Frost, sunburn and a free map on the Affric Kintail Way

Date walked: 16/04/2015

Time taken: 4 days

Distance: 71km

Having walked into Knoydart the previous spring with my pal Bob, we had decided on another spring trip and we settled on the recently opened Affric Kintail Way. We decided to walk it over the four days between Thursday 16th April and Sunday the 19th April. On the Thursday morning we left very early and dropped a car off at the Ranger station at Morvich. After speaking to a very helpful guy who was with a Rangers work party, we got the all clear to leave a car there and also told him the route we were taking and when we were due back. He told us that it was the official opening ceremony on Friday - that did not bother us as we reckoned that the ceremony would be miles from where ever we were :)

We got to Drumnadrochit about eleven and then headed off out of the town and into the woods. At the first sign, beside a magnificent redwood tree, we high tailed it up the hill - at this point Bob realised we should have not done that so we had to double back and rejoin the route - lost in the first half hour! :roll:

This was a pleasant walk on good tracks through the forest and I realised that my heavy boots were probably not the best choice for this walk and I would wear lighter ones next time! After passing the wee settlement of Shenval we eventually hit the main road which we stomped along accompanied by the sounds of chainsaws in the woods! The verge was good on this road so you could get out of the way of oncoming traffic - I suspect that this verge will become a fairly decent path in time.

By tea time we had reached Cannich and the low cloud that had hung about all day had broken and it was nice and sunny. We walked into the camp site and after speaking to the friendly owner we got our tents set up and then high tailed it to the Slaters Arms for a bite to eat and beer :-) We stayed here a while and after a few more beers and a wee night cap we retired to the camp site.

I was woken up very early by a magnificent dawn chorus, it was fabulous, and after listening to it for a while I drifted off to sleep... I awoke again to find it was about 10am - the night cap was very effective :wink: So after having breakfast and packing up we left the camp site, sheepishly, at mid day.

It was a lovely afternoon as we left Cannich the sun was out as we followed the woodland path towards Glen Affric. As we were coming down the hill towards dog Falls we had realised it was getting cloudy again and we decided to stop there for a quick snack. We had noticed a guy with a camera standing there, and he had a proper camera, two in fact and he looked professional... As I took the first bite of my Pepperami a load of vehicles turned up with people in it, Bob and I both realised that this was something to do with the opening ceremony when Cameron Mcneish jumped out and started walking to the bridge with a crowd of folks - I took this sneaky picture.

Cameron Mcneish at Dog Falls going to cut the ribbon

We stayed at our bench trying to keep our head down but a couple of people came over talk to us and ask us if we were walking the route, when we told them we were, they went away and came back with more people who are involved with this route and the opening ceremony. I was handed the excellent Harvey XT40 Affric and Kintail map which I was told was "hot of the press" and I wonder if it was maybe Mrs Harvey who handed it to me!! We then had our picture taken holding this map by the man who runs the website and facebook page (we ended up on the Affric Kintail facebook page :lol: ). After we said our goodbyes (I was like an embarrassed schoolboy) they took off over the bridge probably for another picture opportunity up the hill. After all this excitement we headed off up the hill and trudged on.

Our first view of the way ahead

Bob marching on towards the end of day 2

After finishing stage two, we did not go to the car park but headed further up Glen Affric looking for a place to camp. As we passed the lodge we realised that the loch was fenced off and at the height we were, there appeared little opportunity for camping spots due to the healthy heather and bumpy ground. We did eventually find a spot by a burn and pitched our tents. I had been hoping for something a bit closer to the loch for some sunrise photo opportunities, but by this time I was relieved to have found somewhere in good time.

A nice peg friendly camping spot

Watching the sunset whilst eating Supernoodles!

I settled down for the night and went to sleep. I woke up about one and poked my head out to marvel at the stars as the sky was crystal clear, I also realised that it was cold and the tents were covered in frost. I decided then that my 2kg (!) four season sleeping bag had been worth the bulk and weight as I was toasty. I had set my alarm for 6am and after I had breakfast I took the opportunity to take some pictures in the glorious early morning light.

A frosty tent!

A beautiful morning at Glen Affric

Here comes the sun :-)

The sun appears over the hill...

Sgurr na Lapaich.jpg
Sgurr na Lapaich from our camp site

Due to the heavy frost on the tents we decided to hang around for a while and let the sun do its thing so we didn't pack frosty tents. We set off a bit later than expected but this stage seemed quite short so we could afford the delay. As we marched onwards looking over Loch Affric, the sun got warmer and we realised that the forecast for cloud was not going to happen, it was a beautiful still and sunny day and the loch was like a mirror. As I like to take photos I winced a bit at having to go somewhere as I could have spent all day here taking pictures - I will be back, but I will be lucky if it is like this again!
Loch Affric, like a mirror

We marched onward and the sun got hotter, it was also following us and my left ear was getting BBQ'd. I had not bought any sunscreen due to weight and the forecast of cloud :? We marched on in the heat, past Strawberry cottage on our way to Alltbeithe.
Heading for Alltbeithe

Nearly there!

Made it!

We stopped at the youth hostel briefly and spoke to the resident there, we then headed on in the heat towards our stop for the night - Camban Bothy, on the way we stopped to speak to a heavily laden man who was sweating in the heat and was heading to Ullapool! We carried on and I took pictures on the way.
A hot day!

Approaching Camban Bothy

A ruin near Camban Bothy

We reached the bothy and we were the only folks there, it was still early so we killed some time drying the tents and I took some pics.
Camban Bothy

Room with a view

The front door

A cyclist joined us in the bothy with his dog just as night fell and he was planning a circular the next day, we just had the final leg to do and we wanted to leave early so we could get back in good time for the drive home.

We headed off about 8am for the final leg and this bit was my favourite as the rough path was easier on my feet than flat tracks or road, the walking was also entertaining too with some steep drops at the gorge.
Glorious Kintail

An entertaining path

A steep drop

After we descended past Glenlicht House, we knew we did not have far to go. We walked right into the middle of lambing time so we negotiated Gleann Lichd with caution as we did not want to upset the wee ones and come between them and their mums, it was really busy here!

We finally reached the Rangers station - it was time to go back to civilisation and work the next day! We were very lucky with the weather and the scenery was fantastic - I certainly enjoyed myself. The Harvey map we received when we bumped into the opening ceremony was excellent too, I have it as a memento now :D
The end - back to the car and the long drive home.

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Mountain: Ben Wyvis
Place: Drimnin
Gear: Pearl Izumi troosers
Camera: Olynpus EP-1 or Canon SLR
Ideal day out: Taking my time to get a lot of pictures.

Munros: 32
Corbetts: 2
Grahams: 3
Donalds: 5
Sub 2000: 5
Long Distance routes: Affric Kintail Way   

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Trips: 1
Distance: 71 km


Trips: 3
Distance: 27.35 km
Ascent: 1836m

Joined: May 11, 2014
Last visited: Sep 07, 2020
Total posts: 10 | Search posts