Return to Kintail

Descent of the orange rucksacksThis weekend past saw a trip to Kintail to knock off a few hills, during which a group of us stayed at the NTS bunkhouse that we’d stayed at on one previous occasion two years ago.

We had planned to spend Saturday doing the well-known Five Sisters of Kintail, a stunning ridge of peaks close to the main road from Inverness to Skye.

I’d never done them before, but sadly our group cancelled on the plan because of the weather. It wasn’t unduly bad – rain and wind, but very much within manageable limits – but the problem was the thick mist enshrouding the Five Sisters.

They are apparently a great climb, and together represent one of the most spectacular ridge walks in the country, with incredible views all around. We felt, therefore, that there wasn’t much point doing all that on an occasion when there was nothing to see.

So Sunday’s target, Beinn Fhada, was promoted to Saturday’s billing. It, too, was covered in mist, but at least it was not so much of a waste of effort or a loss of views as the Five Sisters would have been.

Still, though, it presented an interesting and challenging climb with a long walk, a couple of fast-flowing rivers to navigate, and lots of rain (and even some snow) to battle through.

On the lower parts of the ascent and descent, the sun just about shone and there were lovely views back along the glen.

On Sunday, the weather again unconducive to a major climb, we did the old coast path from Corran/Arnisdale, near Glenelg. It was a lovely walk with great views of Loch Hourn and across to Knoydart. At the path’s end, we could see Berrisdale, known for being a a midpoint between Kinlochhourn and Inverie.

BayI had been to Inverie a long time ago, a village not on the road network and home of supposedly Britain’s remotest pub The Old Forge. There, the great food and beer is no doubt enhanced by the fact that you’ll have inevitably undertaken a major hike (or at best a boat journey from Mallaig) to get there. It was a lovely four-day walk there and back, and I’d love to go again.

The whole area around Kintail and Knoydart is home to some of Scotland’s best mountains and coastline, and perhaps its most spectacular scenery. It will be nice to return again when it is not quite so wet and miserable.

Because of the rubbish weather, I didn’t take too many photos. A few of them, though, are on Flickr for your perusal.

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