I walk along the road from the farm, through an area with a strange name – it’s called Back of Keppoch – past campsites and new buildings, until I reach the B8008. Here I turn left and continue northwards, walking against a stiff breeze and following the road across a stretch of flat land.
At this point I’m about 1/2 a mile inland from the sea, and surrounded by fields. Plenty of cows… oh, hang on, that’s not a cow. That’s a bull! Glad I’m on this side of the fence.
I cross a bridge over a little estuary. What beautiful horses. Love their markings.
A cyclist comes up behind me, head down and battling against the wind. He stops at the bridge. At first, I think he might be stopping for a chat – but, no, he is stopping to persuade a little frog to hop across the road and gain the safety of the grassy verge.
This seems to be a thriving area, with plenty of new buildings in various stages of development. And, along with new buildings, comes a proliferation of ‘Private Roads’.
Just beyond the bridge, I reach a track which should take me to the shore. Another prominent ‘Private Road’ sign is a bit off putting, especially as I’m feeling bruised after my encounter with the unfriendly farmer earlier. But I decide to ignore the sign. I’m not driving along the road, after all, I’m just walking.
I follow the track through a campsite of caravans, and reach the beach without being challenged. Ah, how lovely. The coastline here is a wild jumble of sand and rocks, indented with numerous small bays. It gives the impression of emptiness and isolation…
… but, to my right, the shore is lined by caravans and campsites.
It’s a beautiful place to spend a holiday, and I don’t begrudge the campers their wonderful pitches, but it does make walking this section of the coast rather a challenge. I walk around this lovely sandy bay, and am faced with more private signs when I reach the opposite side.
Trying to avoid trespassing, I stick to the beach, but soon run out of sand. Can I make it past this rocky outcrop without getting my feet wet? The tide is visibly retreating, and I wait for a lull in the waves before splashing past the obstruction.
But I soon come to a spot where the water is too deep to cross without getting my socks wet. I don’t mind wet feet at the end of the walk, but it’s cold today, and I still have some miles to go.
To my right, a pipe snakes down from the holiday park above. I hate to think what the pipe might be carrying down into the sea, but it provides a handy route upwards and off the beach.
I climb up the slope carefully – the stones are slippery beneath my boots – emerge between a couple of caravan, and then follow a track through the site. At the exit, a plethora of signs are nailed to the fence, telling me the site is for ‘Residents Only’. Well, it’s too late to worry about that now, I’m already on the way out of here!
I rejoin the B8008 for a brief stretch. Round a bend and, oh, what a lovely view! I keep saying that today… this really is a beautiful area.
Look at that pale sand! I leave the road and climb down a path to regain the shore.
This is lovely. The retreating tide has left large open areas of sand between islands of rock. I know there are more campsites immediately to my right, but down on the sand I seem to be completely on my own.
Look back at the tracks left by my footprints. It really is so very satisfying to lay the first set of prints on a clean-washed beach!
The sand comes to an end. Unable to make forward progress – because of water and rocks – I climb up a flight of stone steps and follow a track through yet another caravan park…
… and rejoin the road for a brief period, before reaching a wide curve of beach. Here the road runs beside the shore, where several vehicles are parked close to a golf course. I head down off the tarmac to walk along the sand again.
I’m not alone. There are several dog walkers and couples out for a stroll. This man stands and contemplates the view…
… yes, it really is stunning. The sand is pale between the multicoloured rocks, the sea is a beautiful patchwork of blues and greens, while the islands of Eigg and Rum make a great backdrop.
A sign tells me this is ‘Traigh Beaches Picnic Area’, but there are no picnic tables to sit on. So, I walk out to a small promontory, shrug off my rucksack, and perch on a rock. It’s well past lunch time, but I was waiting until I found somewhere decent to sit. This table for one has a perfect view.
The light keeps changing, and I take dozens of photographs.
After a lengthy break, I pick up my ruck sack again. Looking to the north, I can see darker clouds massing. Time to get going. I walk along the final stretch of beach…
… and rejoin the B8008. It crosses over a little river and curves away from the shore.
I walk past the entrance to another campsite, watch a group of mischievous sheep playing among some trees, and reach a place called Glenancross. This is another scattered collection of houses, without any apparent focal point to the village.
The road dips and rises again. The fields are full of horses, and I see signs advertising the Silver Sands Trekking Centre. It seems a prosperous area, with renovated cottages and smart new buildings. Love this modern house.
About a mile beyond Glenancross, the road bends around to the right and I begin to catch glimpses of Morar Bay below.
I reach an empty carpark, with open public toilets – unexpected because they’re not marked on my map. A nearby sign invites me to a chocolate bear hunt. Oh yes, I would hunt for chocolate bears if I could… but sadly the sign is out of date. The bear hunt took place on Easter Day. I’m sure all the chocolates have been found!
Next to the sign is a path. Despite the absence of waymarks, I’m pretty hopeful this will lead down to the beaches that line Morar Bay… and yes, I soon arrive down on the sand.
The white building on the opposite shore looks familiar. It’s my hotel – horribly overpriced, but conveniently situated close to the railway station, and with a great view.
I walk along the shore and soon reach the top of the bay, where the A830 crosses over the water via a rather ugly road bridge.
Rejoining the B8008, I climb the slope to reach the A road. Luckily there’s a cycle way, so I don’t have to dodge traffic, and I soon come to my turnoff to Morar.
I turn down the quiet road, pass over the river and under the railway line, and then stop for a while to watch the water rushing out from Loch Morar, seemingly in a great hurry to reach Morar Bay and the coast.
I climb the hill towards Morar, walking past the memorial cross, past the place where I’ve parked my car (my expensive hotel is having a new coat of paint, and I can’t use the hotel car park), and then cross over the railway line.
I’ve come full circle. There’s Morar station where I caught the train this morning.
It’s been a good day, despite my various problems with private land and despite the poor weather. The views have been excellent and I’ve managed to take some great photographs. Best of all, I seem to be finally making progress up the coast.
Tomorrow I should reach Mallaig – another milestone on my journey around the edge of Scotland.
Miles walked today = 11.5 miles
Total around coast = 4,196.5 miles
Route (morning black, afternoon red)