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Knoydart - A truly special place
by Fife Flyer » Tue Jun 28, 2016 2:00 pm
Munros included on this walk: Ladhar Bheinn, Luinne Bheinn, Meall Buidhe (Knoydart)
Date walked: 27/06/2016
Time taken: 18 hours
Distance: 51.5 km
Ascent: 3405m4 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
This week of activity for Knoydart and Skye has been planned for what seems like months and months and a huge thank you has to go to Karen who nominated herself as the "Cruise co-ordinator"
The arrangement with the ferry company was that we would get the 2.30pm one which gave us all plenty of time to wander up to Mallaig from all corners of the UK - literally. Andy gets the prize for travelling the furthest (Bristol), Simon (Yorkshire), Jimmy (Northumbria), Evie (Speyside) and Karen (Weegieland). There was a teensie weensy panic initially as the ferry company had no booking for us, mainly because the ferry is now run by a different company However the very nice lady in the office advised us there wasn't a problem and eventually mastered her computer and printed out tickets for us, we still an hour or so what else could we do but relax in a nearby pub with a nice refreshing pint
We boarded the boat just after 2pm and it was much bigger than the website suggested, but as it is now run by Western Isles Cruises that probably explains it.
Group shot on the ferry
The crossing took about 45mins and was very pleasant, only Karen had ever set foot on Knoydart before so the rest of us hadn't a clue what to expect.
We were met at the pier by Carla who owns The Gathering and she even took our bags to where we were staying, not that far away but it would involve going up a track
Jimmy and Andy were staying in the bunkhouse which is at the other end of Inverie (which isn't big)
Once we had settled in we all met up just before 5pm as Karen had booked us into a restaurant in Doune (recommended by Carla), this would involve a 5 mile walk. I think it is safe to say that none of us had walked 5 miles to a restaurant to eat before, good practice for the next couple of days though. The first 4 and a bit miles are along a single track tarmac road, which does rise about 300m, the last little bit is off piste and there is a sign directing you "Doune here" The setting for the restaurant is magnificent in a little secluded bay with a couple of boats bobbing up and down, there are about maybe 6 houses all holiday type homes.
The food was excellent with a set menu and well worth the walk, a taxi had been arranged to take us back to Inverie and we were each charged £5 for the 5 mile trip
We had arranged to have breakfast at 7.30am and what a breakfast, even I was struggling to eat it all and that just about sums up the portion sizes.
The main road through Inverie
[/url] The road looking the other way
Inverie even has a Post Office and a postie
Off we go
We met up with Jimmy and Andy and set off on our way, we were planning to follow the WH route, which we did initially along a great track. Once we crossed the bridge we had a discussion about what way to tackle Meall Buidhe, should we follow the track further along and then head up steep terrain or head up earlier onto the ridge and battle with the bracken. We opted for the bracken as that would be more challenging
The bracken was definitely with hindsight not the best option, we would have been better carrying a machete rather than poles as at times it was over 5ft high
Leaving the path and heading up on easy terrain
Oh good bracken
Andy obviously likes bracken
Bracken varies in depth
Different shades of green
Looking back to where we started
Kind of shows how steep it is
Evie romping uphill
Once the bracken jungle had been negotiated we made it onto the lower part of the shoulder that leads up towards Meall Buidhe and the going was so much easier, the bad news was that the weather was taking a turn for the worse - coats were needed
Looking back now on higher flatter ground
Looking back to Inverie from on high
Looking back again
We located the path and headed uphill
Indicates the low cloud
Not the biggest cairn
After we reached the summit of Meall Buidhe, Evie had been swithering on whether to continue as the weather wasn't exactly great. On reaching the summit she decided to head back down, not via the bracken but from higher up and pick up the track back to Inverie. When we met Evie later she said the decent was easy and that would have been a much better and easier way of ascent. Hindsight is great, but for any future adventurers unless you are a bracken lover, carry on along the track
Once leaving Meall Buidhe the ridge is not only rocky but also rather undulating, we could see Luinne Bheinn in the distance and it took us over 2 hours to get there, with a bit of scrambling on the way
Karen just loves to demonstrate the 'bum shuffle' technique
A bit more undulating terrain
Jimmy adopting one of his preferred poses
Going up again
Andy just loves scrambling
Karen looking determined
Simon next up
Follow the path
Loony Bin summit
Me spoiling a great shot of Barrisdale, sorry
Now the descent
Barrisdale from a bit lower down
After reaching the second summit of the day, eventually, we had a bite to eat and then set off down the shoulder, the path does disappear a few times but it is fairly obvious which way to head. Just after leaving the summit we got battered by a hefty squally shower that contained hailstones carried by a very gusty wind. The path through to Barrisdale could be seen in the distance, admittedly in clag navigating could be interesting.
Once we were back on the main path it was a bit muddy and boggy higher up but once the Lochan is reached the path improves considerably. It was then just a matter of staying on the path all the way back to Inverie.
