Day 212: Carbost to Ollisdal Bothy
Distance: 32.11 miles
Ascent: 5119 feet
Weather: Rain Sometimes Heavy Most of day
Accommodation: Ollisdal Bothy
After a slightly bizarre rest day, where due to Carbost having very slow internet (there is a poor cable to the village) I randomly decided it would be a good idea to head to Portree, but having decided just after the bus had passed I couldn’t wait another 4 hours for the next one so I was going to have to hitch, fortunately someone from the hostel was heading to Sligachan so I was able to get a lift this far but from there (where the road went straight to Portree) it was waiting for someone to kindly stop and fortunately a Belgium couple in a motor home were leaving and heading for the centre of Portree about 10 minutes after I had started trying and they kindly gave me a lift. I hit the library to get some internet, and Co-op to get supplies and just about got all my diaries done and maps sorted before having to quickly dash for the last bus back to Carbost. So, though the Old Inn accommodation & staff were lovely, due to the mad dash not the most restful rest day but just about ready for another week.
The forecast was not great for today with most forecasts saying rain, with heavy rain and strong winds forecast for later in the day. So, I set off in full waterproof set up. I was unsure where I would finish today as I had a slightly mad idea to possibly extend to Ollisdal Bothy (at least a nine mile extension). It was dry for the very first part of the day as I followed the road out of Carbost and after a couple of kilometers I reached the junction with the A863. It had started raining by now and this road was slightly busier and quicker road but still perfectly alright to walk along.
I made quick progress as this road slowly climbed up, but it was absolutely pouring as I walked this stretch. I had proposed to turn of the road at Inver Meadale and take a farm track down to the loch edge and then off piste up until the road rejoined the loch. But with the heavy rain we are having up here the rivers are in spate (essentially very full and fast flowing), and the off piste section would have two quite sizeable rivers to cross which under these conditions would not be possible to cross. Therefore, I stayed on the road all the way to Loch Boag and the village of Struan.
The rain was still coming through in waves thought for now it had lightened of a bit and I turned of the main road just after Struan and headed down a quiet single track lane to Ulinish. After Ulinish I followed the lane onto Eabost and then took a farm track and then sort of path before rejoining the main road at Ose.
As I had been walking for over 4 hours I decided to take my lunch break here and though it had stopped raining briefly, I decided to just sit in the little bus shelter in case it started again. In fact, it did start raining so I was very happy to be in my bus shelter. I had still not decided about the end of the day but had decided if I got to Roskhill before 3pm if would be hard to persuade myself not to continue on to the bothy.
I was on the main road for a few more miles before once again turning onto a quiet lane which sort of did a loop down to Harlois and back up again rejoining the main road a bit further on. This was when I reached Roskhill and it was only 2:45 and the weather momentarily was a bit nicer, so I carried on though was a little anxious about doing so as was unsure of the state of the 8 mile coastal 'path' to Ollisdal.
There were 2 miles of lane walking till I reached Orbost Farm & House. Then to my relieve there was a waymarker pointing towards Ollisdal, though it said 5 miles and unless I am going mad my map showed it to be at least 8 miles. The farm track took me so far, before the path separated and along this part the path was very distinct and made for easyish walking all the way till the path turned 90 degrees at Idigrill Point. Along this stretch was Rebel’s Wood, which has been planted in memory of Joe Strummer the frontman of the Clash.
The rain started to get heavier as did the strength of the wind. But even in these conditions it was clearly very scenic with the views from these high cliffs taking in arches, stacks and other islands. This last stretch was quite tough for several reasons; the boggy ground conditions, the lack of obvious path and also how tired I was having now walked almost 30 miles. In fact about a mile and a half from the end I got very tired but suddenly I saw the bothy and perked up.
I just had to find my way up the short distance to the bothy now which fortunately wasn’t to difficult. This bothy is quite bizarre with one end comprising a room a with a dirt floor and no use to anyone but possibly a farmer. Whereas the other end is a quite quaint wooden clad room with a fireplace and a little table and bench. I was glad to be out of the heavy rain and there was even a very small amount of coal left behind maybe 8 pieces but I got it alight and the room felt more homely even if there wasn’t really enough heat to dry anything. I hung everything up knowing it would probably still be damp in the morning, and after cooking some pasta went to bed early as kept falling asleep as I tried to write up the diary. I assumed no one else would turn up in these conditions and I had the bothy to myself.
A very long mileage day, but it was the right decision to push on as it is much nicer being in the bothy and it also means tomorrow is shorter and due to a kind offer I have somewhere I will be able to dry everything out.
NB - due to weather camera was in my rucksack and weather so bad that not many photos on my phone either, every photo taken is below.