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Knoydart - A truly special place

PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2016 2:00 pm
by Fife Flyer

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Day 1 walk Meall Bhuidhe & Loony Bin

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" :clap:
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 :roll: 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 :lol:
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.

Image 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 :lol:
Jimmy and Andy were staying in the bunkhouse which is at the other end of Inverie (which isn't big) :roll:
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" :lol: 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 :roll:
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.

Image The main road through Inverie

Image[/url] The road looking the other way

Image Inverie even has a Post Office and a postie

Image Off we go

Image Deer farm?

Image Team photo

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 :lol: :lol:
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 :roll:


Image Leaving the path and heading up on easy terrain

Image Oh good bracken :lol:

Image Andy obviously likes bracken

Image Bracken varies in depth

Image Different shades of green

Image Looking back to where we started

Image Kind of shows how steep it is

Image Getting steeper

Image 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 :(

Image Looking back now on higher flatter ground

Image Looking back to Inverie from on high

Image Looking back again

Image We located the path and headed uphill

Image Indicates the low cloud

Image 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 :wink:
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 8)



Image Karen just loves to demonstrate the 'bum shuffle' technique :lol:


Image Scenic shot

Image A bit more undulating terrain

Image Jimmy adopting one of his preferred poses :lol:

Image Descending again

Image Very remote

Image Going up again

Image Looking back

Image Andy just loves scrambling

Image Karen looking determined

Image Hands on

Image Simon next up

Image Looking back

Image Follow the path

Image Barrisdale Bay

Image Andy descending

Image Concentration

Image Karen's turn

Image Loony Bin summit

Image Me spoiling a great shot of Barrisdale, sorry :lol:

Image Now the descent

Image 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 :wink:

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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 :lol: :lol:

Image 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 :(

Image Simon concentrating on a difficult task :lol:

Image Here we go again, heading off the track

Image Karen loving the bracken

Image The bracken had grown overnight

Image Evie trying not to smile, but failing miserably


Image Karen trying to pretend the bracken is exceptionally high, but not doing a very good job

Image Looking across to Loony Bin

Image Looking back

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 8)

Image The way ahead is to the right

Image Looking back

Image Thankfully we aren't going down there, looks a wee bit damp

Image Yesterdays ridge, Loony Bin is the pointy hill


Image Barrisdale Bay

Image Above shot zoomed

Image Going up again


Image Looking back

Image Above zoomed

Image Following the path

Image 3 points of contact

Image Zig-zagging up

Image Summit ridge, cracking views

Image Cheery lot?

Image That's better

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 8)

Image Broad shoulder to descend down

Image Small wooded area and the track is just on the other side of the river

Image Nearly down

Image A wee bit neglected

Image No river crossings here

Image 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 :lol: :lol:

Image Waiting patiently

Image Simon doing what?

Image Take your time

Image No rush

Image He made it

Image Track back to Inverie

Here are a few photo's of some of the hustle and bustle that goes on in Inverie :lol: :lol:

Image Waiting area for the ferry

Image Taken from on the pier

Image From the pier again

Image A delivery of some kind

Image Highland Council bin lorry arriving


Image Hive of activity

Image Empty recycling skip being left, lorry would go and uplift a full skip to put on the boat

Image Bye bye Knoydart from the ferry

Image Any suggestions?

Image Above zoomed

Image 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 :lol: :lol:
Next for us all was a day off, then Skye to visit the 4 remaining hills on our schedule :wink:

Re: Knoydart - A truly special place

PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2016 2:43 pm
by dogplodder
Never been to Inverie or Knoydart so enjoyed seeing your pics. Looks like you had a great time. Note to self: go before the bracken gets too high! 8)

Re: Knoydart - A truly special place

PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2016 4:42 pm
by AJNicholls
Great report Martin. I was glad to be there with all of you and Ladhar Bheinn was a memorable hill for my 100th Munro.

Re: Knoydart - A truly special place

PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2016 6:29 pm
by martin.h
I enjoyed reading that Martin, what an adventure, I'll use this report for future reference as Knoydart has just been put on the "must do asap" list and that's getting longer :lol:
Well, one more to go, looking forward to the WR for that one. :D
We're up to Tyndrum 16th July for a week, if you fancy doing anything :wink: :D

Re: Knoydart - A truly special place

PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2016 7:48 pm
by dav2930
Looks like you guys had a cracking trip - great crowd! 8)

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! :clap:

Re: Knoydart - A truly special place

PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2016 8:54 pm
by simon-b
A nice account of our trip Martin, and what a beautiful place it is. Thanks to everyone for making it such a success.

Re: Knoydart - A truly special place

PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2016 9:49 pm
by AJNicholls
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! :clap: :clap: :clap:

Re: Knoydart - A truly special place

PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2016 5:16 am
by kmai1961
Excellent report, Martin; an entertaining and complete detailing of our Knoydart Adventure, along with a great selection of photos.

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! :clap: I look forward to reading about your last 'uns.

Thanks all, I had a grand time.


Re: Knoydart - A truly special place

PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2016 7:33 am
by Borderhugh
Entertaining report Martin :clap:

More fern bashing!

Glad you got the views. Sounds like a repeat for Evie :(

Shame you didnt get the epic views off Larven.

Re: Knoydart - A truly special place

PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2016 8:32 am
by Fife Flyer
Thanks guys, won't cut and paste all your replies :lol:

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 :lol: :lol:

Re: Knoydart - A truly special place

PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2016 10:24 am
by old danensian
Looks like you all had a great trip -and survived the bracken battles - nothing worse than ploughing through that stuff when it's wet - impossible to keep dry

Now waiting with bated breath for your Compleation Report from Mull - touching distance