Day 201: Barisdale Bothy to Arnisdale
Distance: 16.73 miles
Ascent: 4634 feet
Weather: Overcast, SOme Light Rain
Accommodation: Wild camp Above Arnisdale
I moved at a very relaxed pace this morning as I was going to be picking up some army ration packs at Kinloch Hourn, which King’s Canterbury School were kindly giving me, so it made no sense to get to Kincloch Hourn too early as I may have to wait a while there. So, I just chilled and typed up yesterday’s diary and slowly got ready. On leaving I said goodbye to Liz and also the teachers from Kings Canterbury.
About 15 minutes after the DofE group had left I finally went not far off 9am. The first part took me down to the loch edge on a gravel track, before turning onto a narrower path which could be easily missed as you walked along the gravel track. The weather was pretty much dry but the air still felt a little damp. I passed the DofE group and followed the path which climbed and descended a fair amount.
After 3 miles I spotted a figure on the next ridge and as expected it turned out to be Dave one of the staff overseeing the DofE, who had been staying in Sourlies Bothy 2 nights ago. He informed me he had left the military ration packs under the minibus just shy of Kinloch Hourn. I carried on and before long the path flattened out and descended right to the edge of the loch and soon reached Kinloch Hourn.
I found the military packs under the bus and though very remote the building on this side of the river had a little café so I popped in and had a tea and sandwich. I sorted out the military ration packs and packed them in my bag. They will be so useful over the coming days/weeks and I am extremely grateful. Whilst sat down the 3 teachers actually arrived so I had a second goodbye on leaving.
As Kinloch Hourn was my original endpoint for today I now just had to decide how far to go. Something was telling me to aim for Glenelg (my original finish point for tomorrow) as it had a shop, pub and I had been offered somewhere to pitch. But if was very far another 7 hours minimum and it was already 1pm. So, instead I said I would try to get to Glenelg but if late and/or tired when I got to Corran I would stop there instead. The route for this next stage had to go slightly inland due to the topography.
The path up and out of Kinloch Hourn was incredibly steep but at least it was a quadbike/4x4 track so I didn’t have to push through any damp bracken. The track was vaguely following the electric pylons and climbed up 200m before plateauing out. The scenery on this sort of plateau was incredible with giant hills/mountains in every direction you looked. Also, to my surprise but also delight, the path continued to be a quadbike/4x4 track the whole way making for easier walking than expected. The weather was not great for this section with drizzle and light rain but nothing too bad.
The path finally began to drop down and passed Dubh Lochain with its little boathouse before descending all the way down to sea level and it was not long till I reached the coast and Corran. I was tired and had decided Glenelg was too far so would stop in either Corran or Arnisdale. Just outside Corran I came to the Arnisdale Heritage Centre, essentially a bit like a village hall with toilets. I walked back into Corran to ask anyone if it was alright to sleep in the hall (was fed up of the wet conditions) but could find no one. I was not sure what to do, so decided to sit in the hall and do my diary and admin and then decide later on whether I felt it OK to sleep in the hall.
I decided without actual consent it would be rude for me to just sleep in the hall overnight so I carried on through Arnisdale and up the little hill just the other side and found a great wild pitch spot with fabulous views and also my first phone signal for over 3 days.
A successful day, and the weather was just on the alright side of damp. It has been a great three days around Knoydart essentially bothy hopping with a group of great people and though the walking has been remote and alone it has been great to have a group of people to chat to in the evenings in the bothies.