Day 194: Plocaig to Acharacle
Distance: 18.98 miles
Ascent: 3156 feet
Weather: Overcast, some Light Rain
Accommodation: Wild camp Acharacle
The wind had got up last night, and I was glad I had some shielding from both the southerly and westerly directions. Even so the tent was flexing a fair bit as it is designed to do, which can be a little disconcerting inside. I did though sleep fairly well.
As I was packing stuff away whilst in the tent it started to rain which was annoying, but it only lasted a few minutes and by the time I got out of the tent the rain had stopped and in fact the breeze was strong enough that the tent had dried out.
This had been a great pitch spot and the day was starting immediately with some off piste walking, with about a mile and a half until I hoped to join a path. I followed a fence line for a while before tucking inland a little and between two peaks in a valley. There were two eagles swooping high above the further inland of the peaks which was lovey to see and I was now approaching where I hoped the path would be.
I could not miss the path which at this point was very clear. It felt so remote here and I was loving the walking along this path and the weather was even behaving (though still quite a strong wind) at this point contrary to the forecast. The going under foot was quite good and I passed several freshwater lochs, before descending to Fascadale.
At Fascadle I joined a small public road and suddenly as I was nearing a camper that was pulled up at the side of the road, I smelt the most amazing bacon smell I was so jealous after my breakfast of almond fingers this morning. I was on this road for about 4 miles apart from a short section of farm track at Achateny ending up around Ockle Farm.
From here it was a 4x4 track steadily climbing up before flattening out and this track was great for walking. After about a mile the track diverted off and I joined the path to Gorsenfern. I was not expecting it to be like this, but it was absolutely fantastic, the path which though narrow was clear climbed up one side of a steep valley before switching back and then up the other side of the valley, before heading around the corner and still continuing to climb. This path was amazing as it almost felt like off piste walking due to the narrowness and subtilty of the path but with good footing beneath and incredible views. I was really enjoying the path, but it was steep and as I was nearing the top I was getting really tired and was preparing for a break at the top. Literally as I was about to take my break the rain started, I decided as it was light I would take the break anyway nestled semi under a rock ledge.
The rain was right on the border of whether I needed waterproofs, and I decided that I thought it would stop within 10 minutes so decided against putting them on. I continued over the summit and then down a very perfectly formed valley on the other side where pretty soon my path joined a 4x4 track again. This path took me all the way down to Gorsenfern, and the rain lasted a bit longer than I had hoped and thus I got a bit wet but the wind was strong, so I soon dried out.
I could see over to Cul na Croise which is where the recent TV series Eden: Paradise Lost was carried out. The show itself involved marooning a set of individuals on this ‘incredibly’ remote piece of land and they would have to fend for themselves for the year. In fact it turned into a farce, with contraband entering camp but it was intriguing (I was engrossed) as it showed that human nature can be quite incredibly nasty and the editors could not have guessed how dark it would get. I was proposing to camp on the same beach they had set up camp on, but due to extension yesterday and the possibility maybe of a shop I carried on along the forest tracks.
After passing the ford I reached the carpark and from their I followed quiet roads to near Shiel Bridge. The rain had started again but as per last time just light enough that I didn’t put waterproofs on. (I did not think there was a viable route around Kentra Moss so this little peninsula was missed.) My route would take me north from here but earlier in day when I had signal it appeared that there was a shop and pub in Acharacle. This was a kilometer out of my way but I felt it was a worthwhile diversion due to the food, electricity for charging and maybe even Wi-fi to catch up on diaries.
At the pub I was informed there was a little jetty just down the track where I could pitch, there was already a campervan there but they told me to pitch behind them and though I would normally not pitch near people it was definitely the best spot and well sheltered.
I headed to the shop to get some supplies, and then the pub (Loch Shiel Hotel) to try and get up to date with diaries. Unfortunately the Wi-fi was to slow to do the diaries, but I got tempted by proper food and ordered some dinner. The lady in the pub very kindly gave me my dinner for free and I got a fair few donations this evening. It is now raining heavily but fortunately I am already in my tent.
Another stunningly scenic day and so far, this week is going much smoother than I expected, and the pub/shop were a great bonus.