[This walk was completed on the 11th August 2020]
In a little hamlet, called Badachro, there is a car park marked with a blue [P] on my OS map. I can’t find the car park at first, and drive aimlessly along the same 200 yards of road several times – before I eventually discover the little parking spot. It’s down a steep track and right beside the sea.
Safely parked, I haul my Monster bike out the boot…
…kick the damn thing several times before I finally get it to unfold itself, and set off pedalling back towards Opinan, where I leave the bike near the beach, chained to a barbed wire fence.
Funny how driving along here earlier the road felt pretty flat, but you get a different perspective on a bike. I confess I did have to get off and push, several times, when the gradient defeated me.
At times like this, I really wish I had my electric bike (the wonderful Scooty) with me, but my van has failed its MOT and is in the garage awaiting repairs. Although I can heave Scooty into the back of the van, I simply can’t fit him into the boot of my car. So, I’ve had to make do with bringing the Monster bike instead. Heavy and shy of hills. Such an annoying bike!
Now, time for the second part of today’s walk, which begins with a steep climb up the hill and out of Opinan.
At the top, I look back down towards the lovely beach where I spent some time relaxing yesterday. Pull out my camera to catch the view, but I’m looking almost straight into the sun, and the photograph is disappointing.
The view inland is quite beautiful. This is flattish, grazing land, with the mountains of the Torridon range forming a dramatic backdrop to the green fields and white cottages.
I haven’t got far when there is a rumbling sound behind me. I step off the road, expecting to see a tractor go past, but it’s the roadworks van from earlier in the day. They must have finished repairing the tarmac.
After meandering gently up and down along high ground at the top of the hill, the road drops away. There’s the sea again, with the town of Gairloch sprawling on the far side of the water.
I pass a lovely modern house. Maybe a converted barn, although I’m sure nothing much remains of the original structure. Love the timber cladding and I’m also sure there are huge windows on the other side of the building, designed to catch that beautiful view.
This area of scattered houses is called Port Henderson, which makes me think there is a sheltered bay just below, but I can’t see for certain, because the road runs high and keeps some distance from the water’s edge.
Onwards. It’s all road walking today, but I don’t mind because it’s such a beautiful road.
There’s another house I wouldn’t mind living in – perched just above the water. Love the red roofs.
As I’m leaving Port Henderson, I spot a phone booth and a bus shelter. Most public transport in Scotland seems to have stopped due to Covid, so when I see a notice in the window of the shelter, I go to take a look.
The notice isn’t about bus times, but about a “hand sanitizer refill station” instead. This puzzles me for a moment, until I work out that the community must have clubbed together to buy an industrial amount of sanitizer. It’s in short supply in the shops, and there are no local shops here anyway, so what a good idea!
The phone in the phone booth is working too.
Just beyond the bus shelter, I find a bus. A bus! Probably only does the school run and I’m not sure if schools in Scotland are back yet, and if they are, whether the buses are running or not. Everything is uncertain in these COVID days.
Anyway, this bus is going nowhere at the moment. It’s parked up and out of action.
Ahead is a pretty cottage, which is even marked on my map, and is called the “Red House”, although technically it’s the roof that is red, not the house. It overlooks a lovely little inland loch – Loch Bad na h-Achlaise. What a name.
Here I meet a family out for a walk. the group does seem a little odd. Mum, dog, and young cyclist look ready for action, but the three teenagers seem less keen.
I think walking is something you enjoy as you get older. I was never keen on ‘going for a walk’ when I was young. Just didn’t see the point to it.
This loch really is beautiful. Serene.
A little further along the road, I come across a broken down vehicle, with a man waiting disconsolately beside it. Waiting for the repair man, or for a tow, no doubt.
Then the penny drops. The group I saw earlier were his family. They’ve obviously abandoned him, although exactly where they think they’re going to walk to, I don’t know.
Well, if you have to break down, this a pretty nice place to do it.
Just past the end of the loch, the road drops down toward the sea shore. It’s beautiful here too. I always love the golden colour of the seaweed on the rocks, and the contrast with the deep green of the trees.
I see there’s an island in the bay, joined to the mainland by a causeway, with a house on it. Eilean Tioram, says my map. What a wonderful place to live. Tioram? I’ve come across that name before… somewhere… yes, when I walked to Castle Tioram, on Loch Moidart.
[Later, an internet search shows this island with the English variation of its name – Dry Island – and it’s available for holiday bookings.]
The road runs along the edge of this lovely little bay, which forms a sheltered harbour for a number of pleasure boats. Sadly, the sun disappears behinds clouds, and my photographs are less than inspiring. You’ll have to take my word for it. It’s beautiful.
I’ve reached Badachro. Neat cottages, and a splendid sign for the Badachro Inn. You can only just make out the parking sign [P], which is hidden from view by the pub sign. That explains why I took so long to find the car park earlier.
Love the blue of these hydrangeas. I have some in my garden in Manchester, but they’re always pink, due to the soil having a higher PH. Blue hydrangea flowers bloom where the soil is slightly acid. I’m not sure if this is natural for this region, or whether the gardener has added something to the soil to achieve this striking colour.
Down the track to the car park, and there’s my car waiting for me.
I take a few moments to walk along to the pub. It’s a nice position beside the shore, if slightly spoiled by the marquee and the traffic cones.
Anyway, I’m not going to have a drink here. Firstly, I’m not sure if the pub is open and, secondly, the fear of Covid makes me very nervous about being anywhere close to strangers. Also, I’m driving, and must go back to collect the Monster Bike from Opinan.
Miles walked today = 8.5 miles, although 2 of these were in the wrong direction!
Total around coast = 4,493.5 miles
Route: black this morning, red this afternoon