Our journey starts around 3 AM, way too early for a Saturday morning. But we have a long drive ahead, almost 3 hours towards Dunkirk. And then at least 11 hours from Dover to Inverness. So it will be late when we arrive in Inverness. When we arrive in Dunkirk, the ferry leaves at the correct time. So we are satisfied, last time our ferry had a delay of almost 3 hours. Everything goes smoothly this time. Before we know it, we are already in Dover. Now we want to drive for at least 6 hours before we take a lunch break. After the break, we end up in a few traffic queues around Preston. Once we have passed Preston, we can continue driving smoothly. And finally, after 12 hours driving in the UK, we arrive in Inverness at the B&B Bishop Park. Before we go to bed, we are going to eat something. It’s strange, it’s Saturday evening and there is only one restaurant open in the city… After the dinner we go to sleep, I’m tired like hell.
We have slept very comfortably and peaceful, not so strange after such a long drive. After an excellent breakfast, we drive towards Poolewe. Two hours later we arrive at the start of our trip. Later this week Charlotte her parents will pick us up somewhere in the Torridon valley.
Day 1: Poolewe – Near Lochan Feith Mhic – ‘Illean
Walking hours: 5h
Photo moments: 3h
Altitude: 850m ascent, 200m descent
Immediately we leave Poolewee behind us and we walk into the forest. Soon we approach Loch Kernsary, in the distance, we can see a small farm. We walk in the direction of the farm. Once we have reached it, we follow the path along the river Allt Na Creige into the pine forest. Before we know it we already leave the forest behind us. Now the mountain Beinn Airigh Charr is becoming closer. We take a short break to take a panorama and enjoy the view. Soon we pass the smaller lakes Loch An Doire Crionaich and Loch Nan Uamhag. The view of the dozen smaller lakes and the mountains is splendid. The lake Fionn Loch is becoming closer, compared with the other lakes this one is enormous! Once we have reached it, we make our dinner ready. It’s almost 6:30 PM, quite late for us. 🙂 An hour later we are ready to start again, first, we have to walk between the two lakes Fionn Loch and Dubh Loch, there is a concrete dam to cross them. Not much later we pass the bothy Carnmore. From now on we start with the climb towards Lochan Feith Mhic. The view of Fionn Loch and Dubh Loch and the surrounding Munros are spectacular. I take several breaks to photograph the area, therefore we arrive just on time at Lochan Feith Mhic. It’s almost completely dark when we are ready with our tent.
Day 2: Near Lochan Feith Mhic – ‘Illean – East of Gorm Loch Mor
Walking hours: 2h30
Photo moments: 2h
Altitude: 485m ascent, 275m descent
When we wake up the weather is quite good, the Munros Ruadh-Stac Mòr and A’ Mhaighdean are in the clouds. Later today, we will climb to the second Munro, so we hope that the clouds will disappear. 🙂 Charlotte prepares the breakfast when I’m gonna shoot some photos. Once we have finished our breakfast we pack our backpacks. Just when we are ready to leave, it starts to rain a little bit. But not much later it rains quite hard. We take a break under an overhanging rock near the lake Fuar Loch Mor. We wait about 20 minutes, hoping that it stops raining. But it keeps raining, so we decide to hike further towards the mountain pass between the two Munros. Once we are there we search for a place to set up our tent. We want to wait here till the weather will be better. because the view of the Munro A’ Mhaighdean should be superb. So we don’t want to miss this view due to the bad weather. Normally the weather is gonna be better in the afternoon. 🙂 After waiting a few hours it’ finally stops raining, so we can start the climb towards A’ Mhaighdean. This climb goes smoothly and not much later we are already on top of the A’ Mhaighdean. And indeed the view of the surroundings is sublime. After a short break, we start with the descent towards the valley between the Munros A’ Mhaighdean and Beinn Tarsuinn. But after a while, we find a perfect spot to set up our tent. The terrain in the valley seems to be too swampy. The only problem is that we have not enough water with us. So when Charlotte prepares our dinner, I walk towards the valley to get some water. When we are eating, we enjoy the beautiful sunset. Once the sun is gone, it’s getting cold. So we go into the tent, an hour later we go to sleep.
