Saturday 29 August 2015
Mallaig to Inverie, Knoydart
Ferry, 3 miles walked
Not a bad night’s sleep on the floor of the ferry office. I was treated to tea and an apple turnover for breakfast while waiting for the ferry and chatting to the ferry drivers.
Heavy rain was forecast and it was coming in waves but fortunately the crossing was eventful. There were 2 Air Force officers from Lossiemouth on my ferry, heading to Inverie for the weekend. Oh those were the days! As the ferry approaches Inverie Bay, having crossed Loch Nevis (the Loch of Heaven), it passes a strange, and large, statue of a Madonna on the Rubha Raonuill headland.
Inverie is a small town, population about 100, and the capital of Knoydart. I was impressed by the effort that has gone into the community, starting with the home-built ferry terminal building (a wooden hut) that is a welcoming sight on a rainy day. There were a line of land rovers parked outside it – I think everyone has one to get about the 7 miles of road around Inverie that is not connected to anywhere outside Knoydart. Truly remote.
The Knoydart Foundation was set up and bought the land for the community in 1999. There is lots of information on the struggles with landowners in the Ranger’s office. The most notorious landowner was Lord Brocket, a Nazi sympathiser, and apparently Hitler was a visitor at Inverie House in 1937.
The rain was on and off all day but I managed to walk to the campsite and put my tent up without getting soaked. I did have to duck into the tea room to avoid one heavy shower on the way but that wasn’t a hardship.
I went on a short walk around the town and up the hill to the viewpoint.
Knoydart has 3 Munros but there was no point in tackling one for the views today as they were invisible in the cloud. I settled in Britain’s remotest pub for the afternoon and evening and was joined by a bunch of musicians who were having a traditional music jam session with their accordions, flutes and whistles. There is a lovely feel about this small community; there clearly is a vibrant community here. Hydro electricity powers the town and they are keen on all things ‘green’ (the campsite has a compost toilet). There are some wondeful-looking tourist houses, with great views and hot tubs. I am content with my tent by the beach, although I won’t be taking advantage of the fire pits and ready-chopped wood as it’s unfortunately not dry enough to sit outside for the evening.
Fortunately I phoned ahead to book dinner in The Old Forge pub as it gets very busy. For £4 I can get a shower here too. With 4 days in the wild coming up I think I’m going to take advantage.