385pm Kinlochteacuis to Laudale House

[This walk took place on the 30th March 2019]

This morning, I hiked 8 miles along a track over the hills, and now a signpost tells me where I’ve been. Scottish Woodlands, Glencripesdale. Love the weathered look.

I’ve also just eaten my picnic lunch while perched uncomfortably among dripping trees to escape a blowing gale – but now the weather suddenly changes again. Hello, sunshine! And the wind has dropped too.

I’m anticipating a lovely, easy walk this afternoon. This track runs close to the shore, and all I have to do is follow it round to Laudale House and my car.

Across the water, I watch a single sailing boat gliding along the other side of Loch Sunart.

It’s still only March, but I thought I would see more ships out on the water on this fine Saturday afternoon.

A mile or so later, I reach a small collection of cottages and shacks. Oh! Wasn’t expecting to come across any buildings until I reach Laudale House.

Check my map. Yes, the place even has a name. Cames Salach. All the buildings look deserted, so maybe they are holiday lets belonging to the estate?

Near the buildings, a patch of cropped grass leads down to the water’s edge, where I spot a stone cairn. I head down to take a look.

Among the stones are several carved plaques. I read the names. Wilson, Dick and Dot. O’Connor, Rosie, Ian, Robert, Eric.

Hmm. Are they memorial stones? I’m not sure, because there are no dates, no little messages, and no evidence of flowers or anything else left around the cairn. It’s a mystery.

I set off down the track again. I know I should be enjoying this section of the walk, but I’m feeling quite fatigued, and very aware of how much further I have to go. Head down and march onwards.

The scenery isn’t as dramatic as on my forestry route over the hills, but it’s very pleasant. There’s a steep wooded slope to my right, down which little streams tumble…

… while to my left, through an screen of trees, I catch great views across the loch. I keep checking my map to identify the few places I see on the far shore. That’s Salen. One day, soon, I’ll be walking along there.

But first, I have to finish today’s walk and get to the end of this track. Will it ever end? The rough gravel is beginning to trouble my tired feet. Ow. I pick my way carefully, trying to avoid the larger and sharper stones.

Finally, the shore begins to curve, and I know I’ve nearly reached the northernmost point of the Morvern Peninsula – called Rubha Aird Earnaich – and, roughly, the 3/4 mark of today’s walk.

Disappointingly, the track swings inland just short of the shore.

I stop and look at the uneven land that lies between me and the point… and decide I’m too tired to scramble across all those moss-covered tree trunks and rocks. Instead, to mark the occasion, I sit down on a patch of grass, for a rest and a snack.

I don’t dare stop for too long. We’ve just passed the Spring Equinox, but I don’t want to be caught out after dark. It’s 4 o’clock already, and the sun sets in 3 hours time. Onwards.

Now I’m walking in the shadow on the northern side of the hills. It’s chilly, and I’m glad I’m wearing several layers and a warm jacket.

To my left, I pass a series of small islands, only some of which are named on my map. Sgeir an t-Seangain, and then Eilean mo Shlinneag. Such exotic names.

Onwards. The trees are beginning to thin out and I’m worrying about the time. It’s nearly 5pm. Will this track ever end?

Just look at those views! The low sun makes the landscape glow with drama. I think that high peak is Beinn Resipol, and the most westerly of Scotland’s mountains.

The track climbs, and swings round to head in a southwesterly direction. I can see right down Loch Sunart .

Now I’m heading down towards a little bay – Camas na h-Airbhe – where a large ship appears to be anchored. Weird. I wasn’t expecting to find a harbour here. Oh, look at those circular structures in the water close by. Of course, it’s a fish farm.

As I get close to the fish farm, a sign warns me not to approach machinery without making sure the operator has seen me. Am I looking out for forestry machines? Or fish farm machines? I don’t know, but there are no machines in sight.

I take a photograph through the gate of the fish farm. The ship looks wonderful in the low light of the evening sun – dramatically lit up.

Onwards, past the farm (another Marine Harvest operation), and I reach a section where the slopes have been extensively logged. What a mess. What a shame.

Further along, another track runs down the slope to join mine. The sign is (from my point of view) facing the wrong direction, and I assume it’s just another forestry track…

…until I read the signs. Oh. It’s the alternative route over the hills to Kinlochteagus. And, according to another sign, it’s a ‘Heritage Path’ and the Bunavullin Coffin Road.

Ah, the old Bunavullin Coffin (and Post) Road. I remember seeing the other end of this route waymarked back in February when I walked to Drimnin, and was trying to work out a circular route to Doirlinn.

I’m walking along the edge of some open land now, through a section populated by some grand old trees. It feels like ancient parkland. I’m glad these magnificent trees have escaped the logging machines.

To my right is an open space, with a hut on stilts. The sun is very low now, and the hut is deep in the dark shade cast by the hills behind, so I take a truly terrible photograph of the structure.

At first I think it’s a fire-watch tower, but the viewpoints are tiny slits, so maybe it’s a bird hide.

I startle a group of deer, and manage a blurry shot as they run away across the field.

Oh, maybe the tower is a hunter’s hide? Poor deer. I hope not.

