Distance: 13,3 km (8,3 mi) for a total of 1905,8 km (1184,1 mi)
Ascent (ca.): 450 m (1475 ft)
Weather: Overcast in the early morning, then drizzle, developing into rain, sunshine in the afternoon
To start with the most important outcome of this day: I have to admit defeat. My line of walking on the map won’t be continuous, but will have a gap of 24 km. Why? For a number of reasons.
Already yesterday evening I had doubts that this day was really going to end as it should in either way. But I was willing to try the utmost. So I set off from the bothy at 5 o’clock. After a bit of track along the bay the trail switched to a path more or less following the shoreline of Loch Hourn. In fact, the route was really pretty, the path comparatively good, mostly firm with only stretches of mud or water. But the swamp-wading of the two preceding days took their toll on my feet which were so sore that I couldn’t tread normally, I had to concentrate myself on keeping the feet relaxed and not start limping. Of course, this didn’t increase my speed.
Thus I reached Kinloch Hourn at about 10 o’clock, already later than expected. On the way I had thought that it would have been better had I extended the previous day to get to Runival on the shore. But rethinking it now it presumably wouldn’t have made a real difference under these specific conditions and with the state of my feet.
Bridie had told me that in Kinloch Hourn there was a tea room. I found this hard to believe but indeed, there was a sign and it even said “open”. I went in and asked for a tea. I then poured over my map again on which I had marked two alternative routes to Invershiel where I had booked accommodation for the night. I asked the owner about the routes and he said that the shorter one was more strenuous to walk (I could assume that from the map as well) and that the alternative was easier to walk but was that much longer that both of them usually require about eight hours. Then I asked him what time he would give for the part I’ve done so far and this was – not surprisingly – less than I had needed. So it was clear that there was no chance to reach my day’s end point at a decent time by walking.
Seeing that the rain was coming in I enquired about alternatives. He was on the go to Invergarry and offered to give me a ride so that I could catch the bus to Skye there which passes through Invershiel. And I gladly accepted. I had to kill about three hours in the Invergarry hotel, but after one hour drive to the east in the car and one hour back on another road further north in the bus I reached my accommodation. And of course there’s no way to pick up my track tomorrow where I left it today.
I surely could have made it to a bothy on the alternative route. But the combination of my misjudgement of the trail, the effect of the previous path’s condition on my feet, the weather and the lack of north-south connections because of the mountain ridges to allow for more possible routes led to this gap in my LEJOG line. I’m not happy about it, but I can accept it. Sure, it wasn’t inevitable, but I consider myself lucky that in the end the day ended this way as it could have been worse. Tomorrow I’ll head on as planned.