We were contemplating a night in Kearvaig bothy, up towards Cape Wrath, but we had left it too late in the season and the ferry was no longer running across the Kyle of Durness to get to the starting point of the walk. We could have got to it from the West via Sandwood Bay, but we decided it was a bit longer than we wanted to walk. The forecast was for a pretty wild end of November weekend.
So, some where closer to home, we decided on Strathchailleach bothy a bit further on from Sandwood.
The walk out to Sandwood was pleasant with only a few showers. Molly and Milly had great time running at least twice as far as we walked and rolling in everything from otter spray to dead whale.
Once on the beach we had to cross the outflow of Sandwood Loch. The river was in spate, so we had to cross as close to the sea as possible. Even then our feet got slightly soggy. As the tide was out we carried on along the beach until we could follow the Strath Chailleach up from the coast. We stuck by the river where the ground was a bit drier and meandered towards the bothy. About an hour or so later the sky darkened and the rain started pelting us, fortunately we had just spotted the bothy so made a bee line for it.
Stepping into the bothy cold and wet we were overjoyed to find peat stacked by the fire. We had carried some logs with us, but not enough to keep a fire going for the evening. Molly and Milly (after they had scoffed their dinner) took prime place in front of the fire, absorbing the majority of the heat.
The bothy has an interesting history. James McRory Smith aka Sandy decided to live in the bothy for over 30 years. He wasn’t always the most hospitable when weary walkers showed up looking for somewhere to kip for the night. Evidence of his habitation can be found in the murals he painted on the walls of the bothy.
After a chilly night (I had only just got warm in my sleeping bag when Molly and Milly decided they needed out…) we woke to a much brighter morning. First job after breakfast was to bring in some peat for the next bothy visitors.
We then tidied up, packed our bags and had a sunny walk home.