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If you survive the drive...........

If you survive the drive...........

Postby jakeyboy » Sun Sep 26, 2010 1:44 pm

Route description: Diabaig to Craig

Date walked: 25/09/2010

Time taken: 3 hours

Distance: 8 km

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So, with the promise of a dry day, off I set for the beautiful Torridon hills. The west coast, (Scotland) is so gorgeous, I can never resist it. So I always stop frequently to take in and photograph the scenery, first stop then:

Loch Achanalt
Early morning reflections

And resisting the attempt to stop every five minutes, my next photo op came at the viewpoint for Kinlochewe. One of the most beautiful views you'll see on this road.
Here's a picture:
The Kinlochewe glen

Okay, I'm getting carried away with the pictures, so I'll cut to the chase. After a very pleasant drive I arrived at Torridon village. This area is one of the most popular with climbers/Munro baggers etc, since there are 3 main Munros and umpteen lesser hills to choose from. So it was obvious that the weather had attracted large amounts of folk to the area and at this early hour they were beginning to organise themselves for a days climbing/walking.

Acknowledging the various enthusiasts as I drove by, I continued along the road to what now remains in my memory as the hairiest drive of my life! (so far). Now, I'm used to single-track roads, passing places and the like, but this road is something else!! The narrowness is one thing, but add to that the sheer windiness, and you've got yourself a spectacular and sometimes downright scary drive all the way to Lower Diabaig!! The scenery is spectacular along the way, but you daren't even take your eyes off the road for fear that you'll meet an oncoming vehicle. I did! Several in fact, and believe me, it ain't funny! On top of this, and possibly the scariest moments of all, were when hitting the brow of a hill, because you just couldn't be sure of which way the road went on the other side. And because you were looking skyward at the time, you needed to grit your teeth and hope for the best!! Of course, slowing almost to a stop is the answer, but the steepness caused problems there too. You'll be glad to hear that I arrived at Diabaig no worse for wear, if a little shaky.

The hair-raising drive was definitely worth it of course, since after a final very steep descent, you are treated to the most gorgeous setting that is:
Diabaig Bay.
Lower Diabaig

Since as usual, I had left home without my printed directions, (what's that all about?) I parked at the picture-postcard pier and asked the two guys fishing there. Turned out that they were on holiday anyway, but a couple taking in the scenery from a nearby garden were only too happy to point me in the right direction. So back up the hill I went.

For anyone making the same mistake, the turning is on the left just a little way back up the steep brae, or on the right as you make your approach from the top of the hill. Follow this road until you come to a parking space, (by no means a car park) on the left before a white house with a sign outside that states "No Parking - Turning area only" or words to that effect. A matter of yards farther up from the parking, on the verge to the right is this sign:
Start Here
The walk is signposted

I know! You're thinking, "At last we're getting to the actual walk!" Well okay, we are. Through the two gates and onward to Craig, the path is well defined and in the great scheme of thing really not boggy at all. A little rocky/stony in parts for my liking, but all in all a superb and easy to follow path. A dry but dull day robbed me of the best of the spectacular scenery, but the views were nevertheless typical of the area. Crossing the rocky moorland was easy enough but with not much to look at save the odd babbling burns which trickled their way down the steep slopes to the rocks below. As I reached a large cairn, I wondered if it perhaps marked the half way point of the walk, but decided it was just a convenient place to have one. Up high, situated on one of many large stone slabs it was a good place to sit and ponder the rest of the trek and look back at where you had come from.

After a while views of the coastline appeared below, and the sandy beach at Red Point could be seen. As the path meandered inland at this point through lush heather moorland, I soon reached Lochan Dubh. A very small Lochan, and more of a pond to be honest, but just beyond, was the descent to the Bothy at Craig. Taking in the views of this contrasting picturesque glen I began the steep winding descent, and was soon having my lunch in the well-maintained bothy.
Craig Bothy
The place to have lunch?

After lunch, and a wee tour of the bothy facilities, I decided to head down to the beach. Unfortunately, I found the going a little boggy, and after much consideration, I decided not to take the chance on the going getting worse, and headed back. To be honest, I think I was put off by the dull weather. Good walking weather really, but not worth the trip to the beach. Anyway, I'd enjoyed my walk to Craig, and it was time to set off back.

The ascent of the steep hill back up from the bothy was nowhere near as difficult as I had anticipated, (since I had also neglected to take my heart medication before I left home ??) and stopping frequently ensured a trouble-free climb to the lochan. Heading back, the day seemed to get brighter, and as I reached the large cairn again, I decided that it probably was a good marker for the half-way point. I met an elderly couple on their way out, and advised them on the steep descent at Craig and the slippery stones on the path there too. They were surprised to see another human on the path, and I told them that as far as I knew, I was the only one there that morning. Arriving back at the parking place, only our two cars were in evidence and after a wee cup of tea, I prepared myself for tackling the helter-skelter ride back down to Torridon.

The Diabaig to Craig walk is a perfect length for a morning's outing, and credit must be given to the MBA for their upkeep of the bothy there. The well maintained path is just right for walkers of all ages, and I would recommend the walk to anyone. A little short on scenery, bar the views out to Red Point, the walk itself is hassle free. And the outstanding scenery provided both on the way and at the village, beach and harbour of Lower Diabaig make the trip worth while at any rate. Including the hour spent at the bothy, the total time for my walk was three-and-a-half hours. A very enjoyable 2.5 hr walk along a decent path.

Finally, joking aside, please note that the road from Torridon to Diabaig is a very treacherous and hazardous one, and not for the faint-hearted.
A winding road but look at the scenery!
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Re: If you survive the drive...........

Postby Roitelet » Thu Dec 26, 2019 7:14 pm

This report brought happy memories from the distant past. I spent a few days at Craig (then an SYHA hostel) in 1957. Bathed at Red Point when the sand was unbearably hot, got sunburn on the back of my legs on the return to the hostel. Getting provisions involved walking to Diabaig and back. What it was to be young!

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Re: If you survive the drive...........

Postby Bothybob » Fri Dec 27, 2019 12:51 pm

THE "Hairiest " drive I have ever undertaken but the walk out to Craig was worth it A long drive for a day walk
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Re: If you survive the drive...........

Postby Sgurr » Fri Dec 27, 2019 5:05 pm

Some of us young parents walked into Craig in the 1960s leaving the others to babysit the 6 kids. In possession was a 16 year old boy who told us he was beginning to miss civilisation, although "I don't mind being by myself, but I would really like to know where the FOOTSIE stands." We managed to keep straight faces until we had approx 10 yards between us and the door. I hope he didn't hear us laughing. Took us longer than we thought, but we put it down to being unfit rather than the terrain.
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