A great day, that just about had everything and 2 hills that I would love to do again
Day 2 Ladhar Bheinn
Now onto day 2, which according to the weather boffins should have been the better day and that was the reason we had saved Ladhar for the better day. Evie was raring to go so we had arranged to meet up with Jimmy and Andy at 9.30 just along the road from the bunkhouse. The weather was kind of promising, there was hardly any wind which in the far west at this time of year means only one thing "MIDGE ALERT". We were a wee bit early and walked along to the bunkhouse and Jimmy deliberately took his time so that the midges could try and have us for breakfast
Jimmy leading the way
We were planning to follow the WH route and attack Ladhar anti-clockwise, which would mean a very long trek before we would reach the summit. The route starts off the same as yesterday on the same track, once the lochan is reached we then headed up to join the ridge, the bad news is once we left the track there is only a faint and very random path. As we gained height we then encountered the bracken again, after overnight rain the bracken was rather damp and waterproof trousers were essential
Simon concentrating on a difficult task
Here we go again, heading off the track
Karen loving the bracken
The bracken had grown overnight
Evie trying not to smile, but failing miserably
Karen trying to pretend the bracken is exceptionally high, but not doing a very good job
Looking across to Loony Bin
Once we reached the top of the shoulder, the bracken was then history and we picked up the path that would eventually take us along the undulating ridge round to Ladhar and beyond
The way ahead is to the right
Thankfully we aren't going down there, looks a wee bit damp
Yesterdays ridge, Loony Bin is the pointy hill
Above shot zoomed
Going up again
Following the path
3 points of contact
Summit ridge, cracking views
Unfortunately the summit was in cloud so we had to make do with a couple of shades of grey, after the obligatory photo's there wasn't much point in hanging around so it was time to descend. The descent was fairly easy with no steep bits, it was a matter of following the obvious wide shoulder down, then heading down towards the small forest in the glen. The track on the other side of the river was visible and that would eventually take us all the way back to Inverie
Broad shoulder to descend down
Small wooded area and the track is just on the other side of the river
A wee bit neglected
No river crossings here
Nice solid bridge
The bridge was an ideal spot for a final team photo, however Simon had other ideas - he was playing hard to get
Simon doing what?
Take your time
He made it
Track back to Inverie
Here are a few photo's of some of the hustle and bustle that goes on in Inverie
Waiting area for the ferry
Taken from on the pier
From the pier again
A delivery of some kind
Highland Council bin lorry arriving
Hive of activity
Empty recycling skip being left, lorry would go and uplift a full skip to put on the boat
Bye bye Knoydart from the ferry
Approaching the metropolis of Mallaig
I hope the photo's give a flavour of Knoydart, I for one loved it. There are certainly lots of money saving attractions, especially if you have a vehicle: No road tax, no insurance & no MOT, having said that there isn't that much road to drive on, free electricity as Knoydart has it's own hydro scheme. That aside there are plenty of drawbacks, everything else costs more as it has to be ferried across.
A huge thanks to all my colleagues for the three days and for making the visit a trip to remember, I would love to return. I daresay this walk report reads like an advert for the Knoydart Tourist Board
Next for us all was a day off, then Skye to visit the 4 remaining hills on our schedule
by dogplodder » Tue Jun 28, 2016 2:43 pm
by AJNicholls » Tue Jun 28, 2016 4:42 pm
by martin.h » Tue Jun 28, 2016 6:29 pm
Well, one more to go, looking forward to the WR for that one.
We're up to Tyndrum 16th July for a week, if you fancy doing anything
by dav2930 » Tue Jun 28, 2016 7:48 pm
Brings back good memories of a trip two of us had there in the same month last year. The ferry operator was Seabridge then and the boat could only take 12 passengers at a time - and I'm sure that big shelter by the pier at Inverie wasn't there! We did the Luinne Bheinn/Meall Bhuidhe walk the opposite way round and somehow managed to avoid any deep bracken, more by luck than judgement I think!
Shame the clag was down on Ladhar Bheinn. It was for me too when I did this one from Barrisdale in 2002. I'd love to go up there again on a clear day as I'm sure the views are spectacular.
Knoydart is indeed a special place!
by simon-b » Tue Jun 28, 2016 8:54 pm
by AJNicholls » Tue Jun 28, 2016 9:49 pm
simon-b wrote:A nice account of our trip Martin, and what a beautiful place it is. Thanks to everyone for making it such a success.
I see your Munro count has grown by a couple since I saw you on Saturday, Simon. Congratulations!
by kmai1961 » Wed Jun 29, 2016 5:16 am
These two walks were both long and challenging. As always, the camaraderie and support, banter, and silliness made the hours and miles fly by. Too bad we didn't have better weather, and more views, but hey, it also could have been much worse.
Simon, congratulations! I look forward to reading about your last 'uns.
Thanks all, I had a grand time.
by Borderhugh » Wed Jun 29, 2016 7:33 am
More fern bashing!
Glad you got the views. Sounds like a repeat for Evie
Shame you didnt get the epic views off Larven.
by Fife Flyer » Wed Jun 29, 2016 8:32 am
Many congrats Simon, you managed to sneak in Lurg Mhor & Cheesecake then? Which one did you compleat on, or do we have to hold our breath and wait for your detailed account of the very, very, very long walk in
by old danensian » Wed Jun 29, 2016 10:24 am
Now waiting with bated breath for your Compleation Report from Mull - touching distance