Day 242: Tongue to Armadale
Distance: 22.58 miles
Ascent: 4487 feet
Weather: Mainly Sunny
Accommodation: Camping In Garden Of Armadale House (Kindly Offered)
I woke up and had the luxury of making a tea and having my breakfast in the hostel. The forecast for today was perfect, sun all day but not too hot, and this would be useful as though the mileage was not long and I did not expect any one bit to be overly hard I had a feeling today would take a while and end up being tough.
Today was going to be an interesting one route wise, with a mixture of roads, tracks and off piste linking up a variety of villages and I was sure I would alter the plotted route in a few places to more coastal if I thought it was possible once I saw it. I started on the road up to Coldbackie and then took a little path down and across the burn before climbing back up the other side. The path back up was quite overgrown with gauze which made for an unpleasant few hundred meters as I pushed through and I was itching for a fair while after, but I made it to the small road which finished shortly later at Scullomie.
From here there was no path as such (unless I missed it) but I followed sheep trails along the top of the cliff (more a steep slope really) and the views and walking were lovely under the blue sky. I reached the very scenic deserted village of Sletell and then just carried on following the coast on sheep tracks all the way around to Lamigo Bay.
At Lamigo Bay I joined the quiet road and in Torroy I passed an intriguing library in a phone box. I continued on the road till just after Torrisdale where I joined a path and the steps down and bridges across the river made me think it would be a very clear path. I had waivered back and forward several times about whether to take the path over Druim Chubhe or follow the beach around it (wasn’t sure if tidal), and in the end went for the path over as thought the view would be good and no tidal issues. This was definitely the harder option if slightly shorter, as the climb up was quite steep and the path indistinct through the heather and bracken and I was surprisingly tired at the top for a short climb, but the path up the top was perfectly clear and after passing a very pretty loch I began to descend down to the river on the other side. There were quite intriguing dunes on this side as unlike normal where it is just sand these had gravel and boulders in amongst them giving it a lunar landscape sort of feel.
I joined the road after Invernaver and took the bridge over the river and followed the road to Bettyhill. I got some supplies in the shop for later and then went to a very twee little self service community (I think) café which was the same price as the shop but you could sit inside. The pies and sandwiches here were surprisingly really good.
I dropped down to the beach at Farr Bay and from here I changed my route a fair amount as I had proposed more roads but decided I could stay more coastal using farm tracks and offpiste so went for this instead. I took a farm track from Farr right till it finished and then headed off piste along the cliffs before dropping down to the road at a farm near Swordly to cross the river. From here I rejoined the cliffs (I keep saying cliffs but more of a steep slope) around a little headland to Kirtomy. I unfortunately had to climb 3 barbed wire fences on this stretch but got over them all fine.
From Kirtomy I followed a 4x4/farm track up a fairly large hill up until it turned off towards a satellite mast, at this point I took a fork which carried on for a few hundred meters and then was off piste across a sort of plateau. This stretch was beautiful, and felt so remote, I firstly aimed for Lochan Tiormachd before dropping down to the deserted village of Poulouriscaig where I was hoping to join a track.
The track was quite subtle more of a path really at this stage but it took me over the undulations and to Armadale. Detta at Armadale House B&B, had kindly allowed me to pitch in the garden and use the guest kitchen as well as having a shower and charging things up. On top of this she cooked me a lovely dinner and made me feel so welcome.
Today had really tired me out and as I half expected had taken me longer than I had thought, the 22.5 miles had taken me about 10 hours.
A day with sun from morning to evening and stunning scenery what more could I ask for.