Thursday, 20 June 2013

Torridon - Bartman returns

Friday evening, cycling home from work. Got a week off, good weather. At my door there's a campervan. Happy he’s back, the Belgian man. 

Travel north together. To Torridon. Trek through the cool woods by the river. Half dome of Fuar Tholl looks like Yosemite. Along the airy ridge of Beinn Liath Mhor. Can almost touch the rock wall of Liathach. Throw the tent up by a lochan. A high place, above the sea and the midges. Watch the sun sink beyond Skye. Try to guess where it will set. But we’re asleep before placing a bet. 

Unzip the tent above the clouds of a morning inversion. Scramble up Sgorr Ruadh with hands and boots on rock. Chill out in Shieldaig. Beachcombing, people watching. Daydreaming about living in the yurt we find in the woods along the coast. Climb up the stone shoot of Coire Mhic Fhearchair. It’s primeval here. Imagine pterodactyls circling overhead. Balance along the narrow ridges of Beinn Eighe. Step aside as others squeeze by.   

Into forgotten Fisherfield. Trek the remote shores of Lochan Fada. Wild goats watch us. Another scramble up loose rock in the rain. Ruadh Stac Mor. Make camp on a high beach. Noisy neighbours, those sandpipers. Coffee and porridge warm a wet morning. Cross the causeway of the Dubh Loch. Its builders made two lochs of one. We wondered how long ago. Walk for hours through the Letterewe woods, damp and dripping and deserted.Wet and tired, we’re back at the van. My home on the road with the Belgian man.

For all the photos click here.

Fact File 
Maps: OS Landranger 19 and 25. 
1) Beinn Liath Mhor and Sgorr Ruadh - can be climbed from Achnashellach Rail Station served by trains from Inverness. Cross the line at the west end of the platform and follow the right of way to Torridon via Coire Laire. Above the trees take the two right hand splits in the path and walk up the steep southeast face of Beinn Liath Mhor. Follow the ridge northwest – a superb walk with great views. We camped just below the top at a high lochan. Descend to the bealach below Beinn Liath Mhor – a path will help you through the steep, rocky terrain. From the bealach ascend the northwest ridge of Sgorr Ruadh which has an easy but fun rock section near the top. Descend to the bealach between Sgorr Ruadh and Fuar Tholl and pick up the path that rejoins the outward route. 
2) Beinn Eighe – the right of way from Achnashellach continues through to Glen Torridon. Take the path opposite Ling Hut that cuts north between Liathach and Beinn Eighe and follow the right hand split into Coire Mhic Fhearchair. Ascend the stone shoot on the back wall of the coire onto the ridge. Make your way east along the main ridge. A steep path descends back to the glen at Spidean Coire nan Clach. 
3) Fisherfield – from  Kinlochewe (serviced by Westerbus from Inverness) follow the road to Incheril and pick up the right of way to Letterewe signposted at the back of the car park. Follow it to Gleann Bianasdail and turn north through this glen. Trek around the east and north shores of Lochan Fada and head towards A’Mhaighdean, contouring round its easterly slopes to the bealach below Ruadh Stac Mor. Scramble up through the rocks to the top. Return to the bealach and take the path that heads northwest. We camped here at a high lochan. Descend on the path to Carnmore and the Dubh Loch. Cross the causeway, take the left hand split in the path over Bealach Mheinnidh to Letterewe and trek east back to Kinlochewe. 
Tip: Shieldaig is a top spot for chilling out. Community campsite in the village (pay by donation) looks out over the bay; gorgeous walks along the coast with little hidden beaches; very cool coffee shop in corrugated iron hut on the beachfront.

1 comment:

  1. A wonderful place Fisherfield. Lost in time. Great blog. made me long to be there again.