It’s looking like another good day for weather; we’ve already had a couple, and this is lining up for a Big Blue Sky.
Only five days ago I was up here waiting for the low cloud to clear, and now there isn’t a cloud in sight….. all day!
Just a short walk to my start today; I’m thinking of an identical shot to the final one of the last leg, but the sun is right behind me and my own shadow is spoiling it.
My GPS decides to play up, and tells me that my altitude is 227 metres, not 305. I know I’m in the right place! Maybe the air pressure is significantly different and I should’ve re-calibrated it on the beach earlier. Anyway, I can follow the map contour instead. It does show that electronics aren’t everything; but I have a map and compass (and know how to use them!) so it’s just inconvenient.
Down towards the road, I hear a dog bark; some excited mut taking its owners out for the day.
As soon as I leave the ridge, Spidean Coinich comes into view; it’ll be with me all day today. Also, the light on it is good right now; whereas direct sunshine on Sail Gharbh is leaving it looking a bit flat at the moment.
I’m walking through quartzite boulders and heading down towards peat bog right now; later it’s going to change totally to Torridonian Sandstone. I’m also heading towards a crossing point with my previous “Unapool Burn: Sea to Source” walk, intrigued to find the intersection.
In the middle distance, I can see a lovely loch. I can tell it’s pretty much on a level with me, so I’m looking forward to visiting it. Surely that must be really close to the stalker’s path? I’ve never realised that I’ve already been so close. And it is indeed just a couple of minutes over a brow, and it’s just great, with the peaks rising up behind it. I’ll be coming here again, for sure!
And behind me, Glas Bheinn:
Then an unexpected thing happens; my phone goes “ping”. I didn’t think there was any reception here. And it’s my friends Richard and Suse, who can apparently see me in the distance. So the excited dog earlier was Molly the labrador. I climb onto a mound to get a better view, and can’t see anyone at all. A trip to the opticians perhaps? I wave at them, as suggested on their text message.
A monochrome of Sail Gharbh:
Negotiating rough grass and boulders is hard work, and then I spot a little gem: a single rowan tree erupting from the rocks. Oh yes, this is going to make a picture. I steam across there, maybe four hundred yards, quite quickly in case the nearby patch of shade engulfs it too soon. I’m off track a bit, but I don’t mind. Checking the GPS, it says 329 metres, and I realise the altitude is oddly now correct again.
Stopping for a late lunch near to the end of Sail Gharbh, my phone starts working properly and I discover that my friends are almost directly above me on the ridge.
They report that the views are totally immense, and I get a twinge of envy. But, I’m having a great time myself, and can’t be in two places at once! They also reveal that they couldn’t actually see me at all; they knew I was nearby because of my parked van. So I’d been “had”; waving to imaginary friends, but I readily admit that I deserved it.
Closing in on the end, I cross several small burns and realise I’ve seen hardly any today.
I missed the top end of the Unapool Burn completely (Allt na Bradhan), so conclude that I must’ve coincidentally crossed it where in runs underground.
A couple of red grouse fly off into the distance.
My turning point today is the place I run out of sunshine and see the shadows coming towards me, marked by two small hinds standing staring at me.
Now I’ve got quite a long walk back to the car park. I’m not sure its wise, but I opt for the direct route. I’ve got Glas Bheinn as a beacon. Well, it was pretty dry actually, and I find several sections of exposed sandstone slabs which make it really easy. One of them even has the marks of some ancient sea bed; they are “sandstone” after all!
Nearing the end of my journey today, I again walk past the loch I mentioned earlier, and it’s even better! Almost mirror calm now, I shoot the reflections of Quinag. It is pretty amazing, but I can’t get it all in the shot with this lens, so I take a series of photos, left to right, to “stitch” together later.
Once again I resolve to return to this spot; what a way to end the day!