In the heart of Ardnamurchan Volcanic Ring

Date walked: 26/04/2019

Time taken: 6 hours

Distance: 12km

A circuit into the heart of the crater and over some of the surrounding hills

Parked at Sanna Bay car park at 4pm and headed through the dunes to the wonderful beach. Strolled along the beach to its south end.

Crossed a stream over a wooden plank bridge and took a good path up the hillside, soon going parallel to a small stream. View back over the bay:
Sanna Bay.jpg

Soon reached a waymarker for Achnaha 3 miles and followed this. Rain set in. The good path winds around with views towards Sonachan and comes down to two new houses.

I think it is possible to divert left to the bealach before reaching the houses, but I didn't really pay attention.
The route continues between the two houses up the hill (waymarked at the beginning). Even though the route is sparsely waymarked later, it is simply a matter of going up the Bealach Ruadh.
It’s a windy place here. At the top of the climb, you are standing on one of the hills forming the outer ring of hills surrounding the volcano crater. There is a wonderful view down to Achnaha lying inside the crater, and over to the hills of the outer ring. Then down the slopes, towards Achnaha, soon joining a fence coming in from the left. Here the route is again waymarked and leads you along the fence first and then slightly right, away from the fence avoiding most of a boggy area, to the main road. View back to the high point:

Turned right onto the road for a short section before leaving it at a quarry on the left. Here a good track heads up left of the quarry into Glen Drian. Once passed a gate and an information board, we continued for a short while before pitching the tent.

The next day, the sun had chased the rain, we continued to the ruined village. There is a stream with some fine small rapids on the right, before reaching the village. The last house is by far the most substantial.

The route goes through a gap in the wall behind the ruin, turns sharply right, northwards, and then continues towards Bealach Mor.
However, the path was very wet and slanted down to cross Allt Mhic Cailein and boggy ground. So we left the path and instead stayed high, using a good trod around the eastern and then northern slopes of a small knoll on our left. the going was dry and easy, with views to the bottom of the valley, dotted with new holes, for plantation I guess.

This lead us westwards until a fence came into view and we changed direction, following the fence and heading up the bealach west of Meall Clach an Daraich. A good view back showed very well the crater area in the middle surrounded by hills.

The area just next to the fence is wet in places, but the rocks to the right give dryer walking. From the top there is sudden view to Rum and Eigg.

Down the other side along the fence until we reached a gate. It was locked unfortunately and we had to climb over it. On the far side, had to cross a moorland stretch to a cairn that can be seen on the top of a knoll on the far side.
We did the walk after a fortnight of dry weather so it was no problem, but I guess after a rainy day or two it could be quite wet. In this case, instead of heading straight across the valley, skirt around left, more or less close to the fence, to gain higher ground.

From the cairn, we continued around the slopes of the next hill, first west, then northwest, before dropping down on a narrow but easy to follow trod, and heading up again on the next knoll. Once over this knoll a fence comes into view. We followed it towards the sea and discovered the first of a series of small, hidden bays.

The route was now easy, simply along the coast, leaving the fence on our left. It offers several other bays (in one we found a pool with a dozen of tadpoles) where we passed most of the rest of the day. There are great views back along the coastline towards the cliff hiding Glendrian Caves.

Continuing along the coast we reached Rubha an Duin Bhàin, with a fine beach and remains of a fort.

Still further on, to Sanna Point and from here down the coast back to Sanna Bay, a paradise for shell collectors and a good end of this fine walk.

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Location: Paris
Occupation: Preparing my next trip to Scotland.
Interests: In addition to Scotland?
Activity: Backpacker
Pub: Too many people in pubs..
Mountain: Rois-Bheinn
Place: Loch Eilde Mor
Ambition: Skye Trail

Long Distance routes: West Highland Way    Loch Lomond and Cowal Way    Skye Trail    Arran Coastal Way   

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Joined: Feb 11, 2018
Last visited: Aug 17, 2019
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