in a PLB? (Personal locator beacon.) I carried one with me at all times. It’s only for use in life and death situations such as if you broke a leg in the middle of nowhere. You have places ahead of you such as the Postie trail north of Ullapool which I strongly recommend you get one for. They cost around £300 but it is a small price to pay if it saves your life. You do have to register with the coastguard though, and give your rough itinerary to a contact also registered with the coastguard. Very little of the west coast of Scotland has mobile reception so please don’t rely on this. You generally have to be within sight of the Isle of Skye to get reception as that is where the transmitter is. All the best and do take care!!!

  6. On the second section of my recent Berwick to Castle Cary walk I hitched a lift of about two miles on the road into Settle. I had run out of time and was due at a b and b for a certain time that I wasn’t going to make. That is the only occasion I can remember not walking all of my planned route except for one other occasion to get to some accommodation a lift actually put me further north on my route when I was walking south. I have no qualms thinking back about those happenings now. Worry not – it is YOUR walk. The scenery looks terrific and I am sure it must be extra rewarding for you to know you are treading where not many others have had the determination explore.

    • chuckles4th says:

      Conrad!! How lovely to see your message to Ruth! This time last year you were buoying me up on my LEJOG walk and now you’re sending positive vibes to Ruth, walking a much longer and tougher route. What a lovely community this is. Ruth .. what is 1km in amongst thousands of others and anyway, you made up for it by chasing those elusive waterfalls. You’re doing brilliantly well and entertaining us along the way too. Really loving reading your posts. Jules

      • Hi Jules, and thank you for your kind words. I’m always amazed that so many people take the time to read my posts, and i’m very grateful for everyone’s support and encouragement.

      • Hi Jules. Good to hear from you again. I see you are also following my good friend Bowland Climber – we walk a lot together. I am a bit envious of his current trip bushwhacking the new bit of the Scottish Coast Path. I eventually finished my walk from Berwick to Castle Cary in Somerset a week or two ago after a final fourteen day trek.


        Ruth – apologies for hijacking your blog for this interchange with Jules.

    • Hi Conrad, and thank you for your kind words of encouragement. The walking up here is wonderful, despite the logistic difficulties. I feel privileged, grateful and humble to have made it this far and to be here.

  7. Reading your accounts, I can imagine your narration as if watching a hill-walk program. Thank you for the adventure, even though I confined to a laptop and comfy chair on this side of the pond.

  8. Great to read your latest trek commentary! I’ve now crossed the Thames having started at Hunstanton and on other side of Ramsgate heading for Sandwich Deal and Dover. Some nice interesting coastline though hard on feet as a lot of concrete walkways. Spent couple of nights at Marine Hotel Tankerton which has had a face lift and is very comfortable!

    • Hi Chris. Well done for navigating Essex, which I found pretty difficult with all those estuaries and inconsistent ferries! Yes, the next stretch will be easy going through established seaside ports and resorts. Hard on the feet, but plenty of places to eat and stay.

  9. Karen White says:

    The dark skies add a drama quite different to a lovely sunny photo. I also love the low rainbows – mush easier to get the whole curve in a photo too. Super to see those seals!

  10. Niall says:

    Great read and well catalogued with photos.
    I’m just back from a trip coming in from the other direction, terminating at Doirlin
    I know the area extremely well as I used to explore with the advantage of having use of a boat, fish farm boat. And I agree, so weird to have that 1 km gap in the route.
    And recently, doing my prep work for my trip I find a 2011 mention of when the through path is completed, my expectations were high.. but no, still no path from Doirlin, and that poor little cottage, once an inn and a ferry house is in a sorry state, soon to be a ruin.
    In a way I was glad of the pathless gap, it helps retain its atmosphere as a lonely and remote location where not too many people venture

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