Tuesday, April 22nd 2014- Inchnadamph to Kylestrome. Dep Inchnadamph 0900, arrive Kylestrome road end ie at the A894 at 1640. Distance 17 miles, time taken, 7 hours 40 minutes. OS Landranger map 15.
A memorable day's walk through some magnificent country, great views of Quinag and passed by Eas a Chual Aluinn, Britain's highest waterfall. Mainly blue skies with patchy cloud but had to 'endure' a 5 minute shower as I approached Kylestrome. Good tracks most of the way from Inchnadamph to the Bealach and down onto onto the ridge above the Abhainn an Loch Bhig. Rough and basically pathless from there to Glencoul bothy. Track from Glencoul to Glendhu bothy, tough in places, then good estate track from Glendhu bothy to the road at Kylestrome.
I was staying in B and B in Ullapool so drove up to Inchnadamph and parked up in the car park between the road and the Inchnadamph Hotel. Out the car park and head up the main road for a short distance before taking the first right and pass by the entrance to the Inchnadamph Hostel.
A few minutes after passing the Hostel, you'll see a small cairn and a path heading uphill to the left, see photo below.
Basically, you follow this path all the way to Loch Fleodach Coire. I started up the path at 0910, path was good, clear and easy to follow, albeit it headed steadily uphill. Advantage of heading uphill was the wonderful panoramic views it afforded you. On a morning such as this, under blue skies, this was a truly special place to walk. Magnificent views in all directions.
After about 10 minutes you pass an old gate and 35 minutes later (0955 approx) I passed this rustic shelter.
One path veers off to the right around 273240, ignore it.
Once passed this shelter you begin to get good views of Loch Fleodach Coire and the bealach also comes into view.
At 1010, I'd arrived at the western end of Loch Fleodach Coire. Given the dry weather, I was easily able to cross the main river, and a couple of smaller ones, and all the while keep my feet dry. No danger of getting wet feet crossing these streams today.
It's a nice view from the Loch up to the obvious Bealach.
There's a path at the far (North west) end of the Loch which heads up the hill. I followed this but it soon ran out.
As I ascended towards the Bealach I enjoyed some geat views looking back over the route I'd come.
However, given the excellent visibility it was no problem to work my way up to the Bealach, which I reached at 1050.
Again, the views from the Bealach were fantastic, both looking back over the route I'd come and looking east and north east over the country that lay ahead of me.
The path from the Bealach drops quite steeply down towards a small Loch before heading across some rough and rugged moorland.
Path is still obvious but not as clear as earlier. I had beautiful weather but would imagine this traverse of the moor would be a lot more challenging in mist or other adverse weather.
The path takes you across the moor and under the clear skies I enjoyed, I was afforded some nice views back towards the bealach.
By 1125, I arrived at two Lochans. The path winds through the narrow gap between the lochans, larger loch on your right, smaller one on your left.
Follow the still obvious path round to the right, within a minute or so you'll pass a small cairn.
Path goes to the right of this small cairn, follow this path which should mean you're keeping the larger of the two lochs on your right.
After about 5 minutes and beyond the end of the larger of these two lochs you'll see a tiny cairn on your left with a faint path running down to the left.
At this point, there's a larger more obvious path heading uphill to the right. Ignore it and take the faint path that goes to the left at this small cairn. At this point, you'll be able to see down to the Abhainn an Loch Bhig, the stream that you follow out to Loch Beag. It seems a long way down!
This path crosses the small burn and begins to meander downhill. Initially the path is obvious but it soon disappears and it's then simply a case of finding the best way downhill to the Abhainn an Loch Bhig. I made is safely down to the Abhainn an Loch Bhig by 12 noon, just 3 hours after leaving the car park at Inchnadamph.
So far so easy but that was soon to change!
The walk out along the Abhainn an Loch Bhig to Loch Beag was hard work, ground was boggy in quite a few places, undulating, and every now and again, I had to jump between various peat banks. Tough going.
I went down the right hand side of the Abhainn an Loch Bhig, staying to the right of the line of an old, decrepit fence. With hindsight, it may have been drier to have gone another 10-20 metres uphill. C'est la vie.
If the going was tough, due to the ground conditions, the views of Eas a Chual Aluinn, Britain's highest waterfall, more than compensated.
Awe inspiring, an absolutely magnificent sight, one to long linger in the memory banks.
The view ahead to Loch Beag was also wonderful, the blue of the ocean offering quite a contrast to the darker colours I'd seen over the preceding few hours as I crossed the moor.
By 1235 I'd arrived at the Atlantic in the shape of Loch Beag. From here, paths seemed to appear and disappear. I stayed on the hillside, perhaps 5-10 metres above the water and followed the shore round the east side of the Loch, sometimes on a path, sometimes not. At 1300 I arrived at a stone wall and once across that an obvious path (4wd track) came into view.
5 minutes walk along this track brought me to Glencoul Bothy.
The bothy has a wonderful location on the shore beside Loch Glencoul. I could think of worse places to spend a night but I had booked B and B in Ullapool so no camping for me. I stopped at the bothy, which appeared to be in good condition, to drink some water and enjoy a well earned sandwich while soaking up the views.
At 1320 I was on the move again. Cross over the Glencoul River - again, this was easy to cross today - and head a short distance (less than 100 metres) on the good track going uphill to your right, river on your right. Look up to your left and you'll see an obvious path heading diagonally uphill, heading high above Loch Glencoul. Clamber up to this path and follow it. It's steep going but as you get higher your reward is that the views improve.
The path climbs steeply before beginning to contour around the hillside.
Loch Glencoul is well below you to your left and Unapool and Kylesku, with The Quinag towering above them, comes into view across the Loch.
At one point, just before Loch Gleann Dubh comes into view, some small cairns have been built to help with navigation. By 1410 I got my first view of Loch Gleann Dubh.
It's a tough old slog from here down to Loch Gleann Dubh, the path is more like a small stream, water flowing through it. As you head down, Glendhu bothy, along with another couple of small buildings. come into view at the head of the Loch.
I worked my way along the shore at the far end of the Loch, made easier by some strategically placed stepping stones!
I crossed over the small bridge at the end of the Loch at 1455.
Once over the bridge it was just over 5 minutes to Glendhu Bothy. Again, the bothy seemed in good condition and for the campers among you, it looked like it would be a grand place to spend the night.
10 minutes to recharge my batteries at Glendhu bothy, and I was back walking, following an obvious 4wd track heading west, along the north shore of Loch Gleann Dubh, towards Kylestrome.
Given what I'd walked on for the previous few hours, this track made for very easy and quick progress. It also offered some great views across the Loch to Unapool and the Quinag.
The path crosses over the Maldie burn from where there's a nice view of a waterfall along with evidence of building work relating to the Maldie hydro power scheme.
At 1610, the track split. Take the track that goes to the left, the lower of the two tracks, and follow this to Kylestrome.
As i started along this track i got 5 minutes or so of rain, a small price to pay for a fantastic day's walking. After about 15 minutes you'll come to a minor road, turn right along this road and follow it out to where it joins the A 894.
I reached the main road at 1640 then walked along it, crossing over the Kylesku Bridge, and 20 minutes later I arrived in Kylesku where I went into the hotel for a warming bowl of soup.
Suitably refreshed I made my way back up to the main road where a couple I'd passed on the walk out from Glendhu bothy stopped and gave me a lift back to Inchnadamph and my car. Perfect end to a near perfect day's walking.
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