Two Women and a Welshman on the Cape Wrath Trail

Date walked: 11/06/2014

Time taken: 7 days

Walking part of the Cape Wrath Trail Inverbroom to Strathan over 7 days

Mr and Mrs Mountainstar journeyed up from Wales on Friday and stayed overnight in my flat in Glasgow. I left two eggs and a packet of yum yums out for breakfast because that’s how I roll.

On Saturday we headed up to Ullapool and collected our fourth person, Jane, on the way. Jane had been staying with her sister a few miles from Perth. Jane wasn’t impressed that we stopped for our first of two toilet and cuppa breaks in Perth, three minutes into her journey.

We stayed in Ullapool overnight and enjoyed a wee pub crawl. Mountainstar (Alan) was mulling over the range of ales in the Ferry Boat Inn when he said, ‘Oh I’d like to taste a Brazilian…’ Mrs Mountainstar (Ele) elbowed him in the ribs and told him he was having a pint of sheep sha**er.

1 Ullapool.jpg

Day 1: Inverbroom to Shenavall Bothy 9.4 miles

Jane, Alan and I walked with our day packs as far as Dundonell (4.7 miles), where we met up with Ele to collect our rucksacks (Ele was spending the week sightseeing in between driving us to and from walk points). I got a great view of a cuckoo perched on a cable here.

We walked into Shenavall Bothy and caught up with our good friend, Monty (Colin), and his guitar. We were joined in the bothy by Rich; a guy from Hollywood who was taking a break from filming Ben Affleck’s new movie, Gone Girl (Rich was the lead man, which means he was the person responsible for designing the sets on the film).

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Day 1 Deer at the Bothy

Colin (who was staying for his second night) said there had been about twenty others in the bothy the night before; four of whom were rescued by helicopter due to the river swelling and not being able to get back across after their walks.

After a great evening of sing-song and bothy fire banter we settled down for the night in our sleeping bags.
‘Are you wearing your ear plugs, Alan?’
‘What’s that? I couldn’t hear you because I was wearing my ear plugs’.

Day 2: Shenavall Bothy to Kinlochewe 15.7 miles

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Day 2 Shenavall Bothy

Alan’s dream of walking for a week with not one but two women quickly evaporated:
‘How far is it now, Alan?’
‘Can we stop for a break, I’m thirsty?’
‘Can we stop for another break, my feet are sore.’
He started walking a mile ahead of us, just to get away from the nagging.

We caught up with Ele at Kinlochewe and spent the night in Torridon Youth Hostel.

Day 3: Torridon to Lochcarron 8.5 miles

This mountain pass walk was a highlight for us (I would walk this again in a minute). Alan was still walking a mile ahead on his own when he spotted a golden eagle. He shouted over to us to see it, but we were on a different path and walking in the opposite direction.
‘What are you doing over there?’
‘We don’t know.’

When we arrived in Lochcarron I was on the lookout for ospreys (I had seen one here before a few years ago). The campsite was closed so Alan and Jane had to book into Jerry’s hostel at Achnashellach instead. Ele and I were staying with Hilary and Dave at their Achnashellach Station House B&B. I have stayed with Hilary and Dave before, as they have a family of pine martens visit their kitchen window in the evenings for jam and biscuits.

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Day 3 Felicity the Pine Marten

Alan and Jane came to the Station House in the evening for dinner, and Jane in particular was glad to get a few hours away from Jerry and his hostel. Jerry is well known for his oddities (walking around in his underpants sort of thing). I wanted to meet the character for myself (I like bonkers folk) but there was no time or opportunity.

Hilary and Dave told me about an osprey nest on a telegraph pole in the area but again, there was no time or opportunity to see it.

We did visit a local hotel after dinner for a couple of pints of ale. Alan insisted there definitely was time and opportunity for that.

Day 4: Attadale to Loch Duich 11.1 miles

I skived off this walk and spent the day visiting gift and coffee shops with Ele. It rained on Alan and Jane all day.

We stayed at the bunkhouse at the Kintail Hotel, where we had a great meal and got chatting to a fellow female walker about knitting (poor Alan was really knocking the pints of ale back by this time). The Kintail wild goats were outside the hotel, so I enjoyed watching and photographing them.

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Day 4 Kintail Wild Goat

Day 5: Glen Shiel to Kinloch Hourn 7.8 miles

This was another great day walking a mountain pass. Our friends, Carol and Keith, met us at Kinloch Hourn in their van and treated us to a campfire barbeque.

Day 6: Kinloch Hourn to Sourlies Bothy 14.1 miles

This was an awesome scenery walk but a hard, hard slog walking through bog for most of the way. It took Carol, Shaba (Carol’s boss’s dog), Jane and I hours and hours and hours to walk this, and we didn’t reach the bothy until 9pm.

6 Janet Alan Jane Carol and Saba at Kinloch Hourn.jpg
Day 6 Leaving Kinloch Hourn

At the bothy there was a friendly couple of lads (one of whom slept through 7 hours of the 8 or 9 hours we spent there, snoring loudly), and two couples. Carol asked the couples if they minded the dog being there and three of the four of them said they did. We didn’t say anything but we did sneak a cheeky wee smile to each other. Sourlies Bothy is known for its smoky chimney, so we lit the fire and told them we had carried enough peat bricks in with us to last until morning. We had to sleep with the door open so we didn’t kill ourselves with the fumes, but the two couples slept in their tents outside instead.

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Day 7 Saba at Sourlies Bothy

Day 7: Sourlies Bothy to Stathan 8 miles

The last day was another hard slog walking through bog but again, the scenery was awesome. Most of this walk was spent with Jane cursing me for waking everyone up at 5am, me cursing Alan for planning the route in the first place, and Carol trying to take our minds off everything by pointing out and naming all of the wildflowers. Keith and Ele were waiting for us in Strathan with a welcome cup of tea and sandwiches, and then we all packed up and headed to Glencoe for a celebratory end of walk drink in the Clachaig.

Alan has sobered up since getting over the trauma of walking with us, and we hear he is now doing pretty well in rehab.

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Day 7 Three Shadows

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