433 Annat, Torridon to Inveralligin

[This walk took place on the 7th August 2020]

I cycle through Annat, and leave my Monster Bike on a grass bank beside the road, hidden by a bank of ferns.

001 The Monster bike at Annat, Ruth walking the coast of Scotland

There’s Torridon, just across the water, sitting under the steep slopes of the mountains. Not far away, but I must walk around the top of the loch to reach it.

002 Torridon from Annat, Ruth walking the coast of north-west Scotland

I follow the road into Annat. “Beware. Sheep,” says a sign. I look around for marauding sheep, but there aren’t any in sight, just a jumble of sheep pens nearby.

003 Beware of the Sheep, Annat, Ruth walking the coast of north-west Scotland

Annat is one of those nothing places, consisting of a series of spread-out cottages along the road. This is the centre: a red telephone box, a village notice board, and a post box.

004 centre of Annat, Ruth walking the coast of north-west Scotland

I love seeing traditional red phone boxes. Many phone boxes in rural areas have been converted into kiosks for defibrillators, into informal mini-libraries, and even into bus stop shelters. The door of this one is lined with moss but, when I open it and lift the receiver, the phone is still working.

Torridon is the next village. When the tide is low, it looks like you could take a shortcut across the bay. Tempting… but the water is high this morning, and I’m not going to try it.

005 Torridon in the distance, Ruth walking the coast of north-west Scotland

I haven’t seen any sheep yet, but here are some Highland cows. They’re enjoying the lush grass in these meadows.

006 Highland cattle Annat, Ruth walking the coast of north-west Scotland

Past Annat, I round a corner and come across some roadworks. I cycled past here earlier on my horrible Monster of a bike, and was very glad that this is a flat road.

007 road works near Annat, Ruth walking the coast of north-west Scotland

Why am I not using my lovely new electric Scooty bike? Well, just as Covid travel restrictions were lifted, my poor old campervan failed his MOT! He is sulking back in Manchester, awaiting spare parts for repairs. My Scooty bike is heavy and, although I can get it into the van, I can’t get it into the car – even when folded up and with its battery removed.

So, that’s why I’m back on my non-electric horrible Monster bike instead.

(A few months ago, I had been tempted to sell the Monster, because I hate the damn thing. I retrospect, it was lucky I kept it.)

Just past the roadworks, and I turn down the road that leads to Torridon. Almost immediately, I leave the road and turn left into a little lane. This is an alternative walking route (a Core Path) which passes through National Trust land and takes me closer to the water.

008 track to The Main, Torridon junction, Ruth walking the coast of north-west Scotland

At the bottom of the lane is a collection of cottages. “Deer Museum” says a sign. Ooh, what on earth can you put in a deer museum?!

009 deer museum, Torridon, Ruth walking the coast of north-west Scotland

All over the place in the UK there are little museums for all sorts of unlikely collections. I remember the witchcraft museum in Boscastle, Cornwall. That sounded interesting – although I never did get time to go and look around it. But a deer museum? Anyway, it’s closed.

I’ve reached the shore of a loch, and a signpost points me in the direction of the footpath.

010 Footpath to Fasag and Am Ploc, Ruth walking the coast of north-west Scotland

It’s good to be walking along a proper footpath, and it looks well used. A sign has been attached to a fence post – a recent addition – and it warns us all to stay safe.

011 foopath along shore to Fasag, Ruth walking the coast of north-west Scotland

Further along, there is another sign and a hand sanitiser. I dutifully sanitise my hands because I’m going to touch the gate, and I have already met a few other walkers.

012 Stay Safe at our Places sign, Loch Torridon, Ruth walking the coast of north-west Scotland

Covid has changed our lives in so many ways. I wonder when we’ll ever feel truly relaxed about being in the company of strangers, or carefree about touching surfaces that have been touched by others?

A few hundred yards further along, and here is another gate… and another hand sanitiser.

