Day 221: Plockton to Lochcarron
Distance: 16.72 miles
Ascent: 3494 feet
Weather: Overcast But Mainly Dry
Accommodation: Wee Campsite, lochcarron
I had been sleeping well last night but I woke at 4am and the rain was unbelievable, pounding against the tent. This would be a good test of how waterproof the tent still was and fortunately it stood up very well. It took me a while to go back to sleep but finally I did and did not rewake up till gone 7.
I seemed to be a bit faffy this morning, and after heading down the road for the facilities and sitting on a bench and admiring the very mystical cloudy view out over the loch it was gone 8:30 by the time I left. The forecast for today was almost perfect for walking; dry, overcast and with a gentle breeze.
After leaving the town I joined a lovely little path that followed the edge of the loch before climbing up and joining the quiet road behind Duncraig Castle. I made fast progress on this road, and quickly covered the 3 miles to Achmore. Unfortunately from this point I would be joining the faster and busier A890, this was not an exciting prospect and I would be following it for about 9 miles bar a small section I may be able to detour from it.
My possible small section off the road was after about 500m where I believed I could take a dead end forest track and then hopefully at the end drop down the slope through the fir forest down to another forest track below. I reached the dead end easily and then started the attempted descent, the first half was easy as the fir trees didn’t have to many low branches and spaced wide enough apart but towards the bottom they were younger and more dense but with a bit of pushing I made it through and reached the bottom track. I had a little break here sat on the steps of a large rolling machine.
Unfortunately, the track did not take me as far as I had hoped (about 1 km shorter) but it had still reduced my distance on the busy road. The next mile or so was horrible before due to the rock face the road became single track with passing places and made for more comfortable walking. I came across something very unusual for the UK an avalanche shelter for the road and railway due to presumably a vulnerable section of rockface.
Not long after this the road returned to full width and after the climb up from Attadale I took a little snack break near an old viewpoint. I was thinking how not many people must walk this road and then on turning round and returning to the road there was a group of 8 walkers marching up the road. It turns out that the Cape Wrath Trail joins this road for a couple of miles and I joined their group thinking there was safety in numbers. The head of their group had a much more direct approach not even walking on the verge but directly on the road and putting his walking stick out if cars got to close, in reality this method works much better and is much quicker than either hopping on and of the verge or walking the verge the whole way. I left them at a café, and several of them kindly gave me donations and one even took a picture of my boots which was a first. They will get to Cape Wrath probably a week before me due to my wiggly coastline.
Not long after this I reached Strathcarron and from here the road was fine. I took a path across the loch head though was a little worried how I would get across the ford after the rain this morning but I needn’t have worried and actually laughed to myself when I got to the crossing point, as there was a temporary tractor bridge, a pedestrian bridge and stepping stones on top of the ford (see photo below), never have I had so many options.
I rejoined the road and made good progress, including a quick snack stop, to Lochcarron only a couple of miles away. I had done the long day to Broadford the other day with the intention of extending through Lochcarron today to make tomorrow easier, but with my rest day still not sorted I decided it was more important to stop in Lochcarron and use the time to try and get something sorted for the rest day.
I pitched in the Wee Campsite and then as I am remote tomorrow had to stock up on supplies before beginning my bizarrely complex situation of finding somewhere for my rest day (which is still work in progress as I sit here typing this.)
I can't deny that for only the second time of the walk I feel a bit down about missing something this weekend and it has made me feel a bit lonely but that will be gone by the morning.
A simple day, where the weather behaved and the clouds made the scenery look amazing.