[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.
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.
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.
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.
The light makes these cattle troughs gleam. No sign of any cows, thank goodness.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
Pity the light is too dull for good photography. This is such a beautiful place.
The road leaves the loch behind, and marching telegraph poles keep me company as I speed up. It’s getting darker by the minute.
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…
…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.