After lunch, I follow the footpath back to the shore of Poll Creadha bay. Joining the road again, I head left towards Rubadubdub – sorry, Aird-Dhubh. On the way, I turn off to visit a slipway, where a not-very-necessary sign warns me my non-existent car might fall into the water.
I’ve reached Applecross and, following my rules, I should just turn northwards and follow the coastal road up to Sheildaig and Torridon. Instead, I decide to walk to the most southernmost point I can reach along footpaths, to the base of the Applecross peninsula, and work my way northwards from there.
I leave my van in the campsite, and ride my Scooty down the road to Toscaig, and chain him up at the beginning of today’s walk.
I shrug my rucksack back on, and turn away from the Bealach na Bà viewpoint. Despite the lack of an actual view, I do feel an intense sense of achievement. This particular section of the walk has been worrying me for ages, but I’ve conquered the pass and one of the most difficult parts of the N500 route.
I stand beside the village shop in Kishorn, and watch the minibus disappear down the road with a mix of excitement and trepidation. No backing out now. I’m committed to walking up the Applecross road, and over the infamous Bealach na Bà pass.
When I reach Loch Reraig on my return walk, I don’t retrace my footsteps and follow the footpath signed towards Leacanashie. Instead, I keep going straight along the track, and soon cross over the Reraig Burn via a low bridge.
I stand on the bridge and take a photograph. The burn meanders in lazy curves to join the waters of Loch Reraig. So beautiful.
Today, I plan to follow a Core Path that links the dead-end road at Ardaneaskan with the dead-end road at Achintraid. It’s going to be a there-and-back walk. The final descent to Achintraid is supposed to be tricky – involving a slippery rock and a piece of rope!
I decide to start my walk at the difficult end, and walk the “wrong” way first, just to make sure I can get through.
In fact, the climb out of Achintraid is much easier than I expect, and the views from the top are wonderful. That’s Loch Kishorn below. Over on the far hills I can see a road winding up a steep valley.
It’s raining by the time I pack up my lunch and leave Strome Castle. I walk back to the T junction, and turn right towards Lochcarron. It’s not wet enough to pull on my waterproofs. Put my head down. March through the drizzle.