432 Lochaline Link walk

[This walk was completed on the 16th August 2019.]

Instead of heading straight back home from Loch Torridon, I’ve returned to the Morvern Peninsula, where I leave my Scooty bike a couple of miles outside Lochaline, at the turn off to Kinlochteacuis.

Filling in the section of my coast walk requires my trusty bike

Why am I back here? Let me explain…

A couple of months ago, I successfully managed to complete the Ardintoul to Totaig section (on my third attempt!) and then remembered there was one other stretch of the coast that I’d left incomplete.

In March this same year, I’d tried to walk around the tip of the Morvern Peninsula and had reached the end of the path at Doirlinn, but been unable to find a safe route forward. I’d attacked the same section from the other side, from Kinlochteacuis, but again failed to find a way through.

The thought of that missing stretch was really bugging me. It meant I couldn’t say I’d walked the whole way around the coast, because I’d left a gap.

This time, I’m not going to make a third attempt around the tip of the peninsula, as I know there is NO path, and nothing has changed since my last visit – except the vegetation will have grown even thicker over the summer. Instead, I am going to connect two sections which I have already walked, and so make my circuit complete. Six easy miles along a quiet road.

02 signpost on the main road, Ruth walking across the Morvern Peninsula, Scotland

It’s late afternoon when I start this walk, because it took me a long time to get here from Loch Torridon (Scotland is a big place and the roads are slow). I cross over the cattle/deer grid, and continue down the little lane.

03 over the cowgrid, Ruth walking across the Morvern Peninsula, Scotland

I’m usually anxious about setting off so late, but my lovely Beast is parked a few miles along here, and I’m familiar with this road from my past visit. I can’t get lost.

Low sunlight fills the valley with a soft light, although the sky is already darkening.

04 view to Acharn and beyond, Ruth walking across the Morvern Peninsula, Scotland

The light makes these cattle troughs gleam. No sign of any cows, thank goodness.

05 cattle feeding troughs beside road, Ruth walking across the Morvern Peninsula, Scotland

I soon reach the shore of Loch Arienas. Such a pretty name. I remember Andy Phillips mentioning it when he was describing the route he took. He walked along tracks through the Fiunary forest and joined this road, after deciding (quite sensibly, as it turned out) not to try and find a way around the tip of the peninsula.

06 Loch Arienas, Ruth walking across the Morvern Peninsula, Scotland

By the shore, summer flowers have dotted the grass with yellow. A makeshift swing hangs tantalisingly close to the water. I wonder how many children have got wet here?

07 swing by Loch Arienas, Ruth hiking across the Morvern Peninsula, Scotland

I look back along the loch. The surrounding hills look daunting. I remember my first walk into the Morvern Peninsula, when I came down one of those hills and was nearly eaten alive by horse flies. I’ve covered so much ground since then.

08 looking up Loch Arienas, Ruth walking across the Morvern Peninsula, Scotland

This road is barely used and grass grows through the tarmac. You can tell it hasn’t been smoothed down by years of traffic, because it undulates gracefully, fully in tune with the contours of the landscape.

09 road between the forest and the Loch Arienas, Ruth walking across the Morvern Peninsula, Scotland

At the end of Loch Arienas, a track leads off to somewhere called Durinemast. I’m not sure if anybody lives there now. This part of Scotland is dotted with abandoned buildings as a result of the clearances and the general depopulation of the highlands.

10 winding road along edge of forest, Ruth walking across the Morvern Peninsula, Scotland

A couple of cars overtake me. I feel a momentary pang of anxiety. The Beast is parked just up the road, and I plan to sleep there tonight. Don’t want anyone challenging my right to be here…

11 traffic jam by the forestry car park, Ruth walking across the Morvern Peninsula, Scotland

But I needn’t have worried. The cars soon return (were they lost?) and by the time I reach the car park there is no one there. Just my faithful Beast.

12 The Beast parked in Aoineadh Mor car park, Ruth walking across the Morvern Peninsula, Scotland

Now, I was planning to end my walk here, and do the final stretch tomorrow morning, but I realise it is only another couple of miles to complete this link walk. Although the light is fading, and there has been a brief shower, I might as well keep going.

Onwards.

13 wet road to Loch Teacuis, Ruth walking across the Morvern Peninsula, Scotland

I’ve left Loch Arienas behind, and the road soon swings round a tight corner, so I am now walking along the edge of another loch. Loch Doire nam Mart. Its pale water is overshadowed by hills covered in pine trees.

14 road beside Loch Doire nam Mart, Ruth walking across the Morvern Peninsula, Scotland

The edge of this loch is indistinct in places, with marshy areas and beds of feathery reeds. Their pale foliage seems to shimmer and dance in the last of the daylight.

15 light on Loch Doire nam Mart, Ruth walking across the Morvern Peninsula, Scotland

Pity the light is too dull for good photography. This is such a beautiful place.

16 end of Loch Doire nam Mart, Ruth hiking the Morvern Peninsula, Scotland

The road leaves the loch behind, and marching telegraph poles keep me company as I speed up. It’s getting darker by the minute.

