Day 148 A Short walk to Kinloch Hourn

Monday 31 August 2015

Barisdale to Kinloch Hourn

7 miles

Kinloch Hourn Farmhouse B&B

I was up early as I had planned to walk 15 miles today and, as it has been 6 weeks since I last walked with a full pack, that’s biting off quite a lot, particularly with the difficult terrain. 

It was a calm, still morning and quite muggy so the midges were out. So long as I kept walking they weren’t enough of a bother to require long sleeves and a head net. I left the bothy before the Czech guys surfaced.  

The view back to Barisdale Bothy
 The tide was in and Barrisdale Bay looked utterly tranquil and totally beautiful. The stillness of the water made for some wonderful reflections, even on a cloudy day.  

Loch Hourn looking spectacular
 The water was stunningly clear and I was so mesmerised that I walked past the clearly marked path I was supposed to take. Fortunately I only walked about 50m too far before I reached the edge of the loch.  

Looking back at Barisdale with Ladhar Bheinn just visible high on the right
 I just about managed to see Ladhar Beinn poking through the clouds before I turned the corner to walk along the side of Loch Hourn.  

Another stunning view of Loch Hourn
 The path was easy to follow, a bit up and down, wet and boggy with plenty of stream crossings. Fortunately I am wearing gaiters and my boots, being new, are as waterproof as they can be, so my feet didn’t get too wet. I met a couple of people on the way and they all had wet feet. At least I now know it is a common problem when hiking in Scotland; everyone suffers and no one can dry their boots out.  

Looking along Loch Hourn to the sea
 The cloud seemed to be getting lower even though the weather forecast had been good. I was walking slowly, only about 2 miles per hour. This was a combination of difficult terrain, an extra heavy pack (extra food and water for the wilderness) and being unfit for walking after 6 weeks off. As it transpired I took just over 3 hours 15 minutes to walk the 7 miles to Kinloch Hourn and the guide book time is 4 hours so it is slow going around here.  

Clouds over Loch Hourn
 It is certainly a lot warmer and muggier than when I was last in Scotland. This made for a very sweaty walk today, and also explains the sudden, en masse, appearance of the midges.  

There’s a house over there
  
I can almost see some mountain tops
 
I was tired when I reached Kinloch Hourn and found a tea room that I wasn’t expecting. What a joy. Tony offered me a bacon sandwich and I couldn’t refuse. I sat chatting with a couple who were walking the Cape Wrath Way (same as the Czechs), which is a seriously hardcore route that goes off-piste through the mountains, is not signposted and much of it doesn’t have paths. They had wild camped the last 7 nights. I am becoming resigned to the fact that I couldn’t do without washing for that long.  

Approaching Kinloch Hourn – there is a community nestled on the banks of the loch
 So it turns out the tea room is also a B&B. Perfect. I can afford it and 7 miles was enough on my 2nd day. Besides, it started raining again.  

Remote living

No roads to this house
 The next 8 miles is rough path so I decided to save that for the morning. I sat in the B&B admiring the view, updating my blog and chatting to Pierre (he’s French), another one doing the Cape Wrath Way and bemoaning the persistent wet feet, bog and lack of paths. A common theme! It rained and the midges came out – the worst I’d seen them. I was glad to be inside.  

4 thoughts on “Day 148 A Short walk to Kinloch Hourn

  1. chris frazer September 1, 2015 / 7:15 am

    Stunning scenery, midges, rain, bogs, new boots and extra rations and still, after a six week lay off, you took 45 minutes off the guide time to Kinloch Hourn – respect! Enjoy the next 8 today…..you will get back into it…On on Juice……

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  2. Rohan September 1, 2015 / 7:30 am

    Swim in the lochs ( for cleaning), reduce the weight of your pack by getting water from the burns as you pass ( keep a little for emergency if the burns dry up in a sudden dry spell. The water you carried from Inverie and Barrisdale will have come off the hill in any case. The local people live off this supply with no ill effect… ok you may have found the guy in the pub odd (I know who that was but will not name him here) but that is for other reasons ( alcohol related). The environment people did condem the school supply at Inverie. It goes through lots of treatment but did not come up to Sepa standards. Their advice was that the children should bring water from home…..same supply but much less treated! The hostel and camp site have notices saying you should boil the water but I don’t know any one who does. I had forgotten that there was a tea room at Kinlochhourn I’ve never stopped at it. It wasn’t open the day I walked out from Inverie to KLH in blazing heat, carrying a full pack plus a bad hangover, I think I averaged 2km/hr! and there was no water in the burns. I’ll be going in that way on October but it will probably be closed for winter. Enjoy your walk to Sheil Bridge and Skye. The weather must improve for you soon.

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    • Lucy September 17, 2015 / 2:19 pm

      Hi Rohan. Sorry I didn’t get to reply to this at the time. Thanks for all of your helpful advice. I did indeed drink the water at Inverie campsite and the bothy, which I assumed was piped down from a burn higher up the mountain. I was reticent to collect burn water myself for drinking as I am always quite low down and nearer the outflow than the source. What is your view on that? I thought of you as I sat by my fire on the beach. I really appreciate all of your comments, thanks

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  3. Zephyrine September 1, 2015 / 8:40 am

    I’m enjoying wilderness heaven, from the comfort of my front room! Lovely to see you here, Rohan, too – all common-sense stuff about the water. I lived off “burn” water for over 2 years with no ill-effects, only boiled it for making a brew. Zephyrine

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