435 Craig’s Bothy to Red Point

[This walk took place on the 9th August, 2020]

Because of the logistics of this part of the coast, I’ve decided to split the walk to Red Point into two sections, with two separate there-and-back walks. Yesterday, I walked to Craig’s Bothy from Lower Diabaig, and back again. Today, I’m walking onwards from the bothy to Red Point.

I start from the rickety bridge that crosses over the Craig River, just below the bothy.

Of course, in order to get to the bridge, I’ve actually already walked here from Red Point. So, when I reach the bridge, I’m hot and tired, and desperate for a drink and some lunch. But, no sooner have I slung my rucksack off my back… but the dreaded midges surround me.

No chance to rest. I must immediately set off back to Red Point.

Several coastal walkers have described not being able to find the route out of Craig’s Bothy, and being forced to clamber up and down dangerously steep cliffs. They’re right, the path from the bridge is very indistinct. The clearest route seems to head straight up the slope and out of the valley, but luckily, having just walked here, I know that’s the wrong way to go.

I turn left, and battle my way through overgrown bushes and between the crowding trunks of young trees. Basically, I’m following the route of the river back down to the sea.

After a while, I emerge from the bushes, and now the path can be seen more distinctly.

I look back up the river towards Craig’s Bothy, and can just see its roof. I know the bothy is well used, and it must be a welcome sight for tired walkers coming this way.

Onwards. I follow the path down to the shore, where I climb up onto the top of a large, flat rock. It’s a scramble, but worth it, because up here there is a welcome breeze to deter the midges. Now I can eat my lunch in peace. What a view!

After my lunch, I drop down to the path, and haven’t gone very far, when I realise I’ve left my phone behind. (That’s twice in two days!) Hastily, I climb back to the rock. There it is…

…I really am turning into a doolally old lady!

From now onwards, the rest of the walk is straightforward. All I have to do is follow the path as it runs above the shore. And I can clearly make out the bright sands of Red Point in the distance.

I should be enjoying this walk. The weather is fine, the midges are kept away by the breeze, and I can see across the bright water to the Isle of Sky and the islands of the Outer Hebrides.

But I confess I find this walk a bit of a slog. The view over the sea is lovely, but the landscape is rather monotonous. Walking along a slope means there is no inland view – just the slope, the grass, the path, and scattered rocks.

Sometimes, there is the excitement of crossing a stream. I edge across the stepping stones – and try not to think too hard about the cliff just below – where the stream tumbles down in a steep waterfall.

But, mostly, the path is a dull one. Its surface is just uneven enough to make you keep a constant eye on your feet (instead of on the view), and yet straightforward enough to be… well, rather boring, to be honest.

Of course, I’ve had to do this section TWICE.

Ah, the excitement of another stream to cross.

At least the sea is calm and beautiful. Gleaming water. A lonely ship makes it’s way across the shining surface. Fishing? Or carrying cargo? I can’t tell from here.

Red Point is getting closer. I’m nearly there. Just an area of landslip to negotiate around.

Hello sheep.

Oh look, another waterfall.

This stream is tricky to cross – I remember it from my way here this morning. Yes, I could easily wade through, but I want to keep my feet dry..

…so I scramble across the stones at the top of the fall – rather closer to the steep drop than I would prefer.

It’s the last significant barrier on the path to Red Point. Definitely closer now. It’s 5pm, and the sun is low, shining in my eyes, and making photography difficult.

I look back at the way I’ve come. Yes, it’s a pretty featureless sweep of coastline. I can just make out the darker line on the other side of the bay – which marks the river valley where the Craig River runs down to the sea.

The sunlight is patchy, but the beach at Red Point always seems to be glowing. I’m so close, I can even see people walking on the sand.

As the path drops lower, I come down to the shore, and pick my way between the rocks that lie tumbled over the foreshore.

Another stream to cross, the last barrier before Red Point.

There are some ruined fishing cottages beside the shore, and an impromptu camping site. I guess they have the permission of the farmer, as the only vehicular access to this place is through the farmyard and via the farm tracks. What a lovely spot.

I climb higher to get back onto a farm track, and to avoid disturbing the campers.

Unfortunately, the fields on either side of the track are filled with my least-favourite animal. Cows.

The photo above might give the illusion that I’m safely behind a fence, but in fact there are frequent gaps in the fencing, and several young calves on THIS side of the barrier.

I see a couple of walkers ahead of me, and hurry to catch up with them. Safety in numbers.

I get past the cattle without incident, walk to the end of the farm track, and join the end of the public road.

When I parked here this morning, there were only a few cars in the car park at the end of the road. It’s full now!

I wait patiently while someone packs up their tent, right in front of my car. A couple of older ladies are walking around with a large black bin-bag and picking up rubbish.

