434 Inveralligin to Craig’s Bothy (part 3)

[This walk took place on the 8th August, 2020]

I’m tired after my long hike out to Craig’s Bothy and back, followed by my trek up the road. But my day isn’t over yet. I need to join up with yesterday’s walk, which ended further down the road, at the bridge over the Abhainn Alligin, just above Inveralligin.

Having retrieved the Monster bike, I park my car, again, at the view point near the top of the pass.

A white campervan has pulled up beside me, and a couple get out. They watch as I heave my bike out of the car. “Good for you,” they say. Followed by, “You’re brave.”

“I’m only cycling a short distance downhill,” I tell them. “I’ll be walking back up, soon.”

Of course, I planned today’s trek around the principle that all the cycling I do must be downhill, but this section of road really is steep. And, I do mean STEEP. A series of hairpin bends to start off with. I’m aware of the couple watching me, as fight the feeling of fear in my stomach and climb onto the Monster.

Squeeze the brakes with both hands – set off – wobble a bit – try to feel “brave”…

…and don’t let go of the brakes until I’ve reached the bridge at the bottom.

Brave? Hardly. My hands are cramping with the effort of pulling on the brakes, and my legs feel like partially-set jelly. But, I’m mightily relieved to have got down that hill in one piece.

I decide I definitely prefer walking to cycling.

With shaky hands, I wheel the Monster bike off the road, and hide him in a field. The horrible thing will have a lovely view while he waits for me to return to pick him up again.

I set off to walk back up the road to the top of the hill.

Soon, I come across a sign that says “unsuitable for caravans”, just past a turn-off to Wester Alligin. Where’s Wester Alligin?

I pull out my OS map. No “Wester Alligin” is marked, but somewhere called Alligin Shuas instead. (As I’ve discovered, OS maps are surprisingly inaccurate about place names in this part of Scotland!)

If the weather had been better yesterday, I would have walked along the shore a little further, and come up this road. I look down towards Wester Alligin (or Alligin Shuas). Can’t see much. Ruined walls, a few cottages in the distance, and the shining water of Loch Torridon beyond.

I always wonder about the places I haven’t been – the paths I didn’t take – and sometimes make a resolution to come back and visit them another day, when I’ve finished my round-the-coast trek. Here’s another one to add to the list.

Cross over a cattle grid, and continue up the road. My legs are tired now, and I stop constantly to rest take photographs. Love the orange-red colour of the roof of this little cottage.

These painted roofs are a common feature in this part of the highlands, and provide a gentle contrast to the muted colours of the scenery.

Here’s another little cottage… more of a hut really…

…oh, it’s something to do with Scottish Water. A water pumping station?

The road is getting steeper. Oh, my poor, tired legs. Thank goodness this day is nearly over. I’m nearly there.

High above me is a ridge. I search it for a glimpse of my car… and notice a couple of figures appear to be sitting on a bench near the viewpoint.

When I stop for another breather, I zoom in with my camera and take a very poor photo against the sun. Yes, definitely a couple of figures on the bench. Hope they’re not watching my slow progress up this road.

I stop again on the last corner, and turn around to look back at Loch Torridon. What a view!

Onwards. Nearly there.

I can see my car. Just this one, last, steep bit to climb.

When I get to the top, the couple with the campervan were walking back from the bench. Yes, they had been watching my slow progress up the hill. “We watched you climbing back up,” they said. “Well done.”

I take one last photo of that first, terrifying bend. Yes. Well done, me. Another difficult section completed.

Tomorrow I’m driving round to Red Point, which is a surprisingly long distance away by road. From there, I’ll walk back to Craig’s Bothy. Another there-and-back walk, but the only way I could see of tackling this section.

I’m worrying about tomorrow already. Why? Can’t be tougher than today.

Miles walked today = 14.5 miles (and 5+ miles cycled)

Total distance around coast = 4,474.5 miles

Route: (black line was part 1, red line, part 2, green line is part 3, this section):

About Ruth Livingstone

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

31 Responses to 434 Inveralligin to Craig’s Bothy (part 3)

  1. tonyurwin says:

    Some stunning views Ruth. One to look forward to!

