Strathcarron to Kinlochewe, Sunday 13th October 2013. OS Landranger Maps 25 and 19. Start 0915 Strathcarron, arrive Kinlochewe 1520. Total time 6 hrs 5 minutes. Distance 17 miles approximately.
Strathcarron Hotel where I stayed the night.
Hotel was satisfactory but not as good, in my opinion, as the Kintail Lodge. That said, I got a good night's sleep and the breakfast was more than adequate.
After yesterday's stroll from Morvich to Strathcarron via the Falls of Glomach, Glen Elchaig, Glen Ling and Attadale, today's walk is easier and shorter. And a nice morning view of Strathcarron to get me in the mood.
After checking my maps and discussing routes with the bar staff at the Strathcarron Hotel I headed west along the road the short distance to New Kelso.Turned right there and headed up the track towards the River Carron. Picked up a path there which ran alongside the River Carron. That eventually turned into a better track that swung left away from the River and took me out on the A890 to the south of Coulags.
Plan was to walk the road from here to Achnashellach then pick up the track above Achnashellach station that leads onto the Coulin Pass. Other routes eg http://www.capewrathtrail.org/#!sr-day-7/c1bmsgo to the east side of Loch Dughall then to Craig before heading back down the A890. Didn’t make sense to me to walk further, albeit off road, when I could cut across to the A890 from the hotel and follow it north. And after 2 days getting wet feet going from Cluanie to Kintail then from Morvich to Strathcarron a few miles on dry, easy to follow tarmac, appealed to me!
So off along the A890 I set. The road is single track but it was quiet, very little traffic, and with the good weather continuing I got views along the road to the NE. Verge was also wide enough to provide plenty space between me and any traffic.
I got to Coulags at 10am. As you approach Coulags you pass this sign.
I had considered taking that route through from Coulags to Torridon but discounted it as it was much longer than the one I’d settled on for today.
Despite walking along the road the views were good. Nice views over Loch Dughall as you approach it.
Shortly before you reach Achnashellach the road passes through an avenue of trees.
The road up to Achnashellach railway station is signed from the A890. Follow the track up the hill to the station. I arrived at the station at 1110. Station is very basic, one small shelter, other that that no facilities.
There’s a sign at the station for the Coulin Pass.
Cross the railway at the crossing and head uphill for a short distance. More signs here including one that said due to timber harvesting there was a diversion in operation that would take you to the Coulin Pass. Diversion was along another excellent forest track that ran just above the railway.
At the end of this forest track, almost where it meets the main road, another diversion sign sent me up the hill, again on a good, easy to follow trail. I think this might be the track used by those coming from Craig?
As you ascend so you are rewarded with some great views back over Loch Dughall towards Strathcarron.
At 1205 I arrived at a signpost then 10 minutes later I passed through this gate and onto the Coulin Pass itself.
Track from here was excellent, wide and easy to follow. Some excellent views looking along the route of the track to the North, Beinn Eighe visible in the distance.
Followed the path over the moorland and at 1255 arrived at this bridge.
Stopped here for 20 minutes for a quick bite to eat before moving on, following the path as it headed to the right once it went over the bridge. All the time Beinn Eighe was becoming more and more pronounced.
I arrived at the cottages at Coulin at 1330.
Everything I’d read advises that you go right at this junction towards Torran-Cuillin. So, I went left!
I’d looked at the map and the road from the cottage at Coulin ran to the west side of Loch Coulin before crossing the narrow gap between Loch Coulin and Loch Clair and then followed the east side of Loch Clair on its way to meeting the A896 Torridon Kinlochewe Road at 002582. That route appealed as A) it appeared straightforward (and dry) and B) I’d read a few horror stories of how boggy the path was between Torran-Coullin and Kinlochewe and how thick some of the vegetation was that you had to pass through before getting to Kinlochewe.
I think I made a wise choice. The track from Coulin out to the A896, Torridon to Kinlochewe Road, was in good condition and made for easy, quick progress.
I passed Coulin Lodge at 1400. Road swings to the right after passing the Lodge before crossing between Loch Coulin and Loch Clair. All nice and easy to follow.
I eventually arrived at the A896 at 1425.
Turned right onto the A896 and followed it to Kinlochewe. Some nice views of Slioch as I headed towards Kinlochewe.
Arrived Kinlochewe at 1520.
The only thing open in Kinlochewe was the hotel. All the shops were shut. Sunday, out of the summer season, is obviously not a busy time in the village.
Checked into my B and B - Taransay – and later went to the Hotel where I enjoyed an excellent meal and a nice beer.
If you’re planning on stocking up in Kinlochewe, check before you go to see what is open and between what hours they are open. And don’t be expecting a cash machine, there isn’t one.
Next up: Kinlochewe to Dundonnell.
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