Day 227: Gairloch to Poolewe
Distance: 27.58 miles
Ascent: 3455 feet
Weather: Sunny Spells, With Brief patches of Torrential Rain
Accommodation: Camping Inverewe Campsite
After the annoying debacle with the hostel (who unbelievably still can’t understand the issue), I had less time to do admin on my rest day but fortunately this week is shorter (4 days) due to extension last week, and also the routes are fairly simple, so I was able to complete them quite quickly and then get the diaries and route map out of the way. So, though a bit behind I had got everything I needed done to allow me to set off this morning.
The forecast for today was terrible (in fact bad for the net 4 days) with rain, sometimes heavy, all day. As I set of just after 7am the rain was battering against the windows but within a few minutes of leaving it had stopped and then to my surprise there was some blue sky. I followed the road for several miles, passing the hostel in fact, until I reached Big Sands Campsite. This looked like a great campsite spread amongst the dunes, though a few tents appeared to have taken a battering last night. The path headed across the campsite, to Big Sand and then after a particularly boggy hill reached North Erradale.
From here I joined the single track ‘public’ (I put it in inverted commas as there is an ongoing dispute about the final 3 miles or so with the owner adamant they own it and the council adamant they don’t) the road that would eventually take me to Rubha Reidh Lighthouse. Along this road I could see heavy rain showers infront of me and behind me and there were 4 obvious ones coming in from the side. It looked like the first one would pass in front of me as would the second if I slowed down a bit and it did but only about 100m or so, the third one was going to hit but fortunately I was on the very edge of it so only got about 10 mintues of rain and then I quickly sped up and the fourth one went behind me. With a lot of luck and a tiny bit of judgement I had managed to get to the lighthouse with less than 15 minutes of rain.
With fortunately blue sky the view over the lighthouse was lovely and from here I had thought I would be going off piste for a couple of miles but suddenly I saw a core path sign, and a path there indeed was. This was a stunning path heading up onto the cliffs and the views were incredible and Camas Mor is definitely in my top 5 beaches of the whole walk, beautiful and remote.
My path reached Camustrolvaig, which is a deserted village, and maybe I shouldn’t put this on here but there is also a secret bothy (Ivor’s Bothy) here which I obviously didn’t know about. It is quite ramshackle but beautiful in its own way and fully dry inside. I decided to have my lunch inside in case it rained, half way through eating it started to rain heavily so I was very happy to be in the bothy.
From the bothy I joined a quad bike track which took me slightly inland and passed a series of lochs before reaching another beach and climbing up and over a hill before rejoining a public road near Cove.
I was still amazed that I had managed to be so lucky with the rain, but I still had 9 miles or so to go down this road to get to Poolewe. The road made for easy walking and there were some stunning beaches here. I did have 2 short periods of rain but the final hour into Poolewe was dry. I had hoped to arrive before 5 to ensure shop was open and got in about 4:45pm so was able to stock up on all the supplies I needed. I had 300m to go to the campsite and then the most torrential rain started I literally ran and dived straight into the reception fortunately not too wet due to the short distance.
I pitched in the campsite, between rain showers which were now almost constant and then had a shower. The information room is my friend at the moment to hide from the rain.
A day I had expected to be wet from start to finish and to have off piste sections, but by a minor miracle I had less than 30 minutes of rain and no off piste section. A surprisingly beautiful day and one that is right up there with my favourites.