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Barrisdale Bay/Kinloch Hourn to Shiel Bridge - alternative?

Barrisdale Bay/Kinloch Hourn to Shiel Bridge - alternative?


Postby Sjiep » Sat Mar 18, 2017 5:58 pm

Good day,

I am planning on walking from Barrisdale Bay to Shiel Bridge early June. It's pretty hefty distance and I have tackled Meall Bhuidhe & Luinne Bheinn coming from Inverie the previous day. Considering I have camped at Barrisdale Bay and knowing my body is always on the alert the first days of camping, so it will have been a light sleep, perhaps this stretch will be (too) tough.

I read Cicerone's guide and they mention an alternative route. After Kinloch Hourn, instead of heading towards the Forcan Ridge and The Saddle, they mention to keep following the path of the pylons, heading north west towards Gleann Dubh Lochain and Bealach Aoidhdailean. From there heading north east, skirting A'Chrannag and Tor Beag, and making your way from there to the camp site at Cnoc Fhionn and via the Old Military Road to Ratagan and then Shiel Bridge. The hostel at Ratagan does even sound tempting :)

I suppose that this alternative route has a lot less altitude differences to tackle compared to the Forcan Ridge option, but whether it has a good path to follow I am not sure.

Since Harvey Maps' CWT South doesn't cover this bit, I'd like some feedback on how this altennative folds out, both in terms of difficulty and how 'good' it is, as "following the pylons" for quite some miles might not be very nice to do. And perhaps the Forcan Ridge isn't that rough :)
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Re: Barrisdale Bay/Kinloch Hourn to Shiel Bridge - alternati

Postby willsdad » Sun Mar 19, 2017 8:52 am

Hi Sjiep,

I can't say anything about the alternative route but I found the Forcan ridge route pretty hard going with a full pack. I did Kinloch Hourn to Morvich, by which point I was done in.

It's doable but don't expect an easy day.

That said, it's stunning and well worth it!
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Re: Barrisdale Bay/Kinloch Hourn to Shiel Bridge - alternati

Postby Mal Grey » Sun Mar 19, 2017 11:15 am

willsdad wrote:Hi Sjiep,

I can't say anything about the alternative route but I found the Forcan ridge route pretty hard going with a full pack. I did Kinloch Hourn to Morvich, by which point I was done in.

It's doable but don't expect an easy day.

That said, it's stunning and well worth it!


Yeah, I wouldn't fancy the Forcan ridge whilst heavily laden.

The pylon route looks fine, though trackless so may be heavy going and less attractive. An alternative might be to sneak round the side of the Saddle/Forcan via Bealach Coire Mhalagain, contouring round to Meallan Odhar to join the descent from the Forcan. This will also be rough country, but more interesting than the pylon route I think.

On the pylon route, an alternative to the campsite at Cnoc Fhionn would be Suardalan Bothy Grid Ref NG883172.
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Re: Barrisdale Bay/Kinloch Hourn to Shiel Bridge - alternati

Postby IanEzzi » Sun Mar 19, 2017 1:05 pm

I cycled the pylon route as part of my Cape Wrath trip, it's largely a good track or path most of the way, looks like there's been regular quad bike access to the top of the Aoidhdailean pass from the Glean Dubh Lochain side, although little or no track back down the other side (for the steepest, top part of the descent anyway).

The scenery was quite nice in places, and I would have liked to have explored Glen Dubh Lochain more, there might even be some good places to pitch a tent in the glen.

From Suardalan there appears to be a route heading almost directly east which then descends to Shiel Bridge. My wee sister stayed there last year and said the campsite itself was pretty grubby and unfriendly...
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Re: Barrisdale Bay/Kinloch Hourn to Shiel Bridge - alternati

Postby Mal Grey » Sun Mar 19, 2017 1:35 pm

Interesting, from the OS 1:25k I couldn't see much sign of a path, just the pylons, but I can trace it on Google Earth. Looks like a good bad weather option, subject to stream crossings.
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Re: Barrisdale Bay/Kinloch Hourn to Shiel Bridge - alternati