013 mountains ahead, Loch Torridon shore, Ruth walking the coast of north-west Scotland

In a field nearby, a white horse watches me carefully – just checking that I’m doing the right thing and keeping myself and others safe.

014 white horse at Torridon, Ruth walking the coast of north-west Scotland

I’ve nearly reached Torridon, where I’ve parked my car in the parking area beside the road.

015 nearly at Fasag, Ruth walking the coast of north-west Scotland

My path joins a track, which leads towards an intriguing outcrop of land, a place called Am-ploc on my map. I double back down the track to explore it..

016 walk to Am Ploc, Ruth walking the coast of north-west Scotland

… but don’t get very far, as my way is barred by a gate and an unfriendly “private” sign.

Still, the view down the loch is very beautiful. My heart lifts. It is so good to be back in Scotland again. The air is cool, with only a gentle breeze to ruffle the water, which gleams the palest of blues in the soft light of late summer.

017 looking down Loch Torridon from Fasag, Ruth walking the coast of north-west Scotland

I drive back to Annat to collect The Monster Bike, and then back through Torridon. After leaving Torridon, the road narrows and hugs the shore, before twisting upwards through a series of hairpin bends. I park in a carpark above Torridon House, heave the Monster out the boot, hurtle off down the twisting bends – with my hands tugging frantically at both sets of brakes – and make it safely down to Torridon.

(Planning today’s walk was a real exercise in logistics. I tried to make sure all the cycling sections were either on the flat, or downhill!)

The parking area in Torridon has filled up. It seems to be a popular stopping place for people driving the North Coast 500 route. I chain The Monster up beside some dustbins…

018 leaving the Monster bike in Torridon, Ruth walking the coast of north-west Scotland

…and settle on a piece of rock to eat my lunch. Then it’s time to start my afternoon’s walk, and I head out of Torridon along the road.

The sky has darkened and rain is forecast.

019 narrow road to Torridon House, Ruth walking the coast of north-west Scotland

I stop to look at an engraved stone by the roadside, expecting it to be a memorial stone for a dead person but it is, in fact, a stone commemorating the 100 pallbearers who carried the body of a man called Duncan Darroch to his burial site. Interesting.

019a commemoration stone by side of road, Ruth walking the coast of north-west Scotland

The road stays close to the shore, and it’s a shame the view over the loch is spoiled by the dull light. There’s the Torridon Hotel across the water. I walked through the grounds last time I was up in Scotland.

020 Torridon Hotel, from road, Ruth walking the coast from Torridon, Scotland

I reach the spot where the main road leaves the shore and begins its twisting route up the hillside. But I’m going to stay close to the loch, and follow the private road through the Torridon Estate. The light is really dull now. I use the flash on my camera to take a photo of the signpost.

021 Torridon from Annat, Ruth walking the coast of north-west Scotland

This private road forms part of a Core Path that should join up with the road again at a place called Inveralligin. Luckily, they seem to welcome walkers.

022 Private road to the Torridon Estate, Ruth walking the coast of Scotland

I meet another walker coming back towards me (I passed him earlier just outside Torridon when I was on my bike). He has his head down and is walking quickly, because he has seen what is sneaking up behind me – a storm!

The rain starts pelting down. I stop to stow my camera away but, by the time I’ve fastened the waterproof cover of my rucksack, it eases off. I pull my camera out again.

There are cottages ahead.

023 rain falling, Torridon Estate, Ruth walking the coast of Scotland

The track leaves the shore of the loch, and I walk through the grounds of Torridon House estate, surrounded by lovely tall trees. I’ve speeded up, because I know there is more rain coming.

024 walking through trees on the Torridon Estate, Ruth's coastal walk around Scotland

Can’t resist stopping to take a photograph of this rusty old roller. And then realise…

025 rusting machinery, Ruth walking the coast from Torridon, Scotland

… it makes a good place to perch the camera for a self-portrait.

026 self-portrait on forest track, Ruth walking the coast from Torridon, Scotland

I come to a triangular crossroads, where a Narnia-like lamp post holds a variety of signs. It would be nice to explore the estate, but the sky is very dark, and I continue straight on towards Inveralligin.

