Day 229: Laide to Badrallach
Distance: 20.84 miles
Ascent: 2972 feet
Weather: Very Windy, SOme Rain, SUnny SPells Late Afternoon
Accommodation: Badrallach Bothy
There had been a fair old breeze last night, but as I had known it would be windy I pitched my tent in a very sheltered spot and slept well. The forecast was quite ominous for today with some forecasts showing winds of just shy of 50mph. I packed up and was off and at this point the wind was strong but not too bad.
I would be on the same road for most of today and the first two villages I passed were strangely called First Coast and Second Coast. There was intermittent drizzle and rain but nothing too bad. After these the road started to wind up into some lovely hills but this was accompanied by a significant increase in wind speed. In fact, strong enough that I was being battered sideways by the gusts and actually had to be a bit careful as any cars passed. From the highest point there were amazing views over Little Gruinard, a beautiful sandy beach which would be perfect for wild camping.
I was a bit sheltered as I dropped down to the beach which was very welcome, and in fact as I began to climb out of the bay I was still sheltered for a while and the rain was still not too bad. But as I reached a little car park and viewpoint suddenly I was battered by the wind, it was so hard to just stand still without being blown sideways. But the view with the sun attempting to come through making lovely hazy rays down Loch Broom was stunning.
I should, based on my plot, have actually dropped down off piste a couple of hundred meters from here and onto another track for a few hundred meters but for the first time on the entire walk I forgot to take a turning, in reality it made very little difference (in fact no difference) I would have been 200m closer to the coast for less than 500m.
From here I was on the road for several miles more before reaching Dundonnell. The hotel/bar had said I could pitch outside. With a shorter mileage and easy walking I had actually arrived before 1pm. When the receptionist showed me where to pitch I instantly knew in this weather it was unpitchable. This was not due to the ground which was perfect, but it was right at the head of the loch with nothing to shelter behind and given I could barely stand still due to the fierce wind there was no way I could pitch here. I decided to grab a tea and try and use Wi-fi to do yesterdays diary and then move on. The Wi-fi (apparently due to the wind) was very slow so after 30 minutes I headed off with the aim of getting to Badrallach about 5/6 miles away which would help shorten tomorrow as well.
I headed through Kappoch Farm with the hope of finding a bridge across the river which was not shown on my map but from aerial shots I believed existed. And when I got to it, what a bridge very Heath Robinson a timber suspension bridge. It was brilliantly bouncy to the point I was glad there were hand rails at the side.
A very narrow road was joined for a couple of kilometres before I was hoping to join a path. There was no clear path but the ground was easily walkable and I followed the fence line until eventually an actual old track was discernible which took me all the way to the deserted village of Kildonan. There was a beautiful hut on the beach which would make a lovely bothy with very little effort. From here a track led up to the road and very shortly I reached Badrallach.
The reason I had chosen Badrallach is that there is a private bothy and little campsite. This week is strangely and slightly deliberately being a more relaxed one as my body needed to recover which is why campsites have been used this week. In general I prefer wild camping though as most of the campsite are very sterile. But this one is lovely a proper idyllic retreat and I decided to use the bothy which is very reasonable (as was the camping I believe £2.50 a tent with showers and covered cooking facilities).
A great if windy day and my decision to extend to Badrallach was definitely the right one. This week so far has been what I needed to allow my body to recover a bit, and so far though I was expecting 4 days of continuous rain I have stayed quite dry. But my face and eyes are exhausted after being battered but by the wind.