Postby IanEzzi » Sun Mar 19, 2017 2:13 pm

I found an old post I did a while ago, doesn't show too much of the route up or down the Aoidhdailean pass, but there's a couple of photos there.

http://bigplansweecountry.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/glenfinnan-to-cape-wrath-part-1-rough.html
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Re: Barrisdale Bay/Kinloch Hourn to Shiel Bridge - alternati

Postby Sjiep » Mon Mar 20, 2017 10:11 am

Mal Grey wrote: An alternative might be to sneak round the side of the Saddle/Forcan via Bealach Coire Mhalagain, contouring round to Meallan Odhar to join the descent from the Forcan. This will also be rough country, but more interesting than the pylon route I think.


Oh, this is actually the route I meant, when I mentioned the Forcan Ridge/The Saddle. Sorry for not being clear, but I wasn't planning on actually tackling these two, but following the route as described here www.walkhighlands.co.uk/fortwilliam/bar ... vich.shtml

I guess I decide upon arrival at Kinloch Hourn which route I take, depending on how knackered I feel. Good to know the alternative route has a decent trail though. Seems like having no map of the area won;t be a showstopper.

Thanks for the link Ian, sadly some pictures seem to be broken (for me, at least)
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Re: Barrisdale Bay/Kinloch Hourn to Shiel Bridge - alternati

Postby Giant Stoneater » Mon Mar 20, 2017 11:00 am

Since your passing Tor Beag you could also spend the night in Suardalan bothy.
At Suardalan bothy I would head for the bridge at NG 889 173 which crosses Glenmore river and take the forest track,NE of the river to Cnoc Fhionn as the track on the NW side can get rather boggy and its rather over grown.
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Re: Barrisdale Bay/Kinloch Hourn to Shiel Bridge - alternati

Postby basscadet » Mon Mar 20, 2017 4:45 pm

Giant Stoneater wrote:Since your passing Tor Beag you could also spend the night in Suardalan bothy.
At Suardalan bothy I would head for the bridge at NG 889 173 which crosses Glenmore river and take the forest track,NE of the river to Cnoc Fhionn as the track on the NW side can get rather boggy and its rather over grown.


but is well marked with canes and ribbons :wink:

I've done most of the route before getting blown off the hill (literally 120mph!) its a full days 20 mile walk and over 2 passes - still the best part of 2000M ascent by the time you tack on the ups and downs of the barrisdale path - wouldn't of thought it much easier than the saddle route..

You can walk to Clunae hotel from Barrisdale without much climbing if you go the other way - about 1200M, (although still a good 20 mile distance ) you can maybe get a hitch or a bus to Shiel Bridge from there.. Certainly interesting :lol:


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Re: Barrisdale Bay/Kinloch Hourn to Shiel Bridge - alternati

Postby Giant Stoneater » Mon Mar 20, 2017 9:39 pm

basscadet wrote:
Giant Stoneater wrote:Since your passing Tor Beag you could also spend the night in Suardalan bothy.
At Suardalan bothy I would head for the bridge at NG 889 173 which crosses Glenmore river and take the forest track,NE of the river to Cnoc Fhionn as the track on the NW side can get rather boggy and its rather over grown.


but is well marked with canes and ribbons :wink:

I've done most of the route before getting blown off the hill (literally 120mph!) its a full days 20 mile walk and over 2 passes - still the best part of 2000M ascent by the time you tack on the ups and downs of the barrisdale path - wouldn't of thought it much easier than the saddle route..

You can walk to Clunae hotel from Barrisdale without much climbing if you go the other way - about 1200M, (although still a good 20 mile distance ) you can maybe get a hitch or a bus to Shiel Bridge from there.. Certainly interesting :lol:

New_Route (6).gpx


Back in September 10th there was no signs of canes and ribbons.
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Re: Barrisdale Bay/Kinloch Hourn to Shiel Bridge - alternati

Postby basscadet » Tue Mar 21, 2017 9:40 am

Aye, I think the Lochalsh dirty thirty goes through the bit from Suardalan to shiel bridge (or maybe the other way) so at certain times of the year it is marked. maybe some years not all the markers are taken in..
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