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Golly, it's the Bat of Albannach Burn!

Golly, it's the Bat of Albannach Burn!

Postby Pastychomper » Mon Jun 03, 2019 4:24 pm

Date walked: 20/05/2019

Time taken: 11 hours

Distance: 38 km

Ascent: 965m

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Route: S(t)rath Dionard - Creag Staonsaid - Glen Golly - Bealach nam Meirlich.

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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. :D

I parked in the sadly litter-strewn laybay west of Gualin House after a wet morning. The rain had mostly stopped by then.
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Entering Strath Dionard
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A bit of Foinaven...I think.

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.
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Many a winding turn

The bike helped to speed me along to Loch Dionard, but I'm not convinced it was a net benefit for the whole afternoon.
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Loch Dionard

The river just north of the loch was fordable,
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Looking back across ford
then it was burns, crags and peat hags,
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Ruin at Carrachandubh
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Across Loch Dionard
until the estate road leading over Creag Staonsaid.
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Looking back to Loch Dionard and Foinaven

This was a steep walk up and down but there were tracks at the top from something like a dirt bike or fat bike.

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Creag Staonsaid cairn

By now some of the clouds had lifted, allowing pretty good visibility.
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ENE to Ben Hope
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SE: Ben Klibreck, a bit of Hee
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SW: Sabhal Beag and a bit of Meall Horn
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NW: Foinaven, Cranstackie, and a bit of the route in

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Descent towards Glen Golly

Glen Golly felt completely different: Steep, wooded hillsides, waterfalls,
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Easan Choineas
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And another one
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South from second waterfall
and a narrow grassy meadow under the evening sun.
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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,
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S end of Glen Golly
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.
Deer (a)bounded.
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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.
I'm always happy to meet an amphibian.

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.

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Not the best 'tent shot', I was just glad to find somewhere without any "widowmakers" nearby!

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.

Just when you think you're alone in the wilds, a U-boat surfaces in the burn. (To be fair, I actually thought this hydroelectric dam was pretty unobtrusive).

The route:

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