Day 235: Drumbeg to Scourie

Distance: 23.30 miles

Ascent: 4529 feet

Weather: Sunny Spells, With A few SHort But Heavy Showers

Accommodation: Scourie Campsite (Kindly Complimentary)


Well my pitch spot wasn’t quite as flat as I thought, it was tipping sideways enough that I kept rolling onto my stuff, but I rolled a towel up and put it under my mattress and that was enough to stabilise me a bit. Once again it rained heavily in the night, and was still raining when I woke up, fortunately there was a lull in the rain which allowed me to depitch in the dry.

Just as I was leaving the heavens absolutely opened and I thought the weather forecast for rain was going to be correct. But within 5/10 minutes it had stopped and the skies actually became quite blue. After a couple of conversations with people yesterday I stuck to my plotted route which would follow the road to Kylesku, I had been considering changing and going off piste but was advised against it for this stretch. The road was single track and very quiet and some of the mountains inland looked spectacular. Sail Ghorm and Sail Gharbh in particular looked very menacing with there twin peaks up in the clouds.

I actually made it to Kylesku without any further rain and crossed over the bridge. What a bridge, it sits beautifully in the landscape, sometimes simplicity and good detailing is all you need for an architectural triumph.

I had tried to plot a route that went more coastal than the road, semi off piste knowing there were 2 rivers one of which I thought had a crossing the other hopefully I could wade. So, as I reached the edge of Duartmore, I turned onto a track I was expecting. But what I wasn’t expecting was the weird sort of boardwalk/timber track, that at first I presumed was a short bridge across a boggy patch, and a sign saying ‘Unsuitable for Walking’ a very bizarre thing for a sign to say. But the rough boardwalk was not short and turned out to be over a mile long, rotten in many places and lots of the timbers snapped as I was walking along. Due to the snapping timbers this section became an absolute knee killer. I was unsure what the wood had been laid for, as it was clearly originally for a vehicle but surely forestry machinery could never have used it so I was confused.

Eventually I came to a clearing and to my surprise a fairly new log cabin was sat there. It started to tip down at this point so I sheltered under the roof. It started to become clearer to me that they had used the boardwalk as the original route to this hut (or probably a previous incarnation)  for vehicles but it was now not passable and in fact there rotting timbers and 6 inch nails pretty much made the route (which is meant to be a path) impassable. I followed the new gravel track from this hut which took me to the river I was hoping to cross over. But when I got there it was very clear it was not passable as it was far too deep and double as wide as I was expecting, maybe the recent overnight rains had had an impact on this. So I continued following the gravel track, not actually knowing where it was going as not on map, which fortunately dropped me back at the road.

I followed the road until there was another turning, though this was onto a proper track that took me down a lovely little ravine to the sea. From here on my map it was also a track but it was more overgrown with now only a foot or so of the old road left as a footpath but it made for nice walking especially the part by Loch Duartbeg. This track ended at the start of a quiet lane.

Here I came across a man and two dogs (one standard Alsatian, one Black Alsatian). Suddenly when I was about 20m away the Black Alsatian charged towards me and then leapt up so I put my arm up and to my surprise it bit my forearm. It was surprisingly painful, but the owner could not control the dog and it tried another couple of times, when he finally got hold of the dog instead of apologising straight away he said 'you shouldn’t have put your arm up.' Then when he noticed the dog had actually properly bitten me he did apologise. There was not much I could say so I just carried on, a bit in shock. I know an Alsatian could do a lot more damage, so it was not being completely aggressive, but it had punctured the skin and now I am typing this there is a bruise but nothing to bad.

This lane joined the main road, which after not to long reached Scourie my end point for the day. The campsite had very kindly let me pitch for free, and I found a lovely sheltered spot as recent nights have been very windy and wet. I will let you know the truth I ran out of shower gel about 10 days ago probably longer and kept forgetting to get any as I passed shops. So even though had a few showers in that time, today's was the first time I have felt properly clean for a while

From mid-morning tomorrow I will be completely off the beaten track, and will expect to lose signal until I reach Durness in 3 days time. This is a part of the walk I have been really looking forward to and the next time you hear from me barring incident I will have rounded Cape Wrath. Frantically checking routes, stocking up and charging everything up in anticipation.

A good day, that not even the dog bite could effect to much.

charles compton