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4 days in Knoydart

4 days in Knoydart

Postby zozzles » Wed May 11, 2022 10:41 pm

Route description: Barrisdale Bay walk-in from Kinloch Hourn

Munros included on this walk: Ladhar Bheinn, Luinne Bheinn, Meall Buidhe (Knoydart)

Date walked: 01/05/2022

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A well timed week off after completing my Summer Mountain Leader assessment in Fort William gave me the chance to head to Knoydart on a solo trip (with my dog Poppy).

Day 1: Monday 2nd May
After packing all my (now mostly dried!) camping kit back into my bag I set off down the road to Kinloch Hourn. The Walkhighlands route description for the Kinloch Hourn to Barrisdale walk describes this last stretch of road quite entertainingly, and it is quite windy and narrow even by West coast standards.
box at the long stay car parking area

start of the coastal path from Kinloch Hourn


At the long stay parking area there is an honesty box, and route cards for walkers to fill out in case of emergencies.(apparently card payment also available at the tea room though I paid cash) I had no fixed return day so wrote my basic plan and said that I had enough kit to stay out an extra night if I decided to. Once in Knoydart there is almost no mobile phone signal apart from fleetingly on the summits, so this is something to be aware of.

The coast path from Kinloch Hourn to Barrisdale Bay was stunning, with plenty of spring flowers around including primroses, violets and lousewort. Lots of carnivorous sundew and butterwort around too. The patches of scots pine and birch woodland perched on the hillsides were so nice and lush to walk through! The 3 hilly bits weren't n issue, and we were soon at the final drop down to Barrisdale, with the view of the bay opening up in front of us.


wild flowers

Barrisdale Bay

At the bothy and informal camping area I pitched my tent and paid the £5 in the honesty box inside the bothy. The estate ask that all camping in the bay is to be done at the bothy camp site to reduce the impact of wild camping and associated toileting on the flora and fauna. Campers have use of the 2x toilets and water supply at the bothy which made for a bit of a more luxurious camping experience!
Barrisdale camp site

path upto Mam Barrisdale

The weather on Monday was stunning so we headed off, me with a lighter pack to do either Ladhar Bheinn or the munro duo Luinne Bheinn and Meall Buidhe - leaving the decision as to which until I was higher up on the route to see how the legs felt. Feeling fit, I opted for Luinne Bheinn and Meall Bhuidhe to make the most of the stunning weather.

Mam Barrisdale

From Mam Barrisdale I began following the path up Luinne Bheinn, then began traversing the hillside towards the lochans en route to the col to Meall Buidhe. It was quite rough underfoot but never tricky, with some nice slabby rock sections - which are avoidable if preferred. The route I took is similar to what Steve Fallon suggests on his walk description, but it is obviously unpathed, steep in places and would be very tricky in poor visibility. Once at the bealach, there were some slight scrambly sections upto to the summit ridge of Meall Buidhe, which required me to help Poppy a little, though she is so good at scrambling! I always keep her attached on a harness on bits like this, and she's very light weight so never any issues.
Traversing accross to Meall Buidhe

Rocky slabs with sunbathing deer

Scrambling upto the bealach below Meall Buidhe

looking over to Luinne Beinn, and the terrain we just traversed

Poppy on the slabs near the top

Top of Meall Buidhe

The views from the summit down to Inverie bay and across to Eigg, Rum and Skye were stunning! I met 2 guys with big overnight bags on here and we exchanged route plans. I think in the more remote hills everybody seems to look out for one another far more which is nice.
View over Inverie bay and out to Eigg and Rum

heading back from the summit of Meall Buidhe

From Meall Buidhe we retraced our steps to the bealach, then continued round to Luinne Bheinn via Meall Coire na Gaoithe'n Ear. At Bealach a' Choire Odhar we were able to have a drink/refill my bottle as it was such a sunny evening by this point. We got to the top of Luinne Bheinn quickly, and stayed at the top a while. The views down to Barrisdale were awesome.
view over Barrisdale Bay from Luinne Bheinn

Poppy grabbing a nap at the top

An easy walk down to Mam Barrisdale and then a nice walk back down to the bay past herds of deer.
Barrisdale evening

Day 2: Tuesday 3rd May
A more overcast day, but it was forecast to improve so we had a leisurely start before heading upto Ladhar Bheinn. We did the circuit of Coire Dhorrcail and only the very tops were in thick cloud which provided very little visibility. 1 scrambly step required me to lift Poppy up it. We did see an Eagle just before climbing into the clouds, I think it was eyeing up Poppy for it's lunch.
Zero visibility at the top, so we rejoined the main ridge and descended to Coire Dhorrcail. The weather was improving lower down so we sat a while overlooking Barrisdale Bay, where we had another eagle sighting overhead!
misty on top of Ladhar Bheinn
Coire Dhorrcail
cloud clearing over Barrisdale bay

That evening cleared up nicely and we enjoyed the company of the resident deer who grazes amongst the tents. Poppy was too tired to care much by now.

Day 3: Wednesday 4th May
I'd wondered about walking out on the Wednesday, as the forecast wasn't looking good at all. However I didnt want to leave yet, so instead of a hill walk we walked over Mam Barrisdale to Inverie and back. The weather miraculously cleared, so we enjoyed a sit in the sun by the sea in Inverie, and a pint at the Old Forge of course.
so many primroses on the Mam Barrisdale pass to Inverie

Loch an Dubh-Lochain appearing out of the cloud

At the Old Forge

Inverie Bay

That evening was another pleasant one in the sunshine back at Barrisdale.

Day 4: Thursday 5th May
It was raining quite heavily with low cloud, so Poppy was very reluctant to leave the sanctuary of the dry tent. Once I'd packed up around her and finally extracted her from her bed, we eventually left and set off on our wet walk back to Kinloch Hourn. Despite the weather the beauty of the surroundings here is still amazing, and I enjoyed the walk back. This bit of path was very sociable with lots of people doing the Cape Wrath Trail, I hope everyone I spoke to these past few days are still doing great, and good luck for completing it!!
Leaving Barrisdale Bay

Poppy and I on Meall Buidhe

Such a great trip, and I cant wait to return another time.
Poppy on Luinne Bheinn
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Re: 4 days in Knoydart

Postby dms78 » Thu Aug 03, 2023 12:03 pm


What a fantastic report in a great area. I would be interested to know if you have a route gpx to share:)
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Re: 4 days in Knoydart

Postby Colin1951 » Thu Aug 03, 2023 1:40 pm

Really enjoyed your report. I’ve got this area in sight for a trip soon and although the ferry into Inverie looks temptingly easy you’ve convinced me that at least once it has to be the walk to Barrisdale!

Maybe do both…..
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Re: 4 days in Knoydart

Postby adurden » Mon Jan 22, 2024 10:43 pm

Hi! Do you have any distances/ times or a map of this trip? Thanks!! Andy
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