“Disgusting what people leave,” one of them says, poking at the tinfoil tray of a discarded barbecue. “Some even leave their tents behind!”

We are in the brief lull between lock-downs due to Covid, and I guess many people are holidaying in the UK. It must be very irritating for the locals to have their beautiful places spoiled by thoughtless visitors.

Miles walked today = 9 miles there-and-back. No distance at all really, and no cycling involved!

Total distance around coast = 4,483.5 miles


About Ruth Livingstone

Walker, writer, photographer, blogger, doctor, woman, etc.
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17 Responses to 435 Craig’s Bothy to Red Point

  1. tonyurwin says:

    It would appear that we are both equally adept at leaving our phones behind. A rock is preferable to a bus!

  2. Russell White says:

    Hi Ruth – Losing mobiles – It’s infectious for walkers. Very recently I left my phone on a bench in Stoke Flemming while walking through to Dartmouth. After a 20 minute jog back it was no where in sight, so despondently I popped into the village post-office and “John the Veg” had spotted it and handed it in – the kindness and honesty made my week in Devon. Cheers Russ

  3. John Bainbridge says:

    Camping in Scotland, away from houses, is legal under the Land Reform Act.

    • Yes, but they would have had to use the farmer’s private tracks, and it just seemed a bit close to the farm. Although, in reality, it was 100s of yards away.

      • John Bainbridge says:

        But of course, under the Land Reform Act, they might have complete right to roam on the track. Only the immediate policies of a house are excluded under the Scottish legislation.

      • John Bainbridge says:

        Obviously, if they drove there they shouldn’t have used the track, but any non-motorised access is permissible.

  4. 5000milewalk says:

    I get bored sometimes too on my walks, like the last one along a shingle beach near Maryport that just went on and on. Certainly having to watch your step continuously doesn’t help, but I think a lot is just down to the mood I’m in on the day. A there-and-back walk must be twice as boring too!
    Your photos are pretty and it’s not boring reading about your boredom anyway 😊

    • It’s funny how our internal mood can really affect the day. I’d had just a glorious walk the day before… I think it was an anticlimax. And the midges didn’t help 🙄

  5. Karen White says:

    I looks lovely even if you thought it was a bit boring. I’m glad you realised about your phone before you’d gone a long way. I agree with those two ladies about the disgusting rubbish some people leave behind them. Living in the New Forest and also being fairly close to the coast we see this behaviour frequently. Whatever happened to my mum’s mantra of “take your rubbish home with you if there isn’t a bin”. I always abide by it and wish others would too. The filth left on the beaches last summer was truly a disgrace – the authorities, together with volunteers, removed more than three tons of rubbish after one weekend.

    • It’s horrible to leave rubbish for others to clear up. I think Covid had meant a lot of inexperienced townies have gone on rural visits. So, on an optimistic note, maybe people will gradually learn how to behave in the countryside? The parks in Manchester were often left in a terrible state too. 😡

  6. Jayne says:

    I think it’s extremely honest of you to admit that some walks are not fun, some are just a slog. Social media would have us believe that every single trip outdoors is a Wonderful! Uplifting! Life-Enhancing! experience whereas in truth, if you walk often enough, some of them are just not a huge amount of fun.

    As for the rubbish left in beautiful places, grrrr . . . living in the Lake District just don’t get me started on the selfish gits who turn up, leave their trash and bugger off again. 😡🤬🤯

  7. robin massey says:

    Thanks for another lovely post Ruth.

  8. jcombe says:

    I guess we each experience things differently. I really enjoyed that walk, despite being there and back. I think there was also an aspect of the sense of accomplishment having done it, as I knew this would be a tough walk.

    I think you need to attach a bit of string to your phone so you can tie it round your neck!

    I do agree if walking west from Craig Bothy the path is hard to find. I knew the way because I came that way earlier but I seem to remember you had a good track initially then had to turn left or right climbing over a boulder and that point is not obvious coming the other way (since you don’t get a track forming in a boulder).

    As to that full car park I’m finding that a lot unfortunately now. I think with wild camping allowed come late afternoon many rural car parks are full with people either “camping” in motor homes or parking up to camp in a tent.

  9. Not sure how much further you have actually got but you are making great progress on the west coast, especially considering your frequent requirement to trek back and forth. I do hope you will be able to get back there and keep socking it to those midges.

  10. Chris Elliott says:

    Ruth – walking so far you are bound to have off days. Who wouldn’t? You can’t always be full of enthusiasm. I can assure you from your photographs it was a beautiful walk. I did it in pouring rain where the burns were raging torrents, and the views diddly squat. So I too found it a slog. What kept me motivated was knowing I had a lovely dinner in the evening to look forward to, as it was my birthday treat to myself! Thanks for pointing out the path. It took me about a mile to find it! All the best. Hope you’re back in Scotland soon.

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