A little further on, I see a house perched on a slope through the trees. Looks too small for Laudale House.

Check my map. No, Laudale House is still a mile away. Onwards.

My track crosses a little bridge over Laudale River, and then swings down to run alongside the river, and then close to the shore.

Loch Sunart looks beautiful. The sun is very low now, giving the landscape a golden glow, and the loch takes on the blue of a Mediterranean sea.

Round a corner and, finally, I’m approaching Laudale House.

A new building takes me by surprise. All timber, and glass, catching the rays of the setting sun, and with a stunning view along Loch Sunart. It will make a fantastic residence for somebody.

I’m surprised to see a new building in this undeveloped area, and wonder about planning regulations in Scotland… but my map suggests it’s the old Boat House. Hmm. Clearly the old Boat House is no longer intended for boats.

Laudale House is in the shade of the hills, and I don’t manage take any decent photographs.

A sign asks walkers to respect the privacy of residents and use the shoreline for access. I suspect they’re holiday makers, rather than permanent residents, but am happy to respect their privacy…

… although that means I invade the privacy of some other residents. These deer seem startled to see a walker emerging in the evening gloom.

They leap off, running back to the track and then, elegantly, hurdling the fence around the house, where they congregate on the lawn.

I stomp across the marshy shore area to bypass the house, and then have to wade across a small stream to get back to the track. Don’t mind getting my boots wet (again) because I’m so near the end of my walk. But why not supply a bridge for considerate walkers? A plank would do.

The track is now a tarmac road.

I startle more deer on the road. They hurdle the fence and, safely behind the wire, keep a watchful eye on my progress.

I reach a widened area of tarmac, and a set of signs standing with their backs to me. Looking on their other sides, I’m informed this is a turning space, and I’ve reached the end of the public road (or, in my case, the beginning of the public road).

Good. My car is just round the next bend.

The last part of any walk is always the longest. But the road is beautiful, and the light is gorgeous. I keep stopping to take photographs.

My car isn’t just round the next bend. Nor round the next one. Nor round the one after that. Until, finally, much further along than I realised, here it is!

It’s 6.45 and the sun has just set. I’m really relieved I’ve finished my walk before dark – although I knew I would have an additional hour or so of twilight walking after sunset, and I’d brought my torch… just in case.

I’m also relieved for another reason. The kind taxi man (Ewen), who picked me up from here this morning, told me he lives just across the loch and pointed out his house. So, I know he could probably see my car from his windows and, if I hadn’t returned before dark, he might have been worried about me.

Anyway, I’m proud of myself. I’ve managed the logistics of a difficult section. I’ve walked a long distance, across an uncertain route, and in complete isolation. (In fact, I’ve met nobody since the farmer this morning who told me to watch out for the “seagulls”.) I’ve scaled deer fences and waded streams. I’ve seen a sea eagle.

Oh, my goodness. I feel like a proper walker.

Miles walked this afternoon = 10
Total today = 18 miles
Total distance around the coast = 4,041.5 miles

You can read more about the Bunavullin Coffin/Postal Road on the Heritage Paths site.

Route: morning in black, afternoon in red


About Ruth Livingstone

Walker, writer, photographer, blogger, doctor, woman, etc.
This entry was posted in 22 Highlands and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

35 Responses to 385pm Kinlochteacuis to Laudale House

  1. Russell White says:

    Hi Ruth – You’re PROPER – no problems, and another great blog.
    I totally agree about the SWCP, but as you’ve now given me the enthusiasm now for many different coastal walks in the country I’m looking forward to planning these as well when I complete the SWCP.
    Yes Manchester is just a bit of a change from Stamford, but all my best wishes to you there for the future – keep the party going !
    Cheers Russ

  2. janedadswell says:

    What a beautiful end to a long day.

  3. treb123 says:

    Hi Ruth – congratulations on finishing the “Morvern Loop”. A bit of a logistical nightmare as I recall but you have some wonderful scenery to look forward to. I’m really enjoying reading your blog – following you every step of the way 😜

  4. chuckles4th says:

    Thoroughly enjoyed reading today’s blog, Ruth .. you’re doing so well with all that navigating!

  5. Ian GILBERT says:

    Hi Ruth. I remember that the last time I walked the coast it was this walk I saw the most deer of any walk and got the closest without them running off – Nov. 1999. You will have a few more longer walks further north – good planning required. Enjoy.
    My progress 2nd time round. Got to Connel north of Oban. Walked – Isles of Seil, Luing, Easdale, Kerrera and Iona last time out and past 5000 mile mark. Also been on Mull twice so far. I will try to catch you up – on second thoughts I am going slower than you. Weather great in Scotland so far this year. Ian

    • Oh my goodness, you’re making great progress Ian. And doing the islands too? That’s quite a challenge. I’m back in Manchester for some social engagements, and keep looking at the weather forecast. Yes, it looks good. Dying to get back up there.

  6. Allan McMillan says:

    This blog takes us places we’ve never been. You convey the detailed beauty and angst of long distance walking with such affecting honesty. Long may you continue on your journey.

