Sunday, 29 April 2012

Scotland's Finest

After an excellent week on Skye I headed north to Ullapool enjoying the isolated road through to Applecross and the dramatic mountain scenery of Torridon. With no timetable to adhere to I decided to enjoy the back roads of Assynt with a comfortable night overlooking the Summer Isles at the new camp site near Achiltibuie followed by a memorable night alongside Stoer lighthouse with a perfect sunset. After more superb scenery en route to Kylesku I reached Durness and found a place to park for a few days at the south end of Loch Eriboll from where I walked in to Strabeg bothy.
Over the next few days around ten of us carried out a number of repairs to return the building to a weatherproof condition carting materials and equipment across boggy terrain and a river. Good company made for an enjoyable week with the weather generally behaving itself and a considerable amount achieved.
Back at Durness I explored the scenic coastline including Smoo Cave before catching  the small ferry nicknamed HMS Tupperware across the Kyle of Durness to Cape Wrath.
This wild and remote area is an active MOD range but access is maintained and I cycled out to the lighthouse where remarkably the Ozone cafe serves light snacks in a unique location as far from mainstream life as you could imagine. My intention was to spend the night at Kervaig bothy and under a hot sun and clear skies I arrived at as pretty a place as you could wish to find - the pristine cottage alongside a dream bay with golden sand, crashing breakers and jagged rock outcrops ticked every box. I walked along to some of Britain's highest sea cliffs where the puffins were a delight and returned as two lads arrived somewhat exhausted from Sandwood Bay to the south. They were excellent company as we watched the sun set and the stars emerge in this most magical of places.
My return to the jetty was only marginally hindered by a broken chain compounded by the resetting tool also failing - all good practice for my intended Brecon Beast participation in September. After the short crossing with seals lazing on a sand bank taking little interest I returned to Durness to do a load of laundry and then walk round to Faraid Head and back through Balnakeil before enjoying the late afternoon sunshine and planning my visit to the Outer Hebrides that begins a week today. Before then another work party south of Ullapool beckons - the forecast seems good which will suit a few days in a tent - Shenavall is a popular bothy so a plan 'B' is advisable.
More photos here and as ever my recent locations can be tracked here.

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