walkhighlands

Affric Kintail way - autumn glory

Date walked: 26/10/2015

Time taken: 3 hours

Distance: 55km

Depressed by having lost quite a lot of hard earned money through an online hack/fraud, but encouraged by a reasonable weather forecast and some recent posts on the affric kintail way - I squeezed 5 days at the end of October to do the stretch from Cannich to Morvich. I skipped the first stage from Drumnadrochit as it looked dull, the kind of walking I don't enjoy - tarmac, managed forest, enclosed land.

Day1. Cannich to the western end of Loch Affric.

It was fairly easy to get to Cannich on the bus even out of season, at least 3 buses a day out of school term. Id stayed overnight in Inverness and got the brutally early (for me) 6.28 to Cannich. The bus had no other passengers and the driver zoned out and had blasted through cannich before I reminded him I was supposed to be getting off there.
Very easy to find the path - rarely needed a map at all.

Pleasant if bland start through partially felled woods - autumn colours making it more interesting than it would be otherwise. Stopped at Dog Falls car park for breakfast and ground on.

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The forest track after Dog Falls


Some good views of loch helped by leaf fall, but didn't really get interesting until I got past Affric Lodge (looked great) amongst the more interesting caldonian pine bit of the forest (although seemed rather too sparse to call it a forest).

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breaking out of the woods

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Begins to get interesting - a proper tree


Other posts have rightly said there was little wild camping opportunity until this point - there were 3 or 4 grass bits - essentially passing points on the track - but they weren't really what I was looking for. Given it gets dark early I didn't really want to spend 15 hours on the side of the track which was almost a road. Instead I carried on hoping for something better. After about 5.5 hours and 25km (it really is very easy going, fine track, no ups and downs) I saw a grassy spit at the end of Loch Affric, with a nice beach and fairly short grass - its obvious you can't miss it - the perfect place to camp.

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the west end of loch affric



Not really that cold so I could enjoy a stunning full moon over the loch at night.

Day 2. Loch Affric to Camban Both.

Sun takes for ever to hit the tent in the morning - still hadn't managed it at 11am when I started off. It is a beautiful spot in the morning with the mountains though - low hanging cloud, and weak winter sun.

Crossed over the river and you get straight into glen affric, yet another beautiful scottish valley.

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Entering the glen


Almost warm with the sun on me. Path still firm, easy, no climbs or bogs. Only saw two people all day - a couple of cyclists who seemed to abandon the route after the hostel - and were going slower than me. Hostel closed this time of year but a wonderful location.

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great spot for the hostel


My plan was to stay at the bothy as it is a bit boring retreating into the tent at 4.30 and staying there until 10am.

The bothy is a fantastic spot and - joy of joys - previous occupants had left coal and kindling - I resolved to be that person in the future. My first ever bothy fire in the evening - makes such a difference to the experience. No-one else there - good clean, comfortable - such a brilliant facility in the winter much as I love camping.

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awesome spot for the bothy

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bothy

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fireside


Not many obvious spots for wild camping today - there are a few by the river after the hostel, possibly a few down the slope from the Bothy.

Really short but lovely day walking - probably no more than 12 km - just took 3 and a bit hours taking plenty of time to enjoy the landscape. The colour of the hills is stunning - the grass has turned golden brown. I've never been in Scotland at this time of year before and in the weak winter sun the landscape is transformed. Awesome.

Bronzescape
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bronzescape


Day 3. Camban Bothy to Morvich.

The reasonable sounding weather forecast when I set off from Inverness was foiled in practice. Moderate rain showers on and off most of the day. I had upgraded from my rubbish montane lightweight 'waterproof' trousers to a more robust Event model. So I was completely dry and it was not cold anyway.

Wonderful scenery - even in cloud and rain the golden/bronze grass looked good.

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glittering in the rain

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The path continued to be very good, to the falls. And whilst quite a steep drop at that point - it was not of the sort to make me turn back - I am a bit queasy about steep drops, and previously avoided the path by Glomach falls as I didn't like the sound of it - but this path was wide, firm, and only about 100 metres of it had the sort of drop that makes me worry.

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good path past the waterfall


Lovely valley into Morvich - the first obvious places to camp since the bothy - but it wasn't the weather for that, so I continued into Morvich and booked into the Kintail Lodge to spoil myself.

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descending to glen lichd


I had a bus booked the next morning from Shiel Bridge to Inverness - there are about 4 a day this time of year.

Another short day - about 4.5 hours I think. Couldn't have been more than 12-14km even to Kintail Lodge.

Conclusions

A lovely short walk. Worth doing more on the first day to end up staying somewhere really beautiful. The rest was glorious, easy walking, and if it had been warmer, i'd have really dawdled my way through.

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glorious colours


Short distances and good path makes it ideal for kids - might bring my own through here next year.

No phone signal at all for me (vodafone) on the entire route.

A great way to get into some lovely open country - with just enough buses to make it practical out of season.

Surprisingly few good spots to camp. Wonderful bothy - and the hostel looked great.

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Comments: 4



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Long Distance routes: West Highland Way    Kintyre Way    Skye Trail    Cape Wrath Trail    Affric Kintail Way   



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Distance: 183 km

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Last visited: Apr 18, 2019
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