Sunday, 5 July 2015

A wander in Assynt

It's a long time since I updated my blog but after a fantastic week spent around the Ullapool area thought I would do a wee post . End of June 2015 Olga , Scott and I had a cottage booked for a week in Ullapool and on the Saturday headed north via Inverness and arrived late afternoon to a very nice house in the town within walking distance of every thing. We did the usual things settling ourselves in and planning a few things to do. Scott was going to run aver a few Munro's for a bit of UTMB training , Olga liked the idea of chilling and exploring the shops and myself a bit of walking and blowing the dust off my trout rod.

Sunday morning I put on shorts and trainers and headed off to scout out Loch Achill for may be a spot of fishing later. I don't know why I dressed like that as no way could I run up those hills and was soon just gasping for breath and a slow walk. I came back via the hill trail and had great views over the town and yes I had not taken my camera ,
Scott did his epic 33 miles over the  9 Munro's on the Tuesday so Wednesday was his rest day and his turn to throw me out of the car for my main outing. I was attempting to walk from a small place near Elphin near Cam loch which was my starting point to head out past Suilven and end up at the coast at Lochinver.

Starting point

Suilven  from cam loch

 Scott dropped me off near the finger post at the road side we said our goodbyes and I headed out towards Cam Loch which was just over a boggy path not far from the road.It was very warm and I was starting to feel a little bit nervous but the same time excited about my walk. I could see Suilven with it's distinct shape in the distance and set off over a faint track in places round the loch side heading towards Suilven. The path was a bit up and down and changed to boggy wet to rocky patches and I gave up trying to keep my feet dry.
I had thought about a bit of fishing on the Loch sometime on another day and spotted some areas which I could have a try. I came across a boat stranded on a small beach area and thought strange until I noticed the hole in it.
looking back down Cam loch with Cul Mor in the distance

I thought I would have been eaten alive by midges by now but had been very lucky so far and apart from a slight mishap when I fell and did a bum slide I was doing ok. Suilven did not seem to be getting any closer and the sun was rather warm on my back as I continued loch side. After another mile I would be heading away from the loch and crossing a stony ridge heading in the direction of Canisp where I planned my first good stop for a rest and food.

Suilven on the left and Canisp on the right I'm heading for the ridge in the distance.
The faint path on the ridge lead me away from the loch and among a jumble of smaller rocks which the path weaved it's way over and I was glad a few cairns had been placed to help the correct direction. I still had not seen anyone and felt privileged that I had this wilderness to myself and thought if I just take my time and not get too tired I would manage fine.
starting the ridge among the stones and faint path

Looking back to Cam loch from path cairn
It was time to find myself a nice big bolder to sit on and have a good break for a while and again the midges were not around apart from the odd one so no need for midge net etc. I had a good break for 30 minutes just sitting in the middle of nowhere just taking in the views and again thinking how lucky I was to still do this sort of thing.
ankle breaking  path and Suilven reappearing.

glimpse of  lochan fada my next stop.
I headed on towards Lochan Fada and the gap between Suilven and Canisp the track was easier to see and I walked on revelling in the views I was getting. I slowly made my way down to the out flow of the Lochan and just walked across it as my shoes were soaked anyway and it might clean them up a bit.
looking back up the Lochan  fada I had come over from the top right of photo

outflow from the lochan and wet feet time.

After splashing over the river I walked down the narrow gorge following the river and after a few minutes walking Suilven started to appear above the the Loch. Things started to change about that time and  I started to hear rumblings behind me and looked behind to see the black clouds rolling in. Time for the waterproof jacket to earn it's keep. I had just got a new north face one a couple of days before as my old waterproof was past it's best and reproofing had not helped. Anyway the load cracking and rumbling turned into a very heavy deluge which I'm sure had some hail mixed in. I had planned another rest break when I had reached Loch na Gainimh under the buttress of Suilven but under those conditions just plodded on taking only a couple of photographs between squalls.
storm clouds rolling in

thunder over Suilven
It was rather a wet walk for a while as I went past Suilven and still thought it one of the best looking hills I have seen. That is another thing I have seen photographs of this magic place but it is very emotive to have made the effort to walk and look for myself and it had been on my bucket list of things to do i had just left it a bit late that's all.
I walked along the loch and came across the estate track which although a bit rough in places made walking easier for my legs which were feeling it a bit by now. I still had to shake my head at the fact I had been out there for a few hours covered a few miles and still not seen a soul.
At the end of the loch the track improved and followed the river as it tumbled down over the rocks to the next lochan down. The sky was still dull and the rain had passed me by but it did mean I could not get a good view down the way I was heading. There was the plus side to this though I came across loads of little frogs and a small newt in a little pond when I stopped for a drink. Then within a few minutes one of the highlights of my day a junior adder/viper was crossing the track in front of me and had froze at my approach.
This was a great photo opportunity which I took.
We both stopped and looked at each other and then the wee thing realised it was in no danger headed on its way.
That did make the wet feet gammy back and knees worth the effort of the walk and was the icing on the cake for me. I carried on down the track again donning my water proof as the heavens had opened again . I did not take any photo's for a bit and missed another rest stop.The track followed the river down stream and I walked by a couple of small lochans full of vegitation and managed to get a photo looking back to Suilven and to Canisp.
 The rain stopped again and I took off the waterproof and plodded on to the coast in the distance. I met a couple of people walking off the hill where they had got soaked in the storm so I worked out it had been around 5 hours 30 mins since I last saw anyone and that had been Scott when he dropped me off.

looking back at Canisp disappearing from view

Weedy loch  with Suilven in the back ground
 As I said I could not get a good view down to the coast  as the next photograph shows the Loch in the distance is the last one I pass before reaching Lochinver.

final few K to the coast

farewell to Suilven and Canisp

The track improved still more which helped me to keep a reasonable walk going as the old back had had it's fair share of jolting. I reached the final loch and went past the estate buildings and picked up the tarmac road  for the last leg down to Scott and his mum who had driven round to pick me up. I had only gone a short way down the lane when Scott appeared heading in my direction. They do have a slight concern when I do this sort of thing and are pleased when we meet up but even more so that I still do it. After a short walk into town and metting up with Olga the call was drive home get rid of the car and stagger down to the pub which we did. I had to add the final photo that Scott took after we met up at the end of the walk showing a wind blown weather beaten but happy man.
that's all folks

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