Day 68: Sourlies – Barrisdale Bothy

Monday, 26/06/2017
Distance: 20,6 km (12,8 mi) for a total of 1892,5 km (1175,8 mi)

Ascent (ca.): 700 m (2295 ft)

Weather: Sunny

I was the first to leave the crowded bothy. The map indicated that the path runs along the shore of Loch Nevis, but this is only true at low tide.

Unfortunately, this morning it was high tide so I had to take an alternative route over the hill which not only was longer and more time-consuming but also more strenuous. The second disadvantage of this tide was less obvious but with an even larger impact. The best thing about this route was the herd of deer feeling disturbed by me in having their breakfast.

The Cape Wrath Trail continues on the northern bank of the river Carnach which should be reached by a footbridge. At low tide it would have been easy to follow the shoreline of the bay, pick up a track and walk up to the bridge. From the point where I was coming down the hill I once again was led into a swamp where I spent what felt like hours to find a way to that footbridge – at least without sinking in leg-deep, knee-deep was the maximum.

When I finally picked up the trail along the river Carnach it was much later than I had planned. The track soon gave way to the already known swamp, apart from that the glen was really lovely. Some frustrated Cape Wrath Trail walker seemed to have decided that his walking sticks weren’t of much use here, and to be honest, I was more than willing to agree.

I then nearly missed the point where I had to leave the faint path and head straight up a hill to pick another path which would lead me into Gleann Unndalain. And what a surprise and relief this path turned out to be!  It was dry for considerable stretches, still with muddy and wet parts, but it offered places to step on. Terra firma! My walking speed was noticeably increased by this fact. And although it required to first climb up to nearly 600 m, just to do a long gentle descent to Barrisdale Bay at Loch Hourn it was the best part of the last two days.

I reached the Barrisdale bothy later than I had hoped to, and after the long day before, I was just glad to call it a day. The bothy was very luxurious, it even had bunk beds. I had already coped with all the usual evening chores when to my surprise Bridie came in. She had made it a very long day, having stayed the previous night in the bothy I had passed by. We discussed the trail so far and agreed that the swamp-wading wasn’t something we fancy. I was a bit relieved that even a professional tour guide who is surely much more used to walk in all conditions than me found this horrific. A bit later another two walkers dropped in, but by this time we were already prepared to end our day.

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