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Strathan to Knoydart:- Sourlies ,Inverie, A’chuil, Kinbreak

Strathan to Knoydart:- Sourlies ,Inverie, A’chuil, Kinbreak

Postby mountainstar » Fri Nov 05, 2010 1:10 pm

Date walked: 24/10/2010

Distance: 68 km

Ascent: 3284m

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Strathan to Knoydart :- Sourlies Bothy / Inverie / A’chuil Bothy / Kinbreak Bothy.
Approx 42.2 miles (67.8k)

My last 3 weeks in Scotland for 2010, it had been a good year in the Highlands, spending around about 13 weeks in total. I had purposely extended this trip to include the Walkhighlands meet in Glencoe, which turned out to be a good move and a blast! :D
These included a couple of days above the clouds on Ben Tirran and Ben Ledi, a day with clouds above me on Ben Lomond, A great day scrambling/rock climbing up Tower Ridge, Ben Nevis (see other trip report), fresh snow on Buachaille Etive Mor, a walk along Loch Morar for a night in Tarbet bunkhouse, and some cosy nights by the fire in Essan, Leacraithnaich & Peanmeanach Bothies.

Above the clouds on Ben Tirran (3) (600 x 450).jpg

Above the clouds on Ben Ledi (600 x 450).jpg

Leacraithnaich Bothy (600 x 450).jpg

Fresh snow on Buachaille Etive Mor (600 x 357).jpg

Bidean nam Bian from Buachaille Etive Mor (600 x 450).jpg

Loch Morar, walking to Tarbet (600 x 450).jpg

It was time for another multi-day backpacking trip to my favourite village Inverie, with some Bothys to stop in en route there and back.

our_route.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

Monday 25th Oct.
Strathan to Sourlies, via A’chuil (9.6 miles 15.5k)
Weather. Mainly Sunny, Calm.
After a glorious drive along a still Loch Arkaig.

Loch Arkaig (600 x 450).jpg

Loch Arkaig (2) (600 x 450).jpg

I packed some last minute stuff in to my very heavy (2 bags of coal for 2 nights) and bulging rucksack and set of at 12.15pm heading for the forest road that would lead me after 3.34 miles to A’chuil, luckily uphill in easy gradients and along good tracks.

Strathan (600 x 313).jpg

A'Chuil bothy (600 x 381).jpg

Once at the Bothy, I left 1 coal drop and some food and drink for my return in 2 days time.

Lochan, Glendessary (600 x 450).jpg

Glendessary (600 x 450).jpg

I picked up the main path that runs from Glendessary up the glen to a high point at around 320m, this path was very boggy and although it was still sunny, I remained for the best part in the shadow of the mountains above.

Lochan at the pass. (600 x 450).jpg

As I approached Sourlies I could see 2 others moving about, so for the 1st time on this holiday I was going to have company in a Bothy that night. I reached the Bothy at about 5pm pretty knackered. The 2 guys had just arrived by Kayak having left Mallaig several hours before, and as I was to find out had enough food and drink to feed an army!
The one thing they never brought was some fuel, as they thought that there would be plenty of drift wood about, (there was not) so I was there new best friend when they found out that I had brought some coal, and so I was treated to some of the many goodies that they had brought…wine, cakes, snacks and other such luxuries. :D

Sunset from Sourlies Bothy (600 x 249).jpg

The fire was soon lit as darkness was falling, and the chill moved into the glen on the clear and star filled night.

Tues 26th Oct.
Sourlies to Inverie. (8 miles 13k)
Weather. Sunny, some cloud mid-day, calm again.
I awoke to the kettle boiling and bacon frying, again I was treated like a Lord with a cup of tea and bacon baps in bed! :thumbup:

Bacon baps...Mmmm (600 x 450).jpg

Before I left I asked them when they would be back again, as it would save me bringing any food and drink next time!
I was away by 9.15am, unluckily for me the tide was in so for the first time on about 15 times of walking this way, I had to climb over the headland instead of along the beach. But for Kayakers it was perfect as they would be leaving with the tide going out, and on my recommendation were heading for Tarbet bunkhouse for the night, were I’m sure they would be entertained, as I was, by the warden Frank an 85 year old character with many tales (some tall) and jokes.

