Day 72: Craig – Lochan Fada

Friday, 30/06/2017
Distance: 29,6 km (18,4 mi) for a total of 1992,5 km (1238 mi)

Ascent (ca.): 870 m (2855 ft)

Weather: Some drizzle in the morning, fading out during the afternoon

The plan for today was the relatively short hop over to Kinlochewe. Being used to an early rise I was up and away at seven. From the hostel I took the road a bit further down until a sign pointed to the “Pony Track”. A second sign explained that this historic route had been restored for walkers. Well, in that case I don’t want to know how it looked before this restoration, but it would be a good idea to put some renewed effort in it to make it really walkable. After some zigzagging up I reached a broad track and from here it was uneventful stomping past  Coulin (because of a hydro scheme construction in progress) towards Kinlochewe.

In the woodland before the village I decided against the trail and stuck with the broad forest track down to the A896 on which I peacefully plodded along until an open cafe called me in. Here I had an early and extensive lunch. Still thinking about how to possibly change my route for the last stretch to JOG (and I have to get away from this cross-country mud slinging, otherwise I would stop this trip even now) I was lucky that two cyclists came in who – naturally – had a map covering a larger area. I studied it for a while and developed two possible realignments. I will investigate them further and decide when I’m in Ullapool.

As I thought it might be a bit early to call it a day, I pondered over my maps again trying to decide if I should press on further, having no idea if there were places to spend the night. I asked one of the employees and she confirmed that indeed along the route everything was boggy, but if I didn’t mind pitching on pebbles, I could do so at Lochan Fada. This would take out about a third of the distance from tomorrow’s stretch, most likely the easiest to walk, but with another significant pathless section this time buffer would be very welcome. So this was settled. On my way out I came across this nice use for worn out hiking footwear, should consider it as well  🙂

The route heads towards the Heights of Kinlochewe before running up Gleann na Muice on a broad track again (another hydro scheme construction site). Without the scar from the track the valley would have been really pretty.

The track then narrowed to a path, not allowing for the same pace as the track but still fairly good. At the shore of Lochan Fada I even found a grassy but not boggy patch, a bit bumpy, but it’ll do for the night. Tomorrow will start with the pathless section, the worst should hopefully behind me after that. 

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