  7. Ann says:

    Hi Ruth. I was pleased to read that you have seen a sea eagle. This walk sounds like one of the best days you have ever had on your coast walk, but I may just be reading too much into the lovely pictures.It was a real achievement anyway.

    • It really was a gold-star day, Ann. One I’ll always remember. The only downside was I did find the first long slog along the estate road by the shore a bit boring. But there is always a boring stretch in any walk – and it was only boring in comparison to the rest.

  8. What a big day! You must have started early? It would have been quite a taxi ride from your car to the start, never mind your walking distance through that remote terrain. I reckon you have gained valuable experience which will be in the bank for more top class walking to come. Those photos and that particular light are magic. Well done indeed, and I look forward to more, especially the Ardnamurchan peninsula where I had an experience with my family many years ago – I may recall that when you are trekking through there shortly.

  9. Chris Elliott says:

    Hi Ruth – the boat house on the Laudale Estate is unbelievably still a boat house. When I walked this section I walked from Laudale House back to Glencripesdale and was due to then walk back to Laudale to my car i.e. a there and back walk. About two miles from Laudale I was given a lift by an Estate worker. He told me about the boat house. Apparently it has a kitchen in it that cost £60,000!!! I had thought it was a swanky holiday let but he said not. Laudale House is very plush. It costs £10,000 a week to rent. They do weddings and other similar events. Ian Botham’s daughter took the place over for her wedding a while back. They also have a very swanky seaplane that collects guests. It’s well worth looking at their web site. Enjoy Ardnamurchan if you are not already there. You have some fabulous parts of the coast coming up.

    • Oh wow. I’ve just looked at their website. Should have booked the seaplane! Well done for completing that stretch and you had good luck with getting that lift. Andy Philips got a lift too when he did that section, so they must be used to picking up tired walkers. If I couldn’t persuade a taxi driver to take me, I would have attempted 2 there-and-back walks, starting each end. Only problem (for me) would be doing that long mileage two days running.

  10. Eunice says:

    I love the photo taken after you crossed the bridge over Laudale river and the one above the shot of your car. Evening sunlight can be great for landscape shots 🙂

  11. lizziwake says:

    Look how far you’ve got since I set out around Wales! And I’ve only just finished! How wonderful to see a sea eagle. I hope you see many more on your journey. I am really enjoying following your travels.

    • Hi Lizzi, i’m making much faster progress since I retired! Well done for finishing Wales. A big achievement. Wonder how many miles you clocked up? I certainly walked more than the ‘official’ length.

      • lizziwake says:

        I think my latest blog gives totals – around 200 miles for Offa’s Dyke I think & approx 650 for the coast. I’ve not walked round Anglesey yet – saving that as a special treat.

  12. If you’re not a proper walker, who is?!

    • You’re very kind, but my average of 10.5 miles a day (just worked it out!) is pretty pathetic. I am very proud of the handful of 18 milers I’ve done, but none of them were by choice.

  13. Paul Hills says:

    Wow! Beautiful pictures, and a great achievement completing that stage 👍😊

  14. Your walk is getting better and better for us armchair followers. I hope the good weather lasted for you in that beautiful Scottish scenery.

    • You have to make the most of the good days in Scotland, and I was really lucky with the weather for this one.
      Just been reading your latest blog post (Inverness to JOG) and gives me hope that I’ll have a lovely coast path to walk along for this section… when I finally get there!

  15. Karen White says:

    What a long and sometimes very difficult walk but you made it. The last couple of miles back to your car must have seemed like they went on forever.
    Glorious late afternoon and golden hour light in those photos and wonderful to see so many deer.

  16. Karen White says:

    I forgot to say that I wondered if the stone cairn with the plaques were memorials for dogs?

    • Good thought, Karen. Quite a few stately homes do have doggy graveyards. The names on the plaques seemed to be grouped into families, though, and sounded human rather than canine.

      • Karen White says:

        I did a little investigating about the cairn and ended up having a brief email conversation with a Rory Wilson who I believe is one of the family at Camas Salach estate. In answer to my query he said “If it’s to do with the cairn on the shore at Camas Salach I can tell you it was constructed to celebrate the millenium, with the names of family members and friends inscribed onto granite bricks throughout.”

  17. jcombe says:

    Rather than fork out for a taxi (I bet that was expensive!) I’ve decided to do this section as two there and back walks. I walked from the end (or as near as I could park) of the road heading to Laudale House and walked as far as Cripesdale and back again. This was my last day so next time I am in Scotland (hopefully September) I’ll come at it from the other end to join the two walks up.

    Cames Salach was quite different from your visit. All those buildings were occupied as all had cars parked nearby – I presume they drive all the way along the track from the road (must take a while!). I saw a group of 3 walkers who I suspect had come from one of them. The fish farm was in use too.

    Laudale House was occupied when I walked by. In fact I think I met the “lady of the house” as there was a posh and well dressed women walking on the road. She was however friendly and stopped for a chat, confirming the house was occupied (and I already knew to go along the shore) and commented on how good the weather was. I saw here again on the way back, walking from the boat house and she then walked across the green to the house (though I don’t think she saw me that time).

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