Day 3: East of Gorm Loch Mor – Near Lochan Fada
Walking hours: 6h
Photo moments: 3h
Altitude: 440m ascent, 890m descent
We had a terrible night, the whole night, there was an extreme wind present, with occasional enormous gusts of wind. Several times I went outside to check if all the guy lines were in place. We are happy that we got the TNF Mountain 25 with us. We take our time, to rest a few hours, take some photos. We want to climb towards the Munro Beinn Tarsuinn, but it’s still covered in clouds. Around 2:30 PM we are finally ready to start the hike towards the top. 🙂 A little bit later than expected but we have to hike about 8 kilometres today. We want to set up the tent somewhere near Lochan Fada. First, we have to descent towards the valley between the two Munros. And indeed it’s quite swampy over here, but we find a good way to cross it. Now we can start climbing towards the top, first, it’s some boggy terrain, after a while the terrain is getting steeper and rocky. Once we have reached the ridge we have to follow it for about one kilometre towards the top. Once we are on the top, we take a well-deserved break, and we take the time to photograph the surroundings. The view on the other Fisherfield Munros is superb. After about a half hour we start the descent towards Lochan Fada. While we are descending we see two other hikers in the distance, we can also see their tents in the distance. Suddenly we see three red deers, a couple and their little one. I can take a few photos before they ran away towards Lochan Fada. Not much later an RAF C-130J flies over us, right through the valley Abhainn An Fhasaigh. You can spot the plane on one of the photos below. Now we are almost at the shore of the lake. Here we want to set up our tent. I search for some big rocks to secure the guy lines. I want to prepare the tent for another rough night. But we hope there will be not so much wind tonight. 🙂 Again we get a beautiful sunset while we are eating our dinner. 🙂
Day 4: Near Lochan Fada – In the valley south of Meall A’ Chiubhais
Walking hours: 6h
Photo moments: 4h
Altitude: 725m ascent, 585m descent
We slept really good this night, there was almost no wind. And waking up with the sun shining on the tent, can it be better? 🙂 Today we want to start early so that there is an option to take a break in Kinlochwee. There is a small supermarket and a coffee bar. And we are both coffee addicts so we want to drink at least one coffee over there. 🙂 Around 9 AM we are ready to leave, we follow the lake towards the river Abhainn An Fhasaigh. We cross the river, there are stepping stones but they look slippery! So we don’t use them. Once we have crossed the river we follow the valley downwards to Loch Maree. Now we are almost in Kinlochwee, once we are there. We take a break at the supermarket to eat something. After our lunch, we go to the coffee bar. We intended to drink one coffee, but it tastes so good. And it’s so cosy inside so we drink a few coffees before we leave. Meanwhile, we check the weather forecast. The weather is changing dramatically, it’s going to rain a lot tomorrow and the following days. The wind is also getting stronger. So we decide to hike through the valley instead of hiking towards the ridge Beinn Eighe. Once we are ready to leave, we follow the Beinn Eighe visitor path for a few hundred meters. Then we turn left and start climbing towards the valley Allt Toll A’ Ghiubhais. Once we are getting closer to the river Allt Toll A’ Ghiubhais, it starts to rain, so we start searching for a good place to put on our tent. Because down in the valley it’s too swampy. It’s not so easy to find a decent place. Or it’s too swampy or it’s too steep. After a while, we find a good place. And finally, it stops raining for about a half hour. So I can take some beautiful pictures of the valley. Once it’s raining again we go to sleep.
Day 5: In the valley south of Meall A’ Chiubhais – Parking Allt A’ Choire Dhuibh Mhoir
Walking hours: 4h
Photo moments: 1h
Altitude: 310m ascent, 660m descent
We had a rough night, there was a really strong wind. And the bivouac spot was not as flat as we thought. So we woke up a dozen times. It rained the whole night and it keeps raining. Once we are ready to leave, we search for a good place to cross the river Allt Toll A’ Ghiubhais. The river has a strong current, but we manage to cross it safely. The terrain is really swampy, we try to find the best possible route through the valley. After a while, we have to cross the river Allt Coire Ruadh-Staca, the crossing is easier than the previous one. It looks like the terrain is flooding, the area is saturated with water due to the heavy rain. We checked the weather report yesterday and it will be getting worse later today. So we decide to send a message with our Delorme too Charlotte her parents. So they can pick us up at the parking lot Allt A’ Choire Dhuibh Mhoir. The terrain is too swampy to set up our tent later today. And we don’t want to damage our tent. We hike towards the river Allt Coire Mhic Fhearchair. This one has an even stronger current and is waist deep. But we can cross it safely. Now we are almost on the path towards the parking lot. The path is also flooded. After a while we have to cross the river Allt A’ Dhuibh Mhoir, normally you can cross it with big stepping stones. The water flows about 30 centimetres above the stepping stones. But there is almost no current in this river so we can cross it easily. Now it’s a decent path towards the parking lot. Once we are there we have to wait for about 15 minutes before Charlotte her parents arrive.