The Windermere Way

A spectacular walk around Windermere

© 2018 Phil Kirby Email

Knoydart Walk - Day Five

June 23rd
My original plan was to spend four days walking with a day spare, to enable me to get back to Fort William. Anyway some quick research at the hostel revealed a bus at 9:17 which would get me back to Fort Bill in plenty of time for my train the following morning. I did consider a slow mooch around Glen Sheil but the weather had bucked up it’s ideas again so cadging a lift from a fellow hosteller round to Morvich, set off for Ben Fadha.

Again a superb path leads up Gleann Choinneachain. After the waterfalls a path branches off to the right up Allt Choire an Sgairne.

Allt Choire an Sgairne

Allt Choire an Sgairne

It was whilst climbing this path I saw a large bird circling high overhead. You know what they say, ‘If you’re not sure whether it’s an Eagle or a Buzzard, then it’s a Buzzard’. Anyway I’ve seen plenty of Buzzards in my time and this looked just like one. Only it was very high up. I watched till it disappeared over the crags opposite and continued up out of the corrie and on to the summit plateau, eventually tumbling in to the shelter to escape the once more biting wind.

It didn’t seem to matter which directing the wind came from - even the south - it was still bloody freezing. Whilst sheltering in here and taking pics of the surrounding area, I saw the bird below me again cruising swiftly, very swiftly over the broad ridge and out across the corrie. There was no doubt this time, it was far too fast and probably too high and certainly too large for a Buzzard. So there it was, my first Golden Eagle. Sorry no pics, it was too far away. I waited for about twenty minutes hoping for another sighting before the cold and yet another impending shower sent me scurrying for the shelter afforded by the corrie walls.

Bheinn Fhada

Bheinn Fhada

Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan

Glen Affric

Returning to Gleann Choinneachain, it was still relatively early in the day so I continued on up to the Bealach and started up A’ Ghlas-bheinn which was surmounted with much less effort than Ben Fadha. Apart, that is, from the ridiculous number of ‘False summits’ that had to be negotiated first. That's the main difference I have noted on this trip compared to my usual jaunts around The Lakes. Not only does everything seem bigger, it's usually further away and you have to climb over innumerable other 'tops' to get where you want to go.

Loch Duich from 'A Ghlass-bheinn

Looking back to 'A Ghlass-bheinn

The descent was made to Bealach nan Stroine on the north side where I fell into conversation with another walker, returning from the falls of Glomach. We walked together back to the car park and she kindly offered me a lift back to the hostel, even stopping at the shop to let me buy my tea. Whoever you were, many thanks!

… and a few pics of Loch Duich and the Five Sisters to round off.

Knoydart Walk - Day Four

June 22nd
Well it seemed like a good idea at the time, a high level camp, that is. Anyway the morning weather appeared no better than the night before and after a poor night’s sleep I was in no rush to get going. Eventually emerging from my sleeping bag I did for one moment consider heading for the valley. But there was the Saddle, looming over me and just asking to be climbed.

I considered traversing round and climbing the Forcan Ridge but quite frankly I’d had enough of messing around with ridges in poor weather (If you’re reading this Ridge - nothing personal). Anyway from what I understand it was too good to squander on a bad day so I took the easy option which was the path straight up from the Bealach.

On top of the Saddle

Spot my tent - bottom right corner!


Moody evening light on Loch Duich

Leaving the tent and kit it took just under an hour and now suitably warmed up I returned to the tent, struck camp and took the long route down Allt a Choire Chaoil to Sheil Bridge where I made a bee line for the Youth Hostel at Ratagan.