17 on to Loch Teacuis, Ruth walking across the Morvern Peninsula, Scotland

Here is the spot where I left my car when I was last here. I remember it was hard to find a parking spot along this narrow road. Good, I’ve nearly reached the end of the road…

18 Scooty bike waiting in layby, Ruth hiking across the Morvern Peninsula, Scotland

…and then I realise I don’t have to walk right to the end, saving me a mile or so of further walking. THIS is the spot where I started my walk last time I was here.

I’ve done it. I’ve linked my two walks together. The circuit remains unbroken.


Back in the Beast, it is too dark to inspect the rash in my groin. I first noticed it on the 12th August after a soggy cycle ride on the Applecross Peninsula. Funny it doesn’t itch. Lucky it doesn’t itch. I’m sure it will clear up soon.

Anyway, tomorrow I’m driving home. If the rash hasn’t gone, I can buy some cream from the pharmacist.


Miles walked today = 4 miles
Total around coast =  4,450 miles

Route: today in red, previous routes in black.


About Ruth Livingstone

Walker, writer, photographer, blogger, doctor, woman, etc.
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39 Responses to 432 Lochaline Link walk

  1. Karen White says:

    Quite by chance I saw your email almost as soon as it came in this afternoon and it’s made my day to get an update on your coastal walk. It’s a pretty area and I like the photos, especially those taken asa the light is fading. Well done on completing that section of the coast.

  2. 5000milewalk says:

    Congratulations on plugging the gap Ruth! I’ve got a gap at the moment too, and I know exactly how it feels… annoying and sort of itchy. Just have to wait for the current lockdown to end, and also for low tide on the day as it entails wading through a river 🙂

  3. Rita Bower says:

    What a wonderful surprise to see another e-mail from you Ruth. Glad you managed to walk ‘the gap’. It’s hugely frustrating, if any part of the walk get missed for any reason. I always have to go back too, to complete any parts I’ve missed – much to my husband’s annoyance!
    Let’s hope we can all get back to some walking later this year.

    • Hi Rita. Yes, fingers crossed that we can plan some proper walking trips soon. I’m very unfit after months of being confined to dull and crowded streets, it’s going to take time to get my fitness back. Hope you’ve been keeping well.

  4. Chris Williams says:

    Thank you Ruth. It is good to hear from you again. I really enjoy your blogs. I’m missing walking. Still trying to walk round the coast of Wales! I hope you can get walking again soon and that life is improving for you.

  5. Keith Case says:

    Good to be able to read another blog – it makes it feel like it is nearly possible to resume my walk. I have some small gaps in Cornwall which give me a great excuse to return to a favourite area. Planning to start again in Devon on first day accommodation should be available (12th April).
    Keith

  6. tonyurwin says:

    Those hours around sunrise and sunset make everything seem magical. The West of Scotland looks a logistical nightmare. At the moment I just point myself in one direction and keep walking until dusk.

  7. Christopher collins says:

    Great to read your blog after a long while regardless that you walked the route in 2019! I only managed a few local walks in 2020 and this year has seen many repetitive very local walks! Roll on 29 March when we can leave our local area and explore new areas to walk!

  8. Tony Rudd says:

    I always thought that walking up the coast of Scotland must be a bit like a flat-earther walking towards the edge of the world!

  9. owdjockey says:

    Hi Ruth, shame you could not get through that pathless section just south of Doirlinn, From the deer fence it is just about 700m to Doirlinn. When I went through in 2017 from Lochaline to Kinlochteacius, I has had to bash my through the vegetation, when I reached the gate in the deer fence I did notice a very feint path heading towards the lochside.In retrospect I should have probably headed more towards the shore after Doirlinn.

    I too spent a couple of nights in the car park at Aoineach Mor, the site of a clearance township.
    Despite the small rough section I enjoyed this walk, particularly the drovers path between Drimmin and Doirlinn,

    http://www.scottishhills.com/html/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=23844

    • Thanks for the link Alan. I read everybody’s accounts of finding a route, but I just wasn’t strong enough (or brave enough) to force my way through. I have recently purchased a GPS locator beacon, so feel a bit more confident in the wilderness now. The Morvern Peninsula is such a lovely area, as is Ardnamurchan, and so few people seem to know about it. Shhh, better keep it secret…

  10. Eunice says:

    How lovely to get home from work and find an email notification from you – your walk posts have been much missed. I’m glad you managed to fill in the gap, and hopefully you’ll be able to get some more walking done this year 🙂

  11. 829b says:

    I thought you died, so welcome back from the dead. Seriously, we hear such horror stories from the UK that we fear the worst. We moved from the US to Hervey Bay in Australia in August last year and have not needed to wear a mask since we arrived. When you finish your UK walk, you should be ready to circumnavigate Australia.

    • I’m still here, pleased to report 😄 You’re right, the Covid situation in the UK has been awful. Our government reacted too slow and too late, while Australia seems to have done everything right. Congrats on your move and what a wonderful place to live! As for circumnavigating Australia… I think I’ll just concentrate on trying to get round Britain before old age catches up with me!

