Time to leave Castle Tioram and complete my circular walk – well, my figure of 8 walk, to be totally accurate. I climb down off the rocks, shrug my rucksack onto my shoulders, and set off across the causeway.
On the other shore, a group of people are attempting to have a barbecue, and they’ve lit a fire. Unfortunately, it’s just started to drizzle, and the fire is smoking badly, with no sign of flame. It doesn’t look as though they’ll be doing much cooking
As I get nearer, I recognise some members of the group. It’s the two ladies I passed earlier this morning, walking near Loch Blain, along with their dogs. It seems they’ve been joined by their husbands, who probably drove here.
I head for the woods at the end of the beach. There should be footpath here, somewhere… ah, there’s a marker post. “Silver Walk.” Lovely name.
I bend down to read the information on the post, and realise the walk continues all the way along the shore of Loch Moidart, and ends at the top of the loch, beside a car park on Drynie Hill, near a place called Ardmolich.
WHY didn’t I know this before? My map shows this walk as a dead end. Now I realise I could have done a wider, circular walk, and completed this section in one day! Stupid map – you’ve really let me down.
Oh, well, no point being angry. Take a look back at the castle, and a last photograph, and onwards.
The path winds above the shore. I pass through a metal gate, ducking to get under the pole. Someone has kindly padded the obstruction for those of us taller than 5 foot nothing.
The walk is lovely, but difficult. Fallen trees create obstacles, although this one has been sawed to create a gap.
I meet a man coming back along the path with his dog. And then a couple returning. The young woman is telling her partner she is not wearing suitable shoes for this challenging walk.
It really IS a challenging walk. Apart from the fallen trees, you have to climb over fallen rocks too, and at times there are steep climbs up rocky steps.
But the views are amazing. Loch Moidart is not very long, but it is very beautiful. I hear the sound of voices chatting, and turn the corner expecting to meet more walkers, but then realise there is a yacht anchored below me. Sounds carry a long way over water.
More tumbled trees. I scramble over or under the branches.
The leaning trunks make great resting places for my camera. Can’t resist a self portrait.
Then the path gets easier and wider. I’m walking on sand and stones now, and climbing higher.
Eventually I come to a fork. This is where my planned route branches off the coastal path and takes me inland again, to complete the loop of my walk.
I decide that tomorrow I will attack Silver Walk from the other end, so I must remember this point, because it’s the place I ended today’s coastal section and the turn-back point for tomorrow’s walk. Luckily, people have built a cairn of rocks here. It makes a good way-marker.
The path leads southwards, and climbs higher and higher. I pass through groves of birch trees…
… and stop (frequently) to admire the views over Loch Moidart and Shona island below.
There is evidence of a ruined settlement on the slopes below me. Definite outlines of buildings. Is it another abandoned village? Or are they just old animal shelters? My OS map doesn’t tell me. It really is being very unhelpful today.
I reach a high point, and stop for a rest. A large rock would provide a handy seat, but people have covered it with small stone, creating another cairn. (Why do people build cairns? I have no desire to leave a ‘mark’ on the landscape and find it all a bit of a mystery!)
After a brief rest, I set off again. The path meanders downhill over a rolling slope. The grass surface is spongy, and makes a lovely soft surface for my tired feet. In the distance are the hills of my old friend, the Ardnamurchan peninsula.
I think this is the last time I will see those hills. Tomorrow I will complete the other end of the Silver Walk, and after that I’m heading northwards.
Ah, there’s another familiar sight. I recognise this place from earlier this morning. It’s Lochan na Fola, with Loch Blain behind it.
The path skirts around the western edge of Lochan na Fola. Now, where’s the tree that marks the fork in the path… ah, yes. There it is.
Over a slight rise, and what a view! There’s the nameless, but beautiful, loch ahead, and a wonderful view down the narrow valley to the sea below. Shame the light is dull this afternoon, but I stop to take more photographs anyway.
I walk along the narrow path that leads around the edge of the loch, past the wall of the dam at the far end, and begin to follow the pipe as it descends down into the valley. Bealach Sgairt Dea-uisge.
I really enjoy this final section of the walk, although the path is sometimes steep and covered in treacherous and slippery shale. The bluebells seem brighter this afternoon, and fill the air with scent.
I emerge on the edge of a field, and follow the path past a blue cottage. The way seems very clear this afternoon, and I’m not sure why I had such trouble finding the route this morning!
Then there’s a short walk up the road. I keep meeting cars coming back down, as people start to head home after visiting Castle Tioram.
Hello, here’s the car park, and a great view of the castle again.
I stop in the car park to read the enigmatic sign pinned to the information board. “Want to start yoga?” The rest of the sign is blank.
Miles walked today = 9.5 miles (but most nowhere near the coast!)
Total distance around coast = 4,150.5 miles
Route: Black is the morning, red the afternoon.