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Casteil Bharraich - Tongue, Sutherland

PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2009 10:56 pm
by Myth
We were up in Sutherland for an easy run, and with a sore back I wasn't up for much... but this is a nice simple route.

We'd gone to Tongue because it was there, and between us and our destination. Being in a campervan, the fact that there were public toilets, and a shop that sold ice cream just sealed the deal!

After following signs for "village centre" off the hairpin, we parked opposite the hotel and wandered down to the shop to get the ice cream. We then wandered back towards the main road, and spotted a signpost. "Castle" it said! Looking out over the tops of the village there was an obvious ruin on the headland, it didn't look too far, and off we went.

The route drops from the village down past the reed bed waste water treatment plant (keep out it said - we did) past sheep fields and over the river on a nice little bridge. This walk is obviously used by locals, but was pleasantly clear of mess and litter, and obviously fairly recently made up - less than two years I'd have said.

Once over the river the path zig zags up the hillside, never too steep, cutting accross a bog (but raised above it) through some birch forest, and up onto the heathery headland, whilst cutting through various obvious rock formations. There is lots of slate of various colours, sizes and consistency to admire, and even some lumps of chalk. We combined the two to good effect... but the cat got the game.

The final turn up round the Castail reveals the remains of a blank walled, very small tower, nicely built, but probably in reality just a watch tower - there is only a single opening remaining. There were no interpretation boards at all which surprised me given the new path, but we got on with the clambering bit and you can easily get into the bottom, which obviously once had a barrel ceiling and the joist holes for the floor above are clearly visible - very hard to tell if that was all tho, as the stonework higher than the first storey is mostly gone.

The headland offers great views back over Tongue itself, towards Ben Loyal (only from the path - it's obscured by the headland) and to Ben Hope, but the best view is over the firth / estuary to the North - you can see / hear everything going on around the sea, and watch the fishermen, and seabirds for miles around.

Surprisingly the elevation of the castle is about the same as the village, so the walk back is about the same - longer on the headland side of the bridge, but a similar amount of climb back past the sheep fields (post-natal field only had one client when we passed - but the pre-natal field was stuffed with wallowing ewes) to the road.

A quick visit to a very clean, tidy and pleasant public toilet (rare!) and we hopped on board and left, refreshed.

A good little leg stretch / after dinner amble, probably just over 2km overall, and you won't need your boots.

Re: Casteil Bharraich - Tongue, Sutherland

PostPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2009 11:23 am
by canisp
Cheers for this one :) it sounds like a pleasent way to wile away a couple of hours