A short walk through Knoydart, Kinloch Hourn, River Croe and Glen Affric in Scotland.

When the TGO Magazine published the entry forms for the TGO 2017  I was planning another hike and did not enter. When this was delayed by 6 months I was left with 2 weeks in May free.

Scotland is one of my favourite hiking destinations so I  returned for a short walk.

The plan was to start at Invirie and walk for a week in a generally northern direction. The route  had many alternatives that would be used depending on the weather and how I felt at any particular junction.

The great thing about not having a fixed destination or time limit is that I can just follow my feet.  This approach was to prove very beneficial. I had maps for the entire area and many nights I pitched the tent not knowing where I would go the next day. I knew that in a weeks’ time I needed to be near to a train or bus station.

The weather for the first few days was overcast with low cloud but little rain during the day. This meant that going high would wait for another year. The rivers were passable and did not cause any problems.

Lord Brocket purchased Knoydart in the 1930s, and erected this memorial in memory of his parents, his wife and family.
Soon after leaving Inverie you are alone in the Knoydart.
Loch an Dubh Lochain looking West . It was an easy first few hours along a good track.

Across Koydart to camp near to the bothy at Barrisdale was straight forward. The skies were overcast but the heavy rain and high wind held off until I had the tent up.

Loch Hourn. No rain yet but the clouds are gathering. The trail here was easy to follow but a lot of up and down. I met a few other walkers mostly on day trips from Kinloch Hourn.
He was peacefully feeding and was not at all worried about me. When I asked him to raise his head for  a picture he did so and then continued feeding. I watched for a while before moving on.
Loch Beag.

Along Kinloch Hourn I encountered a deer grazing very close to the trail. He was not bothered and continued having lunch. I admired him and the view over the loch and surrounding hills. A tea-room just before camping provided me with rest and refreshment.

Loch Beag. I camped just after crossing the bridge. The rivers were still low even though a lot of rain fell overnight.

The rain was getting heavier. I wanted to get the tent up and cook a meal so I camped by the river.  It was another dry, but overcast day, but a wet and windy night. A dry day in Scotland means just light showers.

One of the many waterfalls that cascade down the valleys and provide a good source of drinking water.
Looking back on the days progress. I still had the climb up to Bealach Aoidhdailean. In Scotland a mountain can hide behind a hill!

I planned to go over the Forcan ridge and down to Shiel Bridg but the hills to the North were covered in thick dark cloud. The valley ahead was clear. My first Monro would have to wait!

By evening time the clouds were still covering the hills and I was glad I took a lower but much longer route.
Suardalan Bothy looking back over the days route.
Suardalan Bothy.

Suardalan Bothy had no other guests for the night so I had the master suite.  It is a good place for a couple to spend a quiet weekend.

It rained during the night but inside was dry and comfortable. Bothy’s are colder than a tent but my sleeping bag kept me warm.

Torr Beag from Suardalan Bothy.
Glen More.

The low clouds continued until I got close to Movie and this provided a good opportunity to practice my navigation. The forest in the area was being harvested so I walked on the road to avoid the logging trucks. About 4 Km from Sheil Bridge a farmer offered me a lift, which I took. I would not do that on the TGO!  The early shower, lunch and a few pints in the Bunk House Annex was very welcome. So was the drying room for my tent and shoes. In the evening I walked to the store to get some supplies I did not need.

These pictures tell the story of the weather for the remainder of the walk.

Loch Duich.
Loch Duich looking to Ratagan.
Loch Duich from Shiel Bridge.

Water-proof and warm gear was packed away for the remainder of the hike. Sun Hat and light clothes were used. I enjoyed the scenic walk along River Croe then the long climb, passing more waterfalls, to the Bothy at Camban.  I spent some time eating, drying the sweat from my shirt and relaxing. This Bothy is not as nice as the one I spent the previous night but it was good to get out of the sun.

Gleann Lichd and River Croe. Taken by Maria at the beginning of the climb over Cnoc Biodaig.

Maria arrived as I was getting ready to move on. She had started at Movich and took the same route as I did.  We had a similar plan of just walking where we fancied and  we found a good spot to camp just before the bridge to Alltbeithe.

Waterfall on the way to Camban. I was temped to climb down for a swim but the climb back up would be very hard.
Camp in Glenn Affric.

Before dinner I walked to the hostel to get a couple cans of Coke for Happy Hour. Next morning after a cup of tea at the hostel we walked to Strawberry Cottage. Maria then returned to Movich to collect her car for a long drive and ferry back to Germany.

I live in a very small island and have to walk the same places over and over.  In Europe every weekend can be in a different country and culture.

Waterfalls always provide a rest spot and a chance to refill the water bottles.
Loch Beinn at Mheadhion.

I continued along Loch Affric, through the Nature Reserve, past Dog Falls and arrived at Cannich Camp Site by 5pm.  The last part was a busy road, the first in the 6 days of hiking.

Next morning was spent relaxing at the camp café and then a bus to Inverness where I camped. In the evening I met up with Sarah. We met on a previous TGO and had a few beers and good conversation.  Next day was spent on a train back to Tumbridge Wells. A bed always feels better after sleeping on the ground for 5 nights.

Another good trip completed. I am already planning my next one. Watch this space!

2 thoughts on “A short walk through Knoydart, Kinloch Hourn, River Croe and Glen Affric in Scotland.”

  1. Hi Mike

    Wild places are to be treasured and preserved. They are being spoiled by roads and other infrastructure for Hydro dams and Wind Farms. With the roads come the 4×4’s which cause more damage. You can catch the ferry from Mallaig to Invirie and do a day hike in Knoydart along the Loch which is mostly flat. Then spend the night at the Old Forge and take the ferry back next day. Also there are easy day walks from Shiel Bridge.

  2. Great pictures – too many years gone by for me to do it but thanks for the story. I love wild places. Must get back to Bimshire one of these days. In my time Baxters Road was the place for fried chicken – not any more I hear.

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