Sunday 30 August 2015
Inverie to Barisdale
I had a lovely meal in the pub, which seems like it does good trade. It was time to leave when one of the locals – an odd chap – started boring me to death and then told me if I was coming back to Knoydart he would quite like a partner so the offer was there if I fancied living with him. It was difficult to refuse such a proposal from such a weirdo but somehow I managed to. I walked back to my tent in the dark and the rain. It rained all night on and off so I had unbroken sleep as it seemed like mini tornadoes kept engulfing the tent in strong wind and heavy rain. I thought it would be quiet at night in the middle of nowhere but how wrong I was; crashing waves, thundering waterfalls, howling wind, babbling burns and the pit-patter of heavy rain on the tent make for a noisy night!
The heavy rain didn’t stop until 10 am so I languished huddled in my sleeping bag. Fortunately the easy route to Barisdale is only 8 miles along a track so I had plenty of time. The poor weather meant I discounted taking the more scenic route that involved climbing Ladhar Beinn (thanks for the tips Rohan). I was glad I waited for the rain to subside because I didn’t get rained on for the rest of the day although it was very damp and, judging by which peaks I could see (not many!) the cloud base rarely lifted above about 600m. Oh well, I’ve come to expect it now.
On the bright side, I still had stunning views and the walk was so beautiful that I think I smiled the whole way. The first section followed a Land Rover track up the valley that holds the meandering Inverie River to Loch an Dubh-Lochain.
Just as I exited a small wood there, on a hillock at a bend in the valley, was a memorial. It is certainly in a great spot even though it was put there by the hated Lord Brocket to commemorate his father.
From the loch the path became a track that was very wet and occasionally became a stream. Nonetheless, it was a path and it led up Mam Barrisdale, a 450m col.
I still couldn’t see many of the mountains but the view back down the valley was amazing and over the other side turned out to be just as good.
As I walked down into Barisdale (the map has spells it Barrisdale and the signpost Barisdale – I’ve no idea which is correct) there were great views back up Gleann Unndalain (debates on how to spell Glen as well!) and along Glen Barrisdale. I still couldn’t see Ladhar Bheinn.
There were some very strange large rocks on this slope; they looked almost like chopped tree trunks with their curves and rings.
All of a sudden Barrisdale Bay came into view. The tide was out and I think the sand made it look even better. I had walked from the Loch of Heaven (Loch Nevis) to the Loch of Hell (Loch Hourn). Both are very beautiful and help to cut off and border the Knoydart peninsula.
There are no roads to Barisdale, but there are about 4 dwellings. I assume these people have boats, although I didn’t see any nearby. I did pass 4 people walking from Barisdale to Inverie and they were on a yachting holiday and had been dropped off to walk from Loch Hourn to Loch Nevis.
Barisdale Bothy was empty when I arrived at 3 pm after a very leisurely walk. It had two 6-person bunk rooms and a living room with a table and chairs, and a sink with running water. There was also a toilet and basin; provide your own toilet paper. As there was no one else there I was able to enjoy a strip wash and launder my smalls (I am a clean freak I’ve decided). Dinner was chicken massaman with potato and rice (British Army rations – thanks Chris), a cereal bar and a cup of green tea (no milk required). Yum.
There was nothing to do, no phone signal or internet on Knoydart, and the midges were coming out so I settled for an early night and a bit of reading (am on to A Butcher’s Broom by Neil Gunn). At 8.30 two Czech guys arrived after walking from Shiel Bridge (where I hope to be in 3 days, albeit via a different route). They were soaked from the knees down and kept saying they couldn’t believe how boggy the land was and how difficult it was to walk with no paths. I sympathised!!!
Despite an early night I didn’t get much sleep as have a bit of a cold and was coughing a lot in the night.