  2. jcombe says:

    Well you had a lovely day for it. I remember cycling, well trying to cycle that road. I parked at the little car park just north of Torridon House and then cycled to Lower Diabaig though I remember pushing the bike for probably about the half way, much too steep! And of course I then had to drive that road later to get the bike back. Then I walked around the coast to Inveralligin and back to the car park. In fact that was my first new coastal walk last year, I seem to remember we only did it a few days apart. It’s tough walking around there, but exceptionally beautiful, as you pictures show.

  3. Angela John says:

    You were very, very brave to cycle DOWN that road. Well done you!

  4. Eunice says:

    I love the view of Loch Torridon from the last corner, it looks fabulous 🙂

  5. Trish Land says:

    Having followed your log I must say you are getting even fitter. Well done

  6. I also prefer walking to cycling. I bought an electric bike in the middle of First Lockdown and promptly sold it again

    • Ruth says:

      I do prefer my electric bike, but the van was in the garage and the bike was just too heavy to lift in and out of the boot of my car. Yay for walking!

  7. robin massey says:

    Thanks Ruth, lovely to read and see your adventures!

  8. Karen White says:

    My heart lifted this morning to see a new post from you. I’d just started on making bread and it had to wait until I’d read about your latest walk. Goodness, I couldn’t do that hill but the views were amazing. Going down the hill on your bike sounds terrifying!

  9. Mike Otoka says:

    Well done Ruth… we’ve nearly done the south & eastern part of the uk from Minehead to Boston with just a few gaps to fill in… so when I retire mid August we are going to be looking at parts of the coast that are a bit further afield…. so I love your blog and the insights & tips it gives. Thanks & all the best

    • Hi Mike, thank you for your kind words about my blog. You’ve achieved a fair amount yourself and will be able to do some great walking trips after you retire. Best wishes, Ruth

  10. 5000milewalk says:

    I wrote the other day on my blog that steep hills never look as steep on a photograph…. but that hill looks *really* steep! Lovely photos Ruth.

  11. JohnBoy says:

    Hi Ruth. You seem to have an excellent memory for detail when you write up each days walk, especially when it’s been so many months since you walked a section. I’m interested whether you makes notes along the way or at the end of the day, or use plenty of photographs to jog your memory. Or is it that you just have the sort of memory that just remembers every twist and turn of a route, what you observed and the individual conversations?

    • Ruth says:

      I take dozens of photos, and those, along with the OS map, really helps to jog my memory. I also find myself thinking “must remember that!” Because I know I will be writing up the walk later. I do make some notes – on the map!

  12. Russell says:

    Hi Ruth – maybe you should get Hawley’s of Stamford to look at those brakes- it us the 1970″s isn’t it!!
    I am sitting in a Dartmouth pub looking across the sunny estuary having just walked from Salcombe to Torcross let’s hope were all back up and Walking – Cheers Russ

  13. tonyhunt2016 says:

    Be careful with prolonged braking downhill. Done too hard for too long can lead to brake-fade, and no brakes at all! The technique I developed in the Alps was to release the brakes regularly on straight bits and brake hard before the corners. That way, the rims and blocks had opportunities to cool, and wind resistance at speed absorbed some of the energy, leaving less of it to be absorbed by the brakes. So much for an engineer’s approach.

  14. Jayne says:

    I remember those stunning views across Loch Torridon from a holiday (many years ago) in Inveralligin. I also remember driving down that tiny steep road. It was just as terrifying driving back UP it!

    I wish I could think up an alternative for you to the dreaded Monster . . .

  15. Calum says:

    Egads, cycling down the Bank a Mor? Braver than me!

    That hill has killed multiple vehicles. I don’t know of many that went off the bottom – though that big rock at the western end of that crash barrier was moved a couple of hundred feet downhill to its current location by a lorry that’d lost its brakes at an opportune moment on the way out from delivering supplies to the now-gone fishfarm that used to use Diabaig schoolhouse as a shore station – several (including a Transit van property of my father) have overheated to the point of blowing their engines trying to get up it.

I welcome your views

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