Day 232: Ullapool to Altandhu
Distance: 21.80 miles
Ascent: 4535 feet
Weather: OVercast, Light Rain, Sunny Spells
Accommodation: Camping Port A Bhaig Campsite (kindly Complimentary)
I had a feeling that today was going to be hard, in fact I knew it would be as I had underestimated the ascent and descent on one part during initial planning and I couldn’t really reduce the mileage from the 24 miles due to shops etc. later in the week. So, I left fairly early around 7am, which would also help regards the weather which was meant to get much worse later in the afternoon.
I left Ullapool on a riverside path and then joined a road for the next 4 miles which was very quiet at this time in the morning. Near Keanchulish House I wanted to cut across on a path or track to the river and fortunately there was a gate (very old, looked like unused in a long time) so I went through and it was a bit overgrown until suddenly I was right by someone’s house and then had to sneak along the deer fence to a little bridge that took me onto a track shown on my map. This track took me all the way to the river and then up to the estate track across it.
After a small amount more estate track, I joined the start of the Posties Trail. The official guidance is that ‘this route is a serious undertaking with treacherous sections. We have been informed that the way is not always clear… Allow more time than you expect.’ In fact this path used to be the only route between Ullapool & Achilitibuie, and when a regular postal service was set up in 1860 the postman used to walk this way and when a school was set up the kids had to walk some of this route on there way to school. They must have been hardy because this is not an easy section, in fact it is a bit like the SWCP in terms of constant ascents and descents, with the occasional rock scrambles and even the occasional recent rockfalls to make for interesting sections. It was knackering and unfortunately there was a bit of rain so I put my camera away though it didn’t last long. Also unfortunately even though I was tired I couldn’t stop as I would be attacked by midges so I just kept on going. This path was brilliantly conceived all those years ago and based on some minor recent work (and apparently more to come) it is a proper path and though tough makes for an exhilarating walk.
At one point the path heads up a river to get to a good ford point and the wind had increased a bit and there was a cluster of rocks half way across which I decided to risk eating my lunch on as I thought the midge situation might be better and amazingly it worked as there were almost no midges at all.
From here the path began to flatten out as it went near Culnacraig and I rejoined a quiet lane at Achduart. I followed the road through several villages, picked up a few supplies at Achilitibutie and then dropped down a tiny lane to Dornie. I believed there was a core path from here to Old Dornie a mile and a half away and indeed there was and it was actually a very nice path that ended by the jetty.
Fortunately, the weather had held off since the light showers earlier and after following the road from Old Dornie I reached Althandu where I would be staying. Port a Bhaigh campsite had kindly let me pitch for free and even kinder gave me a lovely dinner and dessert for free as well in the Fuaran Bar. This was so kind of them and will set me up for the rest of a tough week. I had several nice chats with other people on the campsite.
In the bar I bumped into the support crew for Ross Edgley’s swim around the whole of Britain which you may have seen on the news recently. It was really interesting chatting to them about the logistics, and hats of to him it sounds absolutely brutal what he is doing. You never know, if our routes coincide close enough in the next few days we may even meet each other on board the boat.
Anyway a good first day of a tough week, now just got to sprint to my tent from the main hut as it is tipping down with strong winds outside.