Route: S(t)rath Dionard - Creag Staonsaid - Glen Golly - Bealach nam Meirlich.
This low-level walk was the start of a three-day bike camping trip. A combination of steep tracks and mechanical failures had me walking somewhere between half and two thirds of this section, which I think is far enough to justify a report.
I parked in the sadly litter-strewn laybay west of Gualin House after a wet morning. The rain had mostly stopped by then.
The route down Strath Dionard had an epic feel about it - the long track winding for miles along a boulder-strewn valley floor, with big grey mountains supporting big grey clouds on either side.
The bike helped to speed me along to Loch Dionard, but I'm not convinced it was a net benefit for the whole afternoon.
The river just north of the loch was fordable, then it was burns, crags and peat hags, until the estate road leading over Creag Staonsaid.
This was a steep walk up and down but there were tracks at the top from something like a dirt bike or fat bike.
By now some of the clouds had lifted, allowing pretty good visibility.
Glen Golly felt completely different: Steep, wooded hillsides, waterfalls, and a narrow grassy meadow under the evening sun. It was tempting to pitch here for the night and leave the rest of the walk, but... plans. And midges.
Over a small pass and down by Gobernuisgach Lodge, the third part of the walk began. This track/road was far smoother, unlike the country that surrounded it, but by now I wasn't up to pedalling up hill.
Around sunset I met the first person I'd seen since Gualin House, a camper riding in on a fat-tyred bike who stopped to say hello.
This isn't him - there was a toad on the track further along.
Eventually, over the umpteenth small rise, the Albannach Burn Plantation loomed ahead like a big, dark welcoming committee. This was my destination for the night: close enough but not too close to the road, with running water nearby. As I coasted down the track a bat fluttered up from somewhere near the bank on my left - the bat of Albannach Burn!
I forded Allt nan Albannach and parked the bike in a not-too-boggy area around 11:30pm. This was still prime deer country: huge chocolate raisins all over the place, and a lot of the trees had been antlered half (or more) to death.
I had hoped to bag a few peaks, but after a migraine the next day I decided to take it easy and stick to the valleys instead. It turned out to be the wettest and cloudiest week of May so I didn't miss much in the way of views, but I don't regret going one bit. The lower 400m of that area is spectacular.
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Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.