398 Silver Walk and Ardmolich

[This walk was completed on the 10th May 2019]

I drive to the Forestry Commission car park for the Ardmolich woods, a sloping area of tarmac near the top of a steep hill. A large information sign suggests a stroll around the woodland, while a smaller sign tells me this is the beginning (or the end) of the Silver Walk.

01 Ardmolich, carpark, Ruth's coastal walk, Loch Moidart

I set off down the track. Usually I dislike walking among pines, but these are tall and elegant trees, and I enjoy their company.

02 forest walking, Ruth's coastal walk, Loch Moidart

A noise and movement ahead – oh, a deer. It stands on the track, alert and anxious, watching me. I manage to swing my camera up and take a blurry shot…

03 deer on path, Ruth's coastal walk, Loch Moidart

… before it leaps up the slope and into the trees.

It doesn’t go far. Keeps a wary eye on me from above the track. I wonder if it has a baby fawn hidden nearby.

04 deer hiding in trees, Ruth's coastal walk, Loch Moidart

Further along, I come to a deer fence. I never know if they’re designed to keep deer in, or to keep deer out. And was the deer I saw on the right or wrong side of the fence?

05 deer fence, Ruth's coastal walk, Loch Moidart

I climb over the steps and continue. My track has dipped down into a valley, and now begins to rise again, with a few fallen trees causing minor obstructions.

06 fallen trees and hills, Ruth's coastal walk, Loch Moidart

It’s a steep climb up to the brow of the hill, and my legs begin to ache. At the top, I’m rewarded by a great view along Loch Moidart. All the way to the sea.

07 Loch Moidart, Ruth walking along the Silver Walk, Scotland

I cross an area of open grassland. Here the track divides. Although there are no signposts, I know the suggested forest walk continues up the hill, but I’m heading down towards the shore.

08 path forks, Ruth's coastal walk, Loch Moidart

Here the path takes a rocky course very close to the shore. I suppose this is a tidal loch, and wonder if the path ever gets completely covered. There are strands of seaweed on the stones.

09 path along water's edge, Ruth's coastal walk, Loch Moidart

The path doesn’t stick to the shore, but goes meandering up the slope and through groves of broad-leaved trees. Oaks mingle with the silver birches.

10 old trees, Ruth's coastal walk, Loch Moidart

I’m conscious of the roar of traffic from across the other side of the loch. Tomorrow I’ll be following the A861 over there. Oh dear. Sounds busy.

11 noise on other side of water, Ruth's coastal walk, Loch Moidart

The path dips down to the shore again. I come to a little cove. No sand, just marsh and mud, but with it’s own kind of beauty. Sadly it’s a dull day, and my photographs don’t do the place justice.

12 marshy bay, Ruth's coastal walk, Loch Moidart

There’s a little stream to cross, and a ruined building, but I can’t tell if it’s an animal shelter or the remains of an old cottage.

The path winds around, and goes up and down. Sometimes rising up the slope and weaving between the trees, sometimes following the line of the shore.

13 shore path, Ruth's coastal walk, Loch Moidart

Now the route turns inland, and I climb up into an open area of grass and scattered bushes.

14 around Torr Port a Bhata, Ruth's coastal walk, Loch Moidart

I pass more ruined buildings. These must be the remains of cottages, I think. Hard to imagine this place bustling with families.

15 ruined buildings, Ruth's coastal walk, Loch Moidart

The wind picks up, bringing the scent of moisture. I look back and see dark clouds covering the hills above the loch. Oh, no. Looks like rain is coming this way.

16 rain clouds, Ruth's coastal walk, Loch Moidart

When the first drops begin to fall, I perch on a rock and open up my rucksack. Time to get weatherproofed! I pull on my waterproof trousers. I hate wearing these, but they do keep me dry. On goes my golfing cap with it’s long peak. This is excellent for keeping my hood from falling over my eyes and, most importantly, stops the rain from splattering my glasses. I stow my camera and phone away, and fasten my rucksack’s waterproof cover.

OK, come on rain. I’m ready for you.

Of course, as soon as I’ve completed all this preparation, the rain stops!

17 rainy day gear, Ruth's coastal walk, Loch Moidart

Onwards. The path climbs higher and turns into a definite track. It’s curving inland, around a hump of high ground called Torr Port a Bhata.

18 track around Torr Port a Bhata, Ruth's coastal walk, Loch Moidart

On the other side of this hill, the path dips down again. I cross a stream via a little bridge formed from rocks. (Thank you, whoever made this path, for keeping my feet dry.)

19 overlooking the water, Ruth's coastal walk, Loch Moidart

Or maybe I spoke too soon. The next stretch of path is very muddy. I slip and slide, and am glad I have my walking pole with me.

20 muddy path, Ruth's coastal walk, Loch Moidart

Up the hill, and I come to a pile of rocks. Not another cairn! Yesterday, they were all over the place.

21 cairn at fork in path, Ruth's coastal walk, Loch Moidart

It’s not till I’ve gone another 20 or 30 feet along the path that I realise… oh, yes, that’s the cairn that marks the fork in the path, and it’s the point where I left the Silver Walk yesterday.