027 Narnia Lamp Post, Ruth walking the coast through theTorridon Estate, Scotland

The track passes over a bridge. Rain starts tumbling down again, but I manage to snap a quick shot of the structure. Not the most elegant of bridges, but I like the old ironwork.

028 over the Bridge, Torridon Estate, Ruth walking the coast of Scotland

Through the trees, I catch a glimpse of a large house. Is that Torridon House? I sneak a few photographs.

029 Torridon House, Ruth's coastal walk around Scotland

The rain eases. My track leads past some lakes, with water green and murky, where kayaks and canoes are pulled up on the grass.

030 boating lake, Torridon House, Ruth's coastal walk around Britain

I like the thought of water sports, but unless the water is crystal clear, and nice and warm… well, I’d rather stay on solid ground, thank you.

Onwards, down the track.

031 track to Inveralligin, Ruth walking the coast from Torridon, Scotland

I reach the end of the track where an old building – possibly an old chapel – has been converted into a modern residence. Here the track comes to an end.

032 renovated house, Torridon Estate, Ruth walking the coast of Scotland

I had been worried that there would be no path forward at this point, despite the route being designated a ‘Core Path’. So, I’m very relieved to see there is a very definite trail continuing on and running above the edge of the loch.

033 Path to Inveralligin, Ruth walking the coast from Torridon, Scotland

I come to a viewpoint where someone has placed a memorial bench (dedicated to Ken Leigh, by his wife) and find another hand-sanitiser station.

034 view point, Inveralligin, Ruth walking the coast from Torridon, Scotland

Deciding to take advantage of the bench, I sit down, and pull out my drinking bottle and some snacks. Oh, wait, I must have bought this snack bar in anticipation of my trip last year – the trip that was cancelled due to Lyme Disease.

Look at the sell-by date! But, I’m hungry, and it’s the only food I’ve got left in my box today. What should I do?

035 out of date snacks, Ruth walking the coast from Torridon, Scotland

I eat it, of course. Tastes fine.

A couple of walkers come along the path. They’re the first people I’ve seen since entering the Torridon estate, and they seem to hesitate for a moment as if wanting to stop, before walking past. I guess Covid makes it difficult to get close enough to a stranger for a chat.

It begins to rain again, so I hurriedly pack up and continue onwards. I’m approaching a place called Rechullin. The other walkers are well ahead of me by now.

036 Rechullin, Ruth walking the coast from Torridon, Scotland

At Rechullin, the path becomes a track, which becomes a road, and so from now on it’s easy walking along tarmac. I reach Inveralligin, where there are a number of cottages along the shore, as well as an old jetty.

037 Inveralligin, Ruth walking the coast from Torridon, Scotland

Inveralligin is a pretty place, but the light is really dull and my photographs don’t really do it justice. Luckily, the rain has eased off again.

This rustic kiosk claims to be selling fruit and veg, herbs and flowers. Self service. You are invited to “weigh, pay and takeaway”. It would be nice to have some fresh fruit for my walk tomorrow but, when I go to have a look inside the boxes, there’s nothing there.

038 Weigh, pay and take away, Inveralligin, Ruth walking the coast from Torridon, Scotland

I reach a point at which I could head off to the left and follow a Core Path that cuts closer to the loch. I should then rejoin the road system at a place called Alligin-Shuas.

But the path looks muddy and uninviting. Oh dear.

As I stand there dithering, it begins to spot with rain again. I make a decision. I’ve still got a few miles of walking to do, and I’m tired, and more rain is forecast for the rest of the day. Best to stick to the road.

So, begin a weary trudge uphill in the drizzle.

039 road up the hill, Inveralligin, Ruth walking the coast from Torridon, Scotland

I meet the main road at a T junction (“main road” being a relative concept here!). I had planned to turn right and walk back along the road to find my car, but, I realise if I turned left and continued on my trek, I would soon reach Diabaig. It’s only 4 miles away.

