Day 222: Lochcarron to Uags
Distance: 21.20 miles
Ascent: 3534 feet
Weather: Overcast, Gentle Breeze
Accommodation: Uags Bothy
I was a little worried about the second half of today so got up early and was on the way not long after 7am. The weather was looking perfect for walking, overcast with a gentle breeze, and the start of the day should make for good walking.
I followed the quiet road out of Lochcarron and the road was smooth and not too undulating so I made quick progress for the first 6 miles through Stromemore and onto Ardaneaskan. The public road ended here but a gravel track continued to Reraig Cottage and from there a gravel track started to head up into Reraig Forest, strangely here the red deer are fenced in as a herd which seems quite strange for Scotland but there must be a reason. I turned onto a surprisingly distinct and clear path that was lovely and climbed over the hill and down to Achintraid.
From here I joined a quiet road, which joined the main road for 1.5 miles and at Tornapress Bridge there was a new café so I stopped for a brief break and made sure all my online maps were working for the next stage on top of the paper ones.
There is an incredible road (Bealach na Ba) that heads over to Applecross from here with multiple switchbacks, but I turned of this before it climbed up and took a track that headed towards a quarry and fish farm. There was a bit of a debate in my mind as I was not sure I could walk in this part but it was a Saturday so I went for it and the two people I passed said nothing. But eventually near the quarry I came to a gate saying ‘no unauthorised entry’ so I had to climb a fence out of the site and follow the side but somehow ended up back in the quarry a bit a later and then used the track till I exited the quarry.
This was where I believed the hard stuff would begin as it was off piste following the coast towards the bottom of a quite steep slope. Fortunately the tide was helping me out as it was low and I could rock scrabble and follow the occasional beach for a fair distance. There was one part that wasn’t possible to skirt around but fortunately I found a deer track that took me up and over to the sheepfold where I was hoping a path would restart. This stretch had not been easy but not nearly as hard as I was expecting.
Weirdly I had thought the path would start at a ruined house but it turned out it wasn’t a ruined house at all but someone had maintained it well and it even had a tended to garden though how they get to it other than walking several miles I don’t know. There were 2 paths that were shown from here one inland and one following the coast to Uags Bothy where I was hoping to finish. Unfortunately though the path inland was good the coastal one was very vague, possibly non existent in parts.
At first I was just following where the path was meant to be though couldn’t see an actual track but at each river there was an actual ford, and slowly but surely I got used to following the very vague track which got quite sheer a few times. I had to get over a deer fence which did have a ladder thing which felt more like an obstacle course than a useful implement. The views from here over to Skye were amazing and then suddenly I noticed movement in the water and on zooming in with my camera I noticed it was dolphins, I was very excited as these were the first of the walk though they were far away. They were leaping all over the place but in the end I had to leave, and at that moment a sea eagle flew over which was amazing.
My track finally started to descend towards Uags Bothy and as it finally appeared only a few hundred meters away there were two people descending from the other side on the official route. This bothy is in the most amazing location with views over to Skye, and the bothy itself is done up very well with four rooms. There were 3 scots who had kayaked in, and the 2 descenders were from London way and we had a room each. Fortunately the kayakers had bought in wood so we got a good fire going. I had told people there was a pod of dolphins that may come this way and suddenly they appeared much closer than my last view. It just added to what would be a lovely evening and my favourite bothy so far.
A day that I had been anxious about, but though hard it was a great day, good weather, great wildlife and spectacular scencery.