So, now I’ve joined up with yesterday’s walk, which means today’s walk is complete. Time for a lunch break, and then it’s time to turn back. Oh good, looks like the rain clouds are clearing.

22 rainclouds over top of loch Moidart, Ruth hiking around the coast of Scotland

The walk back is uneventful. Funny how the route always seems quicker when you are retracing your steps.

The noise of traffic across the loch is screamingly loud. Sounds like a host of motorbikes are racing up and down. And, just look at all those cars and vans parked along the road. What’s going on?

23 parking on other side of water, Ruth's coastal walk, Loch Moidart

I reach a section of path which I remember from this morning – a steep slab of rock with the remains of wooden steps flapping uselessly at the top. This morning I simply slid down the rock. Now I have to get back up – and it seems much higher! Oh, no. What if I can’t get over?

24 scramble along Silver Walk, Ruth's coastal walk, Loch Moidart

After a moment of pointless panic, I scramble and stretch, wedge my boots into a ledge formed by a fallen tree, and manage to pull myself over. From there onwards, the return route is easy.

On the drive back, I’m overtaken by a stream of motorbikes. Not normal bikes, but very muddy, noisy ones, the sort you drive cross-country. When I get back to my rented cabin, the landlady asks if I got tangled up in the trail bike rally. Apparently it’s a regular event across Moidart.

Miles walked today = 5.5 miles (there and back)
Total distance round Britain = 4,156 miles


About Ruth Livingstone

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

7 Responses to 398 Silver Walk and Ardmolich

  1. Paul Sennett says:

    God morning Ruth
    Wonderful to see you making such good progress up the West coast of Scotland.
    The 5000 mile mark can’t be far away for you now. How are you managing with the midges? Any good tips?
    Carol and I have been working away up the upper side of the East coast of England as part of our coastal walk of England.
    We have reached Scarborough heading North. …And Alnmouth heading south. We crossed the 2500 mile mark this year.
    We do miss your blogs of this part of the coast. We relied so much on them when we were on the south and West coasts of England
    All the best for continued safe and enjoyable walking

    • Hi Paul, well done for making great progress. I’m really looking forward to doing the Northumberland and Yorkshire coast, but that still seems a long way away!

      Midges are a big problem in NW Scotland. You just have to accept you can’t sit outside in the evening, and you have to keep moving on your walks. Midges don’t like wind, or strong sunshine, so find somewhere windy if you want to stop for lunch.
      Top tips: You don’t really feel midges biting you, and it takes 24 hours before the bites start to itch, so you must put midge-protection on *before* you venture outside (unless it’s very windy or very sunny). Use Smidge (it’s expensive but really does work). Wear long sleeves and long trousers. The wee beasties will fly up inside your trousers and eat your ankles, so tuck your trousers inside your socks. They’ll attack any part of your body that isn’t covered in clothing or doused in Smidge, so don’t forget to put Smidge on your ears and your hairline, and wear a cap to stop them eating your scalp. And pack some antihistamine cream for those annoying itchy bites that mysteriously appear despite all your precautions!

  2. Di Iles says:

    Hi Ruth, thanks again for your wonderful photos and description of the Silver Walk. Think I mentioned before this is one of my favourite walks. Funny for ages I thought it was called the Silver walk because of the silver birches but apparently not so, Elizabethan silver coins were found when the path was constructed so hence its name. Not sure if you knew that yourself so thought I’d give it a mention.
    Do you have any information about the old ruined village of Port a’ Bhata ? I don’t know it’s history myself but would be interested if you or anyone can shed any light here.
    Looking forward to so my other areas I know are coming up for you on your travels and some white sand beaches that look like there’re straight out of the Caribbean. Stay safe Ruth.

    • Hello Di. Yes, it was a lovely walk. Like you, I assumed ‘silver’ was referring to the silver birches, so thank you for the info on the silver coins. If I’d known, I’d have kept my eyes open for more! Don’t know anything about the abandoned village. So many of these in Scotland, sadly.

  3. Karen White says:

    The Silevr Walk is really lovely and the info from your reader Di about the silver coins is interesting. I wonder how many people have searched hoping to find some more! I love to read your blog late evening, knowing that when I sleep I’m likely to have restful dreams of beautiful Scotland.

  4. jcombe says:

    I walked all the Silver Walk today, a really lovely route. Those broken steps (or rather, missing) are still like that the only clue there were ever stairs is two bits of wood at the top. I used I suspect the same fallen tree to get over the gap as you did. The rest wasn’t too bad but quite a lot of sea-weed over one section suggests it does flood at high tide.

    I was going west to east. I was very irritated near the eastern end to come across a gate “Do NOT go further. Forest Operations”. FOrtunately (no signs) I realised they’d marked a diversion with orange topped wooden posts. This went much closer to the shore (but boggy) and came out at the road right at the south end of the Ardmolich Bridge, which saved a bit of distance (I didn’t pass the forestry commission car park).

    Quite a tough walk but a lovely one.

I welcome your views

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s