Day 196: Glenuig to Peanmeanach Bothy

Distance: 12.50 miles

Ascent: 2200 feet

Weather: Light Rain & SUnny Spells

Accommodation: Peanmeanach Bothy


I woke up in the village hall absolutely boiling, for some reason I had thought I’d need my sleeping bag which I definitely didn’t. I had a nice cup of tea and slowly got ready. Even though the forecast said dry the sky definitely looked ominous. So, I had formulated a plan that once ready I would walk to the bus shelter (the one with Wi-fi by the little shop) and if it was dry and didn’t look to ominous I would carry on, if it was raining or very ominous I would sit in the shelter and get yesterday’s diary done and try and do some other admin and ride out the rain.

It started to rain literally as I reached the bus shelter so I took shelter and got on with the admin. It was a good decision as the rain got very heavy but after a little more than an hour it eased off and I decided to get going.

By the time I was on the move the rain has stopped completely though the sky still seemed quite ominous. The first 8 miles of today were on the A861, which meant for a slightly monotonous patch, though the views in parts were very nice.

As part of my planning notes I had written that I needed to inspect the other side of the Loch from this side to see if the shoreline was walkable or whether I would have to go up and over the ridge. Fortunately, it was clear and obvious that the shoreline was not walkable, and I say fortunate because it was clearly so and not something I would decide was OK and then regret. Eventually I did come to the end of the A861, though for the next mile I was actually on a bigger road the A830 but it did have a wide verge. In fact, I will be following that road a lot tomorrow which may not be to fun.

Just after crossing the end of the loch I dropped down a track to Polnish (presumably a ruined village). It was now fully off piste and my first challenge was to climb up to the top of the ridge which involved climbing from loch level up to 250m over a very short distance and across uneven, boggy ground. I was absolutely exhausted by the time I got to the top and as occasionally happens I wondered if I was less fit now than at the beginning, and then told myself I wouldn’t have been brave enough to tackle this section at the beginning of the walk.

Once at the top the views were stunning, it felt as high as Ben Nevis even though I was a 1000m lower. For navigation I was ensuring I kept 3 small lochs to my right and stuck to the ridge line for a while before dropping steeply down beside a stream and aiming for the eastern edge of Loch Doire a Ghearrain. This was a much larger Loch and once I got around to its southern side, I had to aim for a little sort of valley between 2 ridges. I was now not that far from Peanmeanach Bothy and had heard that it was not easy to find wood near the bothy so as I was passing a little woodland I strapped 4 medium size dead logs (slightly damp from the rain) onto my backpack. This made it noticeably heavier, but I was sure I would appreciate it later.

As I went between the peaks I could see all the way down to the bothy which looked so remote and beautiful just of the beach. I had a steep hike down but finally made it and I was the only one there at this point. I decided to try and find some more wood and returned with not a lot though hopefully enough to keep the fire alight for a few hours. Then I headed out to fill a container with some stream water. On returning I lit the fire and used the clever little swinging arm to boil the stream water vigorously for 10 minutes and also placed my shoes and socks by the fire as they had got a bit wet wading through the long grass and boggy sections.

The bothy is nice with a little sort of twin room and fire, and a loft sleeping area upstairs and then a lounge area with a fire. I had considered getting some mussels to cook but had seen a warning on the other side of the loch about some poisonous algae making it dangerous to eat the mussels at the moment.

A random kayak with sail pulled up on the beach and I though he was going to come up but then he seemed to change his mind and paddled off and bizarrely a person out for what must be a very hard trail run skirted by. It was a shame because I was fancying some company tonight for some reason, which is strange because normally I’m alright in my own company. On top of that, as expected, no signal so weirdly a bit lost for what to do this evening but given its’s already 7pm whilst I’m typing this not overly long till I can go to sleep anyway. I cooked my pasta over an open fire and I am now looking forward to a cup of coffee and a real treat a sticky marmalade tealoaf that I have been saving for tonight!

A day I was apprehensive about because my approach to the bothy was completely off piste with no paths at all, but it was really successful, and I really enjoyed that stretch. I am very glad to be getting to Mallaig tomorrow because it will be my first proper extended rest indoors for 2 weeks and my first place to stock up on some of the more long-term stuff like gas cannisters etc.

NB – having now eaten half the sticky marmalade tealoaf it is excellent!

charles compton