397pm Castle Tioram and Silver Walk

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.

About Ruth Livingstone

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

10 Responses to 397pm Castle Tioram and Silver Walk

  1. Chris Elliott says:

    Hi Ruth – I really enjoy reading about your exploits. Yes the Silver Walk is a really beautiful walk. I was once told that the reason the footpaths are not all marked in Scotland is because of the right to roam. i.e. you can go anywhere so why mark them? Not sure whether this is true or not but I was always finding unmarked paths or drover’s trails. I hope you don’t mind but can I briefly hijack your blog – on Friday 02 August 2019 I completed my walk around the coast of mainland Britain in Rye and have been celebrating ever since – I now have a sore head. I walked 6,160 miles (without including the return journeys on there and back walks or where I did circular walks, I probably did another 200 miles or so if you include those). It took me 488 days in total and I climbed an unbelievable 448,194 feet of ascent (15.5 times the height of Mount Everest from sea level). I will of course have done the same amount of descent as well. I shall now spend the winter having a rest and clearing the backlog of my books. I still have eight more to publish so there will be 28 in total and I still have most of them to put on Kindle, so I will be quite busy. Not sure when but I am toying with the idea of perhaps beginning to walk the inhabited islands of Britain next probably starting later in 2020. I will continue to read your blogs with interest and admiration. All the best.

    • Well done Chris. What an incredible achievement! I haven’t been measuring elevation, but your statistics are pretty astonishing. You’ve been very helpful with your advice too, all much appreciated. Not surprised you’ve been celebrating and, after you’ve recovered, I wonder what you’ll do next?

  2. Robin Lucas says:

    Ruth, A very interesting account. The OS map does show those huts at NM 6769 7197, as does the satellite view, but only on the larger scale versions! I looked on Bing Maps and the OS website. The path to Ardmolich isn’t fully marked but I’m sure your next episode will describe what you found on the ground from the other end!

  3. Karen White says:

    Goodness, you are already planning your next great adventures with walking the islands! How fantastic. I hope you will still be blogging and that I can still follow along.

  4. jcombe says:

    I did this walk today as part of a route from Acharacle to Roshven. I went out to the castle as the tide was out but sadly it’s locked. Nice views, though. The Silver Walk is the same as when you did it. Even that signs about Yoga is still exactly the same! (Except perhaps the text a little more faded).

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