  12. Jacquie Butler says:

    Lovely surprise to find a email notification from you. It’s strange how the motivation to get things done disappears when we have all the time in the world available.
    Good to see phots of the west coast of Scotland too – hopefully I’ll be able visit family up there this year.
    Wondering if you managed any walking last year at all. Hope you can continue this year.

    • Hi Jacquie. It’s funny isn’t it. If you’d told me I was about to have a year of lockdown, I would have imagined achieving all sorts of things. I think you’re absolutely right about lack of motivation when there seems to be too much time on our hands. I did do a week of walking in 2020. Must write it up! Hope you get to visit your family soon. Being separated from people you love is really tough, isn’t it.

  13. Wow, that’s fantastic 👏👏👏👏
    I came up with the insane idea of walking the entire English coast one day between Sandwich and Deal (ironic that..between Sandwich 😉). It probably going to take me a good 10 years or so, but I’ve already walked nearly the whole Kent coast..so onwards.
    But, how much I’d love to walk the Scottish coast…

  14. robin massey says:

    Lovely to hear from you Ruth. We’ve missed so much but hope you and yours are safe. Looking forward to hearing and seeing more of your trek when you feel up to it. Best wishes
    Robin

  15. jcombe says:

    Nice to see another update from you and well done on filling the gap. I know how frustrating it is and how it can bug you having a gap you have to go back and fill, it’s happened a couple of times to me and I’ve had to go back and fill in the gap.

  16. Russell White says:

    Hi Ruth – You’re a little treasure in an e-mail Jumble of Junk.
    Great to hear you’re on the writing path, and with some good fortune, we, your faithful, will all be soon on the real thing – wherever we walk. I’m thinking of getting back some fitness myself and am pondering walking around Rutland Water if allowed – I am in Herts – but if I do I will say hello to Stamford on your behalf. Cheers & All The Best Russ.

    • Hi Russell, and what a kind thing to say 😊 Rutland Water is a good walk, although only about a third of the circuit is actually close to the water and there are some tedious road-walking stretches. I’ve done it a couple of times, but the part I like best is the circuit of the Hambleton Peninsula. Very pretty there.

  17. Jayne says:

    Brilliant Ruth. Well done for completing the gap, getting another blog post out (so much appreciated by us all, thank you ) AND managing a week last year.

    Fingers, toes and walking poles all crossed that we can all get on with our various coast and campervan projects in 2021.

  18. ianandmaggie says:

    Hello Ruth, so pleased to get your E-Mail pop up and to know you are, hopefully, keeping well, really have missed your blogs. As an ardent walker since retiring six years ago I had felt a new man for the first five years but the last twelve months, well what can I say, odd, strange times, could anyone have predicted this, most probably not. Living in Tunbridge Wells, with my son in The Lake District and not seeing him for over a year now, he did direct me to a website called “Max out in the Lake District” where a Keswick Locksmith takes his three spaniels for walks every day around the local lakes and the fells, in lockdown this is a brilliant site for mental wellbeing to remind ourselves that the Great Outdoors will soon be open again to all. ( I am mentioning this site as a follower only and have no other connection to it ). Until we can get our walking boots on again, take care Ruth and soon – let’s get walking!

    • Hi Ian. Yes, odd and strange times indeed. You must miss your son. It’s been tough being separated from family. I have a new granddaughter I’ve hardly seen, and can’t wait to cuddle her. And a grandson who is only two and can barely remember me now 😞 Still, at least we are alive and this can’t last forever.
      Ah, yes, I’ve discovered the website with the three spaniels, and really enjoy seeing their photos. Such happy dogs!

  19. Chris Elliott says:

    Hi Ruth – just found you have re-started your write ups. Just to let you know when I did the stretch just south of Doirlinn I followed a route quite close to the Loch, so i never came across the fence you mentioned. When I say ‘route’ it was not really a route at all. It was also the boggiest stretch I found in the entire UK that i walked. I literally waded through bog up to my knees for several hundred yards. Because I was also carrying 18kg on my back I often fell forward onto all fours when my feet got stuck. So you should not worry that you found an alternate way to link your paths. As owdjockey said there was also a lot of bashing your way through trees, or at least several hundred metres. So really you missed nothing. The sad thing is Sally who lives in the remote cottage near Doirlinn who invited me in for tea and biscuits told me that the Forestry Commission had offered the landowner to link their track beside Loch Teacuis to the Doirlinn track for no charge as they wanted to have a path going to one of the Loch Teacuis islands which is a bird reserve. He refused as he didn’t want to encourage the public onto his estate. The Drimnin Estate is owned by Derek Lewis who used to be head of Her Majesty’s Prison Service. He is famous for being the person that Jeremy Paxman asked the same question to twelve times in a row but on each time refused to answer. He is a difficult cuss and it was him that refused permission to the Forestry Commission. Furthermore he is deliberately keeping the gap as overgrown as he can. You missed nothing. So glad after all your difficulties you are back writing and hopefully you will be back walking soon too. PS just completed walking the north shore of Sheppey along the shore at low tide below the cliffs. Lots of mud there too!!!

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