040 Inveralligin Junction, Ruth walking the coast from Torridon, Scotland

Only 4 miles… that would shorten tomorrow’s long walk… but then I’d have to walk back another 4 miles, and I’m still at least a couple of miles away from my car. So, another 10 miles… No, don’t be silly Ruth.

I do walk a little way along the road to Diabeg. This is partly to shorten the route tomorrow – which I know will be a challenging day – and partly because I want to find somewhere I can safely park my car in the morning.

At a bridge over a river, the Abhainn Alligin, the road widens as it curves. I realise I can reasonably leave my car here, with plenty of room for other cars to negotiate the bend.

041 bridge over Abhainn Alligin, Ruth walking the coast from Torridon, Scotland

I turn back along the road, anticipating an easy walk back to my car. Ahead I can see the turning to Inveralligin. All I need to do is carry straight on and I’ll soon reach the carpark above Torridon House.

042 very wet walk back to Torridon House car park, Ruth's coastal hike around Britain

I’ve only gone a few hundred yards when it starts to rain again. Heavy and hard. And this time the rain doesn’t stop. With water slicing into my face, and penetrating every chink in my clothing, the next hour is one of those miserable experiences where you ask yourself, “Why am I doing this? Why?”

Back in my self-catering lodge, I switch the central heating on and hang my damp clothes to dry on the radiators. It’s much harder to deal with wet clothing in a campervan. So, perhaps it’s just as well that I haven’t brought The Beast with me after all.


Miles walked today = 10 miles
Total distance around coast = 4,460 miles
Route:


About Ruth Livingstone

Walker, writer, photographer, blogger, doctor, woman, etc.
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19 Responses to 433 Annat, Torridon to Inveralligin

  1. tonyurwin says:

    Some lovely shots of the loch and lots of interesting small features along the way. When will be able to actually give our phones/cameras to complete strangers for some self pictures? That is alien to me since I started my walk last year.

    • Covid has changed our lives in so many ways, hasn’t it Tony? There are the big, obvious changes… and then there are all the small changes when you suddenly realise you can’t do something you took for granted before. Luckily, I have a timer on my camera, which is how I usually take my self-portraits.

  2. ourcrossings says:

    What a lovely place to explore on two wheels! I can’t wait for the weather conditions to improve in Sligo so we can start cycling again. It was snowing today which is crazy even for Ireland! Thanks for sharing and have a good day 😀 Aiva

  3. Eunice says:

    I really like these two walks, you went through some very pretty places especially on the first part. I love the large pic of the loch and the shot below it, that looks a beautiful place 🙂

  4. jcombe says:

    Just a few days apart! In 2019 I had intended to finish at Torridon but since I had time I did a little walk west along the road as far as the jetty and boat house on the shore just east of Torridon House. So when I could finally resume in 2020 I walked from Lower Diabaig to that house. Looking at my notes I did that walk on the 2nd August 2020 and from Torridon to Shieldaig on the 3rd August, which covered part of this walk you did. So we missed by 4 days! I parked at the car park just north of Torridon House (I suspect the one you used) and cycled to Lower Diabaig then walked back.

    We followed the same route for this I think, at least as far as the junction with the road to Inveralligin. Here I had come up from the dead-end road to the beach at “Ob a Bhraighe” (also marked as Camasdrol) from the “path” round from Lower Diabaig. In a lot places it was not much of a path. I am wondering if you went that way or stuck to the road (sounds like you may have gone round on the road, since you started off the way). Then I followed the road to Inveralligin and Rechullin and onwards along the track. Well I do remember trying to get down onto the beach by that converted chapel but when I met the river just west of the boat house, rather than turn back I opted to try and get through the undergrowth back to the track, which was tricky and involved climbing a fence. Not the best idea, in hindsight!

    I don’t remember noticing the Deer museum, though I think I passed it. I think there was a man about by the building (National Trust warden I expect) and I thought it was a house so I hurried on past. The “Countryside Centre” marked on the map (by the junction with the A896) was closed so you didn’t miss anything there!

    Anyway a lovely write up and glad to see you have been writing up your walks from last year, I look forward to reading your next installment!

    • Yes, I remember we joked about how we should meet up, but our timetables weren’t synchronised. You’re right about my route, yes, I did stick to the road. I read accounts of the other route and it sounded quite tricky. If I’d set off to do this section in March, as originally planned, when I was super fit from walking in the Canaries, well, I might have given it a go. But I might not have… I really am a coward.

  5. Thank you for taking us with you!

  6. Jayne says:

    Very sorry about the van, hope whatever was needed to pass the MOT got sorted quickly and without too much expense.

    Many years ago I enjoyed one of the best holidays of my life at Inveralligin. At the time the nearest “shop” was someone’s front room about 6 miles down the road towards Torridon, mobile phones hadn’t ben invented and it was a very quiet place. Every afternoon we watched a pair of otter bring massive sea trout onto the rocks, and were able to hide with binoculars and see these wonderful creatures eat their tea before they came onto land properly via a stream to wash the salt out of their coats. I would love to return there one day.

    Thank you for the lovely glimpse of how it is now.

    • What a coincidence about Inveralligin! It’s such a tiny place and miles from anywhere. I guess the nearest shop now is in Torridon. And how wonderful to have such great sightings of the sea otters.
      The Beast had a problem with his steering shaft, which needed replacing. The part was difficult to get and had to be shipped from Japan, so it cost me a fortune 😕 Sadly, he cost me a lot of money in 2020, and I didn’t even get to use him!

      • Jayne says:

        Ouch, so sorry about The Beast, fingers crossed you will get your money’s worth (so to speak) this year.

        I no longer find the many “coincidences” which regularly occur along the West Coast of Scotland particularly strange. 20 years back I had another brilliant holiday on the edge of Loch Sunart and stayed in a wonderful isolated log cabin up the smallest, roughest track you’ve ever seen. Moved to Cumbria, got chatting to another fell-walker and found she had stayed in the same cabin, probably the year after us . . .

  7. Karen White says:

    Another beautiful walk for you and lovely photos as always. Sorry about the rain spoiling the end of the day.
    Did you happen to watch the tv programme about The Torridon hotel – it was part of the Amazing Hotels series. What a fabulous place to stay!

  8. Robin Lucas says:

    Ruth,

    It’s good to find you back on the walk again, albeit before yet another lockdown or two. The Beast MOT failure, could it be a “CV joint boot” was split? That’s what my MPV usually fails on!

    The Deer Museum….a snippet from the Undiscovered Scotland website:-

    “A quarter of a mile along this track, a white building attached to a house is home to a Deer Museum. This is a detailed collection of artefacts associated with the management of deer, together with a large number of deer skulls, antlers and other relics of the animals themselves. The approach is fairly serious and scientific, and the aim is to provide an in depth background to the creatures in the field opposite (and scattered more widely over the surrounding landscape).”

    https://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/torridon/countrysidecentre/index.html

    • Hi Robin, I don’t know what a CV joint boot is, which is probably just as well! Sadly, the Beast had a problem with his steering shaft. He’s on his last chance now. Despite his devastating good looks, and my loving devotion, I have to accept he is 19 years old this year, and he may be heading for retirement 🥲
      Thank you for the info on the Deer Museum and for the link.

    • Calum says:

      Duncan Darroch was the landlord of Torridon estate at the very tail end of the Highland Clearances. Up until he bought the estate tenants were treated particularly badly even by Highland Clearances terms and had been restricted to a meager patch of land at Annat as the previous landlord wanted to farm sheep; Darroch wanted deer to stalk and was perfectly happy to rent out the arable land on the estate as crofts.

      I think what’s written on the stone should give a pretty clear idea of what the locals thought of him; saying he was well-liked in the area is something of an understatement.

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