Mar 2nd, 2014
Today (as it was not actively pouring with rain) we did what we have wanted to do since we arrived, and walked right down the east side of Loch Goil as far as the end of the peninsular where Loch Goil meets Loch Long.
From the Ordinance Survey there are two paths up to the end, a high level one which winds through the hills and joins a forestry track at Coran Lochan, and a lower level one which follows the side of the Loch. We were hoping that although there is a gap of about 500 yards between the two paths, that it would be possible to scramble between the two and make the walk a circular one.
We left on the upper path at about 9am and walked for about two hours up a fairly steep path through woodland with some sensational views of the loch through gaps in the trees.
The woodland then gave way to open moorland and the peace and solitude was complete, only observed by two sheep and a solitary buzzard high overhead. Around noon we arrived at Coran Lochan.
We were a little surprised to find three green huts and a military Land Rover complete with a signals mast set up there. One soldier with a sub-machine gun (hopefully loaded with blanks!) was guarding the camp and as it was right next to the picnic table where we had hoped to have lunch – we pushed on to the end.
Bizarrely, right at the end of the track, quite literally in the middle of nowhere – were two Portaloos. I honestly can’t imagine the sort of person who in the middle of a wilderness area like this would have any requirement to look for or use this kind of facility – I mean (not to put too fine a point on it) what are bushes for!
We then had a bit of a disappointment. The reason the two paths don’t join – which isn’t clear either online or on the ordinance survey map – is that there is a pretty steep cliff between the two. It might be possible to get round this by coming off the path earlier and skirting round part of the loch at the bottom – but by this time it was drizzling and we were a bit tired. Anyway – it would be much easier to try to make our way from the lower path to the upper once we have seen what the situation is like on the other approach, so next time, we will do the walk the other way round.
We ate our sandwiches sitting on a rock overlooking the sea. Bizarrely from here we could clearly hear the noise of traffic from the road at the other side of the lochs. By distance it was probably only a mile or so to the road – but in time taken unless you could fly it would be about four hour to get there.
We retraced our footsteps as far as Stuckbeg (an isolated farmhouse) and then took a steep and rough track down to join up with the lower path. By this time it was raining hard and we were glad to arrive home the back of 3pm. This took 2 reasonably fit people six hours to walk and six hours later I am still stiff and tired. Apart from the soldiers, we saw precisely two other walkers and one dog.
My test for the week starts on Tuesday, so tomorrow I need to try out my rotovator – hopefully I will be recovered by then.