Frank, Tarbet (600 x 450).jpg

As usual it was very boggy under foot until I reached the old bridge at Carnoch, still standing I was pleased to see. :)

Loch Nevis (600 x 450).jpg

From there the good path zigzags up to the Mam Meadail pass (550m) then down an easier gradient towards Inverie.
I reached the excellent foundation bunkhouse at 1.40pm, and had a lazy afternoon there. I was going to eat in the Old Forge later, but with all the free food left I had a good 3 coarse meal in the hostel
Went along to the pub later for a couple of ales, it was a very quiet night there, and I was the last to leave at 10pm.

Tuesday 26th Oct.
Inverie to A’chuil (14.2 miles 22.9k)

Weather. Cloudy then rain.
I knew today was going to be bad day…weather-wise :( , as the forecast had warned. It was pouring down when I went to the toilet at 3am, but when I set off at 9.15am it was cloudy but dry and remained so until I reached Sourlies, from there on it never stopped, and when I reached A’chuil at 4pm I was soaked, inside and out…Gore-Tex guaranteed to keep you dry my arse! :?:
Two others were there, Paul and his daughter Sarah. With the coal they had brought and mine left two days earlier, we had another warm night by the fire, with my clothes hanging from every available hook and line by the fire.
We departed to bed at 10pm. I was in the alcove in the 2nd room. At about 1.30am I was awoken by shuffling and a head torch shining about in the 2nd room, I thought that Paul must have lost something, but this continued for several minutes, when suddenly a figure with head torch was hovering above me in the alcove where I was sleeping :twisted: , I shouted out “WHAT THE F**K ARE YOU DOING” as I thought that Paul had started to play murder in the dark! I was answered with “I’m sorry we have just turned up” It was a couple who had started walking from Strathan at 12.30am! So after they finally sorted themselves out, (they were also soaked) I went back to sleep… relieved I was still alive!

Wednesday 27th Oct.
A’chuil to Strathan (3.34 miles 5.38k) & Strathan to Kinbreak (3.87 miles 6.23k)

Weather. Cloudy, rain showers.
I woke around 8.30am…still raining….no one else up….back to bed and sleep….finally got up at 11am, followed by all the others, fire-like steam coming from the guys still-wet socks as he came out of his sleeping bag!
Luckily it stopped raining when I left at 12 10pm, and just got back to the car when the heavens opened again. I repacked and waited until 3pm when again I had a dry spell to walk to Kinbreak Bothy.

Brief sunbust (600 x 241).jpg

The burns were swollen, normally easy ones were hard to cross, so once over the pass, I soon crossed the burn up high instead of down by the Bothy. I reached the lonely Bothy at 5pm, soon got the fire going again (more coal carried in) for a night by myself.

Kinbreak Bothy (600 x 450).jpg

Kinbreak Bothy (2) (600 x 450).jpg

Thursday 28th Oct.
Kinbreak to Strathan.

Weather. Cloudy, rain showers.
Up at 8.30, away by 9.30.

Kinbreak Bothy (3) (600 x 311).jpg

At least the burns were back down as I retuned back to Strathan. With the weather set for cloud and rain for the next few days, I decided to head for a hostel in Fort William for the night, before the weekend in Glencoe for the Walkhighlands meet…..now there’s another story….told by others! :D
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Re: Strathan to Knoydart:- Sourlies ,Inverie, A’chuil, Kinbreak

Postby HighlandSC » Fri Nov 05, 2010 2:22 pm

Nice :D Sounds like a great run in with the kayakers! ...and I bet it's always good to not get murdered during a bothy night!
I've yet to stay in a bothy - on next years to do list!
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Re: Strathan to Knoydart:- Sourlies ,Inverie, A’chuil, Kinbreak

Postby malky_c » Fri Nov 05, 2010 2:43 pm

Looks like you managed to find loads of good weather in amongst the mixed bag we've been having. I've still to visit Inverie, but Sourlies is probably my favourite bothy, despite its structural shortcomings - stayed on a couple of occasions and always had a good time :thumbup: :thumbup:
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Re: Strathan to Knoydart:- Sourlies ,Inverie, A’chuil, Kinbreak

Postby mountain coward » Sat Nov 06, 2010 2:45 am

Superb amusing report and fantastic pics Mountainstar - my vote for walk report for November! :D Really enjoyed